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It can't be denied that bodybuilding is a spectator sport (and a competitive one at that) because we love aesthetics. Watching the competitors on stage as they flex and strut around in their chiselled, muscular physiques perhaps also offers a glimpse into the days of yore when gladiators and mythical Roman gods roamed the Earth. Whatever the reasons are for its appeal - bodybuilding is serious business.
Bodybuilding is, however, not just a sport. If you lift weights to improve your physique, you are a bodybuilder. You lift weights to help you shed extra kilos, to sculpt your physique, ensuring symmetry and proportion, all of which for the goal of building a better-looking, functioning body.
Aesthetic bodybuilding and normal bodybuilding
As the name implies, aesthetic bodybuilding concerns, without being too philosophical, the appreciation of beauty and the creation of that beauty. An acquired taste for some and a source of inspirational musings for others.
Bodybuilding, as a gym activity, involves resistance exercises done progressively and meticulously even. This is to ensure that every part of the body is involved in achieving a balanced appearance. Hence, this is why detailed attention is given to the exercises where every rep and set is at times calculated to avoid under and over straining the targeted body parts. It is also interesting to note that two people can look different despite having the same level of muscularity.
So what makes a physique aesthetic?
Unless we are discerning connoisseurs of the sport of bodybuilding, we will tend to include facial attractiveness in our assessment of what makes a physique aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Also, the use and abuse of anabolic steroids - in particular growth hormones (GH), can result in abnormalities that may be acceptable to one but not the other critical eye.
When it comes to building the body, one must understand what it takes to create the desired results, but at the same time, one should also consider the possibility that (personal) preference may change over time.
Our genes influence our anatomy
Suffice to say that there are many factors that influence how we look - literally. These include genetics and habits (food and lifestyle). The different body parts also have their idiosyncrasies.
The biceps, by its name, contain two heads, but it has been reported that they can vary up to seven! It is one of the muscles with the highest variability in shape. The abdominals are another body part that varies in shape. Not everyone has perfectly symmetrical abs, which is why some can achieve the sought after 8-pack appearance, and others fall a little short. Unfortunately, despite many advertisement claims, you cannot change the shape of your abs.
From size, let's move on to length. Short tendons and long muscles lead to a fuller appearance because the physique is curved. This creates the illusion that it is larger than what it actually is. It is the opposite, where the muscles are shorter, and tendons are longer.
The chest varies less than the biceps in shape but is an area where a lot of attention is given and of more concern for many. This is because small differences in that area can have a big impact on the overall appearance of a physique.
Gynecomastia in body builders
Some men experience swollen mammary glands, and those enlarged male breasts is a medical condition known as "gynecomastia". Among others, it could be caused due to the use of anabolic steroids. This condition, which can be painful for the afflicted person, can be treated with gynecomastia surgery. Gynecomastia amongst bodybuilders is actually very common.
Steroid abuse is, unfortunately, as documented, rampant in bodybuilding. Constant abuse leads to the dreaded gynecomastia. Addressing gynecomastia issues in bodybuilders requires a different approach as they typically have minimal fat tissues, most carrying a fat percentage of less than 10 percent.
Dr Ivan Puah's Unique 360 degrees Glandular Tissue Dissection Technique for gynecomastia treatments in bodybuilders
Dr. Ivan Puah, an MOH-accredited and experienced gynecomastia doctor in Singapore, has tended to bodybuilders who come in for gynecomastia surgery to reduce the mammary glands and sculpt the chest before they start training for events and competitions. This enables them to heal properly before embarking on their training regimes.
"I see a lot of young males with less than 10% body fat, who are into bodybuilding. The primary cause of enlargement for this group of patients is due to the development of enlarged glands for which they will only require glandular excision and these cases are what we term as True Gynecomastia," explains Dr. Ivan Puah.
He further shares, "Special attention is needed to prevent bleeding and scarring when it comes to treating bodybuilders with gynecomastia issues. Hypertrophied chest muscles present with a higher risk of bleeding due to the increased blood flow within the tissues. Additionally, the use of anabolic steroids and certain unregulated supplements may also increase the chance of excessive bleeding. Besides removing the enlarged breast tissues, special attention is required to sculpt and shape their chest to bring out or enhance their musculature, allowing them to achieve the physique that they hope but have been unable to achieve from training and diet management."
The 360 degrees Glandular Tissue Dissection (360 degrees GTD®) technique developed by Dr. Ivan Puah is able to specifically address this issue. An endoscopic-line incision, no bigger than 4mm, is first created to allow infiltration of anesthetic fluid on the area to be treated. Through this incision, a 360 degrees GTD® is then performed carefully following the physiological disposition of the glandular tissues. This surgical technique effectively reduces the invasive factor of the procedure, allowing a more desired cosmetic outcome.
"The use of anabolic steroids is not an uncommon practice among professional and amateur bodybuilders. This may, unfortunately, expose them to increased risks of adverse effects with gynecomastia amongst one of the most common complications. Many affected athletes often do not know how or where to seek help when it affects them. With the introduction of our 360 degrees Glandular Tissue Dissection, we can help these affected athletes," Dr. Ivan Puah explained.