GLENDALE, AZ–Clarifying a common misconception about "two very distinct sports," bodybuilder Glen Tuttle extensively explained the difference between bodybuilding and weight training Monday.
"It's a frequent assumption that weightlifting and bodybuilding are one and the same," Tuttle, 41, told Perry Sarkes, a sales associate at Oshman's, a sporting-goods store at Arizona Mills Mall. "But in reality, nothing could be further from the truth."
Tuttle, who was at Oshman's shopping for a back-support belt, was forced to explain the difference to Sarkes when the 20-year-old employee asked him how long he'd been a weightlifter. Tuttle replied that he's been a bodybuilder for more than six years.
"Bodybuilding emphasizes developing large, well-defined, well-proportioned muscles," Tuttle said. "In weightlifting, on the other hand, the goal is simply increasing muscular strength. Now, weight training, that's something else entirely. Weight training builds strength to improve performance in other athletic activities. You're gonna see a lot of basketball and football players doing weight training."
Though Sarkes had not asked, Tuttle went on to explain that it is an individual's goal for his or her body which determines the fitness program that particular individual should choose.
"A bodybuilder is looking to achieve a certain overall body image," said Tuttle, who works out approximately 30 hours a week and subscribes to numerous bodybuilding magazines, including Flex, Ironman, and Muscle And Fitness. "It's much more than simply upping the weight on your bar."
As Sarkes rang up the Weider pro-series belt and oversized B.U.M. Equipment tank top Tuttle had picked out, the 1998 NPC Arizona Championships semi-finalist explained that bodybuilding competitions are much more "involved" than weightlifting competitions.
"In bodybuilding, you don't just walk off with the prize because you lifted the most weight," Tuttle said. "You've got to have 100 percent control over every part of your body, including your brain. You've got to be ripped from head to toe, but you also need a certain mental attitude."
A major part of bodybuilding is what Tuttle calls "achieving the bodybuilder ideal" of perfect definition, size, and symmetry.
"I've seen a lot of guys with mind-blowing quads, but then they totally ignore their traps," Tuttle said. "To be a competition-level bodybuilder, you need the complete package. That's not so in weightlifting, where you can easily get away with favoring certain muscle groups over others."
A bodybuilder, Tuttle said, must also know how to properly apply skin-bronzing agents, oils, and depilatories to emphasize muscle definition while posing onstage.
"Bodybuilding requires finesse and style, not just brute physical strength," Tuttle said. "Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva, Frank Zane–those guys were incredibly strong, but you have to remember that they were also tremendously graceful. And when it came time for the pose-down, they really knew how to put on a show."
This is not the first time Tuttle has clarified a point regarding bodybuilding. Last Friday, on the stretching mats at Vic Tanny, the full-service health club he patronizes when Powerhouse Gym is closed, Tuttle educated club member Stacey Schuitt about the crucial role proper diet plays in bodybuilding.
"More than in any other sport, in bodybuilding, eating right is your number-one priority," said Tuttle, who lists his favorite foods as broiled salmon and baked potatoes with fat-free sour cream. "If you don't put the proper fuel in your engine, your car isn't going to go anywhere."
"I eat a high-protein meal one hour before working out and a mixed high-protein and potassium-rich carb meal one hour after the workout," Tuttle told Schuitt. "Then I take a Creatine Monohydrate supplement if it's an arm day, or a 32-ounce Twin Lab Amino Fuel shake if I'm doing legs. You probably don't have to worry about that, though, if you're just looking to lose weight. Still, a good antioxidant wouldn't hurt."
As Tuttle recently told Food Lion checkout clerk Josh Calhoun, the rewards of bodybuilding are well worth the tremendous work and dedication the sport demands.
"I'm developing every muscle in my body, from pecs to glutes to hammies," Tuttle said. "Why devote yourself to a sport that doesn't demand perfection from every inch of you? When I use my body, I want to go all-out, balls to the wall."
Bart Cordova, Tuttle's longtime friend and frequent spotter, is equally enthusiastic about bodybuilding.
"Bodybuilding is like no other sport," Cordova said. "But don't make the mistake of thinking that all bodybuilders are the same. Approaches and procedures vary widely from organization to organization. Don't assume, for example, that NABBA bodybuilding is the same as IFBB or NPC bodybuilding, because it's not. Let me explain."