There's a new body image disorder in town and this one's for men. It's called "bigorexia," (see link below) it refers to a victim's compulsive need to bulk up, no matter how fit and muscular he is. According to an official at the Adler School of Professional Psychology, as many as 45 percent of men are dissatisfied with their body image, and a number of them may be dealing with bigorexia, also called muscle dysmorphia (the apparent male counterpart to anorexia). Overexertion at the gym, working out compulsively, habitually drinking protein drinks and abusing supplements, all of these can seriously damage the bones (leading to surgery) and intestines (in the form of liver damage). Emotional symptoms of bigorexia include irritability and angry outbursts, as well as depression and mania.
If some psychologist or other creates a new name to fit a current body craze the media will use it-it doesn't mean it's true or accurate in identifying a new breed of neurotic or that everyone attempting to improve their strength and physique is by definition as a body dysmorphic disorder. It's basically saying that every serious bodybuilder has a mental illness!
This is pure nonsense of course has there are many reasons men will want to appear overtly muscular ( I did it myself once but this was to win Bodybuilding titles in contests to build a career in the wellness industry not to impress young (easily impressed) ladies so I felt it was valid for my life. However, giving pseudo-scientific terms to a group of people who pump iron a lot is a little crass at best-quite a slur at worst. I suspect these young men the articles are focusing on are influenced very strongly by all the Superhero movies coming out these days and which are so popular.
In the final analysis people with addictive personalities get hooked on one thing or another. I still firmly believe that it's better to be a little over zealous in the exercise department than to be hooked on heroine or alcohol?!! In my prime days as a Bodybuilder with its restrictive and comparatively arduous lifestyle I had to endure many derogatory and judgmental comments from family and associates but the fact remains in my mind that what others referred to as my obsession I knew to be my dedication.
People just need to try to find a balance. This is how I addressed that balance myself; for every hour I spent in the gym I would spend twice as long reading a good self development book. Something by a good philosopher such as Ayn Rand, a famous novelist and theorist who said; "Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values"
I took that to mean if your personal passion, your magnificent obsession is what you really want to do with your life, then don't let anyone stop you, providing of course it doesn't affect others detrimentally. In any event, all of the disciplines that I used to build my life and still do to this day in business and personal matters I learnt from my career as a Bodybuilder and Strength Athlete. Patience, determination, discipline, focus, drive, the list goes on. My quest for excellence in one field changed my life for the better in so many ways but it didn't do it alone. Many Bodybuilders who spend all of their time in the gym, agonizing about how they look constantly will inevitably be perceived as narcissistic and in some cases rightfully so. If they also don't apply themselves to other pursuits more cerebral that are just as important or possibly more so then inevitably they may well end up having big muscles and be bereft of all the other qualities they need to be happy and live a balanced life. Without learning to be considerate of others for example can make them become be terrible at handling personal relationships of any kind because of the selfish nature of Bodybuilding-I've seen this first hand many times. They will also risk becoming anxiety ridden to the point where they feel unable to contribute to an intellectual conversation on perhaps, current affairs or politics or whatever and as a result they will only really feel comfortable when they are in the gym. The gym, as we know, really doesn't require a lot intellectually, consequently, a certain type of personality will gravitate to such an environment in order to feel empowered-I guess that's where the idea that all 'Muscle men' are quite dim comes from! This is not completely true of course but there is some truth in it. However, the biggest threat to the Nation's health and the health of the entire developed world is down to obesity and poor lifestyle-not excessive exercise and muscular preening. We shouldn't forget that.