The group at BarBend produces lots of content material. Our information and editorial employees work tirelessly, week after week, to convey you the newest developments and most fascinating tales within the worlds of power and health. Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply we don’t play favorites, too.
From rigorous, months-in-the-making, long-form human curiosity tales to breaking information and a few really thought-provoking items from our great contributing writers, it’s laborious to choose only one favourite story of the yr. So we picked a handful.
Listed here are — in our very humble opinion — a number of of the perfect works BarBend revealed in 2023. We hope you take pleasure in studying them as a lot as we loved bringing them to life.
1. Showmanship on the Sand: The Rise and Fall of the Authentic Muscle Seashore
As an editor, I like bringing obscure historic anecdotes into the highlight. Author (and BarBend editor) Alex Polish nailed it with their retrospective on Muscle Seashore.
No, we’re not speaking concerning the Muscle Seashore in Venice, California, that the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane made well-known within the ‘70s. We’re speaking concerning the unique incarnation in close by Santa Monica.
Alex recounts the fascinating — and unlucky — historical past of this iconic locale in riveting vogue with a function that spans many years and touches upon the naive glamor of the nascent health business. It additionally exposes the deep-seated prejudice that helped convey an early finish to the unique Muscle Seashore and the conflicted legacy it left behind in its wake.
— Jason Serafino, Senior Editor
2. The Story Behind the Chaotic Drug-Examined 1990 Mr. Olympia
Since its debut in 1965, the well-known Mr. Olympia competitors has been no stranger to battle and controversy. The 1990 installment arguably trumps all of them.
1990 was the yr the IFBB tried their darndest to rid the game of steroid use via strict drug-testing protocols. The outcomes had been disastrous for followers and rivals. For us at BarBend, although, it proved fertile floor for considered one of our greatest options of the yr.
Written (and painstakingly researched) by health historian Dr. Conor Heffernan, this curler coaster of a function examines the general public and political outcry about steroids from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and its influence on the most important bodybuilding present of the yr. The result’s an entertaining slice of sports activities historical past that basks within the behind-the-scenes drama that made the 1990 Olympia stand out for all of the mistaken causes.
3. How Robust Is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson?
I’m not saying I can determine The Rock by his forearms alone, however…properly, I strive to not inform lies. Whether or not him greatest from his professional wrestling days or from his newer iterations as a healthful however badass girl-dad motion hero, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has held sway over multiple technology of power athletes.
There was no higher author than BarBend contributor Ian Douglass to interrupt down the muscle tissues behind the parable. Can “The Rock” actually bench press you and your children on the similar time? How sturdy, actually, is the unit that may convey down helicopters with sheer grit on the massive display? Douglass sifts via years of verifiable Rock analysis to tell us precisely how sturdy the legend actually is. Spoiler alert: fairly freaking sturdy.
— Alex Polish, Editor
4. Can Your Intestine Well being Influence Weight Loss?
Everybody out of your private coach to your mother has been into probiotics currently. “It’ll make it easier to drop some pounds,” they are saying. “Your intestine well being is simply as essential as these muscle tissues you’re constructing within the fitness center,” they holler. No time to go learn all of the analysis your self? All good. Considered one of BarBend‘s professional writers has received your again.
Licensed Well being Coach Gabrielle Fundaro, Ph.D., lays all of it out for you. She explains what the heck all the excitement is about your intestine in a means that helps you are feeling like a scientist your self. You’ll perceive greater than you ever thought you’ll concerning the micro organism dwelling inside you as a result of she breaks the analysis down into (dare I say?) bite-sized, digestible items.
And as for the massive query — can probiotics and enhancing your intestine well being gas weight reduction? — Fundaro busts myths and offers actionable ideas left and proper. You’ll depart this learn with a mind full of information and a intestine able to maintain your weight reduction objectives on monitor.
5. The Dangers and Rewards of Excessive Leanness on the Street to the Bikini Olympia
We all know we all know: abs are made within the kitchen. Nevertheless, when chasing a physique ultimate that depends on deprivation (much less physique fats, fewer energy, taking on much less house), you may not be serving your self sufficient on the dinner desk. Concurrently, you can be getting after it an excessive amount of within the fitness center.
In his delicate, considerate exploration of 2023 Bikini Olympia champion Jennifer Dorie’s journey to competition-ready leanness, BarBend contributing author Christian “XN” Matyi embodies nuance. Whereas Matyi may have merely reported on the stats of Dorie’s pre-Olympia prep, he as a substitute makes use of her insightful video to assist readers dispel fable after fable about what constitutes “wholesome” physique fats ranges.
Drawing on peer-reviewed analysis and his personal deep information of bodybuilding lore, Matyi explores the ways in which you would possibly be capable of get lean sufficient for competitors, however at nice potential price to your physique and your psyche.
6. How an Sudden Telephone Name Might Get 36-Yr-Outdated Weightlifter Caine Wilkes Again to the Olympics
Full Disclosure: Workforce USA weightlifter Caine Wilkes is a employees author for Storage Health club Opinions, which, together with BarBend, is owned by Pillar4 Media. This weightlifter-turned-writer discovered himself within the highlight, detailing his unbelievable journey from the 2023 Pan American Video games to the Worldwide Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) World Championships, the place he’s now positioned to probably attend a second Olympic Video games (in 2024).
BarBend Senior Author Jake Dickson penned an enthralling and electrical learn that’s as a lot an ode to underdogs all over the place as a celebration of Wilkes’ perseverance and fervour. Over his 20-year profession, Wilkes has accrued over 20 worldwide weightlifting medals, eight IWF Worlds appearances, and the respect of all of his Workforce USAW friends. He may proudly cling up his lifting belt with few regrets, however Wilkes’ pursuit is considered one of pure ardour.
— Andrew Gutman, Head of Content material
7. How A lot Does It Price to Compete on the Mr. Olympia?
Most nice tales start with a query. Because the 2023 Mr. Olympia — a tentpole occasion for the BarBend information group — approached, the query on one staffer’s thoughts was, how a lot does it truly price to compete in bodybuilding’s Tremendous Bowl?
Author Ian Douglass dug deep, talking to 2 of the game’s prime contenders, to provide an in depth learn outlining each issue that goes into being a champion bodybuilder. The seed of 1 curious thoughts sprouted into an informative, enjoyable, and academic learn for bodybuilding followers and informal readers alike.
8. What’s the Deal With the Thoughts-Muscle Connection?
BarBend is a website by lifters for lifters. So on the subject of writing an article on an ambiguous however widespread search time period like “mind-muscle connection,” our group takes additional care to offer a totally researched and actionable article that gives a real profit to the reader.
Editor Alex Polish left no stone unturned of their deep dive into the idea of the mind-muscle connection. It’s a kind of reads a beginner might hit upon after listening to a coaching associate or fellow gym-goer point out the time period. And, for us, that’s what it’s all about — breaking down the boundaries of discomfort somebody might come throughout throughout their fitness center journey, one article at a time.
9. Bodybuilding Is an Artwork, Which Makes It Exhausting to Deal with Like a Sport
There are some debates, each inside and outdoors the health business, that appear to proceed in perpetuity: Are egg yolks dangerous for you or not? Does meal timing matter? Barbell or dumbbell? Rabbit season, duck season. Is bodybuilding a “actual” sport, or is all of it simply pageantry?
Contributing author Christian “XN” Matyi peeled the onion on this query and received to the guts of the matter. There’s artistry current in most sports activities, and you’ll be damned certain that the aggressive local weather of bodybuilding actually heats up as soon as the Olympia rolls round.
However Mr. Matyi’s thesis is undeniably compelling: The statuesque physiques that bodybuilders convey to the stage are for admiration and evocation. The emotional response is the purpose, not the factors racked up on the scorecards.
— Jake Dickson, Senior Author
10. The Actual Story of the 1975 Mr. Olympia Is Far Extra Fascinating Than Pumping Iron Ever Portrayed
Bodybuilding lore runs deep. Like, deep. And in some ways, the goings-on behind the curtains at reveals just like the Mr. Olympia competitors — the submerged a part of the iceberg — are extra fascinating than first or second callouts.
Bodybuilding historian and BarBend professional Dr. Conor Heffernan penned an enthralling story of one of the crucial controversial and action-packed Mr. “O”s in historical past. The competitors was the first focus of 1977’s seminal documentary Pumping Iron, however what the digicam caught was hardly probably the most fascinating. Heffernan deftly unravels the plot threads behind one of the crucial influential occasions in physique sports activities historical past.
11. Aesthetics vs. Appearances: What Makes a Bodybuilder?
Within the bodybuilding world, what are followers and judges truly with such reverence? Dimension, symmetry, conditioning, circulation, one thing else? Every thing contributes to an athlete’s aesthetics, which is the opinion of an look that alters relying on the way it’s introduced.
Mr. Matyi breaks down what we truly have a look at when admiring the statuesque physiques of elite bodybuilders and learn how to perceive it extra acutely.
— Phil Blechman, Senior Editor
Extra in ’24
The yr 2023 has confirmed to be equal components difficult and rewarding for the BarBend group. Nonetheless, we’re already planning to one-up ourselves subsequent yr, particularly with occasions just like the World’s Strongest Man, Olympia, CrossFit Video games, and the Olympics in Paris on the docket. You may wager your bottom that the BarBend group will convey you rather more from the world of power in 2024 and past.
Featured Picture: @dereklunsford_, Instagram / Wikimedia (Abbye Stockton) / @TheRock, Instagram / Wikimedia (Arnold Schwarzenegger)