Vulnerable discipline: Experiences of male competitive bodybuilders

Abstract

The aim was to understand experiences of male competitive bodybuilders from a non-pathologizing perspective. Six male Norwegian
competitive bodybuilders were interviewed. The interviews were analysed using a meaning condensation procedure resulting in
five themes: being proud of capacity for discipline, seeing a perfectionist attitude as a necessary evil, experiencing recognition
within the bodybuilding community, being stigmatized outside the bodybuilding community and going on stage to display a capacity
for willpower and discipline. We suggest that bodybuilders may be stigmatized for breaking social norms: by their distinctive
appearance, by the way they handle suspected drug use and by challenging gender norms.

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