Usually a high protein diet is followed although there have been and still are some vegetarian body builders, the most famous arguably being Bill Pearl who competed during the 50’s and 60’s.
Although the modern version of the sport did not really exist until the late 19th century, it was around from as early as the late 18th century when most famously Eugen Sandow would wow audiences on stage with his muscular stature.
Eugen Sandow is normally referred to as ‘the father of modern bodybuilding and at the Mr Olympia contest held each year (the most prestigious competition) the winning contest is presented with the Sandow trophy which is a replica of Eugen Sandow himself.
But it wasn’t until the 1970’s when low budget documentary starring the then unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger called ‘Pumping Iron’ came out and the health revolution began.
The film made stars of Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk) and Arnold most notably and brought BodyBuilding to the masses.
The two most successful body builders of all time are Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman who hold 8 olympia titles each. Arnold Schwarzenegger comes in second with 7 olympia titles. Dorian Yates is the most successful British competitor with 7 titles.
Most purists would argue that Arnold was the greatest ever having retired never losing an Olympia that he had entered.
The competitors at the top have changed a lot over the years most notably since the the 70’s when Anabolic steroids came into use and more recently with the use of Growth hormone.
There is a a natural BodyBuilding competition but it doesn’t have the prestige or the prize money of the Olympia competition. Natural competitors are tested for the use of drugs, the Olympia competitors are not.
There is female BodyBuilding which is much the same as the men’s just without the prize money or the same level of fame.
Body Builders work out up to 6 times a week 4 hours a day. It is an incredibly hard sport that takes a lot of dedication and discipline.