Bodybuilding vs. athletic workouts

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If you’re a fitness freak, you will be well aware that bodybuilders are some of the leanest people on the planet.

With most of the top fitness magazines promoting nothing but bodybuilders, and the majority of leading fitness authors and trainers all hailing from bodybuilding backgrounds, there’s no dispute that bodybuilding methods are clearly effective.

Bodybuilding vs. athletic workouts
The benefits of both a bodybuilding workout and an athletic workout.

However, let’s consider the physique of an athlete. Lean, muscular and well-proportioned, athletic training is also an extremely effective way in which to develop an awesome body.

While bodybuilders and athletes train in completely different ways, we ask, which type of training is better for physical transformation?

Below, we put the two methods side-by-side to see the benefits of each.


Bodybuilder - Bodybuilders tend to go for short, low-to-moderate intensity cardio workouts from anywhere between three to six times per week. Whether using the treadmill, bikes or other machines, the cardio workout of a bodybuilder rarely lasts for more than 45 minutes a time.

Athlete - Athletes are known for their cardiovascular strength, so it’s no surprise to learn that athletes opt for high intensity cardio workouts. Depending on their sport of choice, athletes perform either short, high intensity exercises such as sprinting or long cross country jogs to improve stamina and range.

Both of these methods burn calories, which helps reduce body fat. The bodybuilding method of lower intensity, machine-based cardio is best for those who have a lot of injuries, are very overweight or are generally uncoordinated.

Exercise Selection

Bodybuilder- As bodybuilders are more concerned with generating muscle mass; they tend to opt for isolation exercises such as chest flyes, concentration curls and leg extensions. While these exercises may be great for building muscle, they do little to stimulate your metabolism. Additionally, since these isolation exercises work only one small area at a time, you must do many different exercises to get a full workout, which again leads to a greater time commitment.

Athletes- Athletes, on the other hand, are more concerned with function. And since the body was not designed to have each muscle and/or movement pattern isolated, they rarely perform isolation exercises like bodybuilders do.

Instead, they focus on movements that engage the entire body just like what would naturally happen during a sporting event. These exercises have a huge metabolic cost and rev up your metabolism much more that a chest fly could even dream of doing. Also, because they work so many muscle groups simultaneously, they are very time efficient.

While an athletic training regime would be the best option to improve overall fitness, bodybuilding exercises can also be added to supplement the use of the more result-producing exercise.

Rep Speed

Bodybuilder- Bodybuilders tend to use a slower rep speed in an attempt to “feel the muscle”. It is not uncommon for a bodybuilder’s full repetition to take 5 or more seconds to complete. Multiply that by 12 reps in a set, and you find that a given set can last up to one full minute.

Obviously, slower rep speeds increase how long a muscle is under tension, which many experts claim to be a key factor in producing positive training results.

Athletes- On the other hand, athletes focus on explosively accelerating through the resistance. An athlete’s rep will typically last one to two seconds. Although athletes will control the weight eccentrically to increase safety, they will always accelerate the concentric portion of the rep.

While slow, controlled reps help to build mass, the quicker, more explosive movements are great for building strength.


By now, we are all well aware of how protein helps in the quest to building muscle and improving fitness. Organic whey protein powder, such as our grass-fed whey, helps your muscles to recover and adapt after a strenuous workout.

Why does this matter? Well the quicker you recover, the quicker you can work out again.

As an added bonus, organic whey protein powder, such as our grass-fed whey, has also been proven to aid weight loss.

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