The first time I told someone I wanted to start lifting weights, they said:
“Bodybuilders are stupid! You don’t want to end up like Arnold Schwarzenegger, do you? He sounds like a dumb robot!
And Sylvester Stallone? I can’t even understand what that muscle-head is saying!”
Thankfully, I didn’t listen.
Bodybuilders have long been labelled with this unfair “dumb muscle-head” tag, and something tells me it’s not going to change anytime soon.
If someone is in shape, it seems like it’s OK to brand them dumb.
I don’t understand this.
It’s hard f**king work learning how to keep yourself in top shape all year round, and the individuals making the accusations are usually jealous/bitter.
So today I’m going to show you why this stereotype is utter nonsense.
First off, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that students who lift weights on a regular basis achieved a significantly higher grade point average than those who didn’t. (1)
This has since been followed up with research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
With over 135 million people expected to suffer with dementia by 2050, this study set out to test the cognitive improvements of resistance training in those over the age of 55. The trial found that participating in regular resistance training improved function in the brain.
Head researcher Dr. Yogi Mavros states:
“What we found in this study is that the improvements in cognitive function were related to the gains in muscle strength. The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.”
That’s the science out of the way, now let’s point out the lack of common sense of labelling all bodybuilders “dumb”, by simply pointing out the achievements of the names of the most mocked…
“Arnold Schwarzenegger? He sounds like a dumb robot!”
A dumb robot who not only built the greatest bodybuilding physique of all time, but also became a self-made millionaire in real estate before he was 30 and has since gone on to establish worldwide success via his acting career.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has also done far more charity work than he’s given credit for.
But yeah, big dumb robot voice.
“The Rock” Dwayne Johnson
“Just a pretty meat head!”
He’s a good looking guy, no doubt, but Dwayne Johnson is unfairly dismissed as a wrestler who was in the right place at the right time.
After a failed NFL career, he hit his stride in WWE with the creation of one of their greatest ever gimmicks, before making a string of smart career moves to transition into one of Hollywood’s leading actors – a move which isn’t exactly easy to make (* cough * Hulk Hogan).
The Rock is also possibly the world’s best social media marketer, using it to turn himself into a full-blown brand and drawing massive publicity for any movie director who casts him in a role.
It’s easy for someone to sit there and claim, “Oh, but he probably has a whole team for that!”, until you realize that he does it himself and now charges studios £1,000,000 to post about his own movies.
In 2016 he signed a long-term partnership with Under Armour. He’s worn this brand since his early wrestling days, but making the partnership official allowed him to develop his own clothing line, and has already proved a savvy business move as it quickly became Under Armour’s best-selling range of all time.
“Yo, Adrian! That dumb muscle-head can’t even talk properly!”
When it comes to making fun of dumb bodybuilders, Sylvester Stallone is the easy choice.
Interestingly, Sly has an IQ of 160!
(The same as Albert Einstein!)
This is rarely mentioned in the media, where he’s often mocked for his speech impediment which was actually caused by an accident at birth, and not because he lifts weights.
But the real success of Sylvester Stallone lies in his backstory. If you haven’t heard the tale of how the first Rocky movie was made, set aside 10 minutes and watch it.
The grit and desire we see on screen is replicated by what he actually went through in his quest to get his movie made in his own way, turning down multiple lucrative offers (at a time when he was broke) in order to hold out for the deal he wanted.
He’s also been very smart with his training over the years, making changes to allow his body to adapt as he grew older without losing his results.
“That muscle-bound jerk can’t string two sentences together!”
Another famous physique often mocked for his monotone voice in movie roles, Dolph Lundgren is the perfect example of a bodybuilder unfairly tagged as “dumb”.
When he’s not playing an unstoppable Russian killing machine, Dolph holds master’s degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering. He was all set to enroll in the University of Massachusetts after being awarded a full scholarship before his acting career kicked off.
Bodybuilders Aren’t Stupid
This is a weird stereotype that society just seems to accept.
Just because someone lifts weights, doesn’t automatically make them a big, hulking bag of muscles with no brain cells.
The science says weight training is actually good for your brain and, as you can see in the examples above, there’s no need to judge a book by it’s (albeit massive) cover.
Because stupid is everywhere.
I once watched a guy walk into a glass window three times because he thought it was an automatic door.
He didn’t lift.
Although, if he had, maybe the window wouldn’t have went 3 and 0.
If you’ve got any friends who unfairly label you as a dumb muscle head just because you hit the gym like a freight train, share this article.
- Keating, X. D., et al. Association Of Weekly Strength Exercise Frequency And Academic Performance Among Students At A Large University In The United States. J Strength Cond Res. (2013).
- Mavros, Y., et al. Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training. J Am Geriatrics Soc. (2016).