There are two types of people in the gym with high levels of physical fitness: bodybuilders and athletes. Although sports training and bodybuilding will both increase your fitness level, there is actually quite a bit of difference between the way each one is done. Here are some things you should know about how sports training compares to bodybuilding.
The biggest difference between bodybuilding and sports training involves goals. The primary goal of bodybuilders is to become bulkier, but athletes are usually more concerned with developing speed or improving agility. Athletes might also want to increase mass, but this is usually to become stronger or to better support certain muscles and reduce their risk of injury.
Fitness professional John Alvino recommends bodybuilders perform moderate intensity/longer duration cardio workouts, and that those primarily interested in sports training do high intensity/shorter duration workouts. Bodybuilders should perform between 30 and 45 minutes of bicycling, walking, or stair climbing at least three times each week. Athletes on the other hand should opt for sprinting, sparring, or jumping rope three to four times every week.
Alvino also claims that bodybuilders tend to use a slower speed when performing repetitions, because they are trying to feel the muscle working. There is also some evidence that suggests increasing the amount of time a muscle is under tension actually produces greater results, and many bodybuilders subscribe to that philosophy. Sports training focuses on controlling the weight and accelerating through the resistance. As such, bodybuilders may take as long as five seconds per rep, but an athlete will require only two to three seconds.
Bodybuilding and sports training programs alike often include isolation exercises such as biceps curls, triceps extensions or leg extensions; however, the reasons for using them varies. The primary reason bodybuilders perform isolation exercises is to build muscle mass. Athletes are not as concerned with bulking up as they are developing the muscles that are most often used in their sport. They may also use them to maintain some of their strength during their off season.
A person’s diet and nutritional needs will also change based upon whether he or she is performing bodybuilding or sports training. Endurance athletes can consume as much as 20 calories per day per pound, while bodybuilders may only need to take in around 12 calories per pound. Bodybuilders should consume more protein than athletes-approximately 1.5 grams per pound is recommended for bodybuilders, but only .9 to 1.2 grams per pound is typically sufficient for athletes. Endurance athletes will need more carbohydrates in their diet than bodybuilders or even regular athletes will.
As you can see, bodybuilding and sports training are approached differently in a number of ways. That doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from incorporating some elements of both into your routine. Think about your goals, fitness level, and lifestyle in order to choose the one that is just right for you.