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The Difference between Body Building and Strength Training

The difference between body building and strength training is somewhat controversial, and definitely subjective. This hotly debated topic can be explained through concrete definitions, as well as simple observation.

By Definition

  • 1. Body Building: the developing of the body through exercise and diet, specifically for competitive physique exhibition. The second part of this statements is key, as it qualifies the purpose of monitoring one's diet and exercising for figure competition.
  • 2. Strength Training: the use of weight resistance to tear, repair, and build muscles over time.

This definition states that the purpose of exercise in strength training is for improving overall health, and not for physique or any other type of competition.

Body Building

Body building incorporates strength training for the purpose of building muscle for show. This means creating and following a diet that contributes chiefly to muscle growth. Body builders focus on consuming the ideal ratios of the different macronutrients (particularly protein for muscle growth and recovery) in order to best accomplish their goals.

These fitness enthusiasts strive to achieve a body with little body fat and large, defined muscles to show at competitions. There is generally a somewhat concrete goal body builders strive for in terms of appearance.

Usually, heavy weight and lower repetitions are utilized in weight lifting for body building. This type of lifting yields the desired results more quickly than lower weight and higher repetitions, though this statement is widely debated.

Strength Training

Strength training is for those individuals who wish to improve their overall health and fitness levels. Strength training is proven to improve bone density, raise metabolism, contribute to heart health and fight obesity.

Those who strength train also strive to reduce body fat, but this is mainly to achieve optimum health. While many of these individuals also strength train for muscle tone and general improvement in physical appearance, it is different from body building because it is not for competition or show.

The exercise programs of people who strength train can vary widely. Some favor a similar approach to weight lifting as body builders, using heavy weights and lower repetitions. Others may stick to lower weights and higher reps. Variations in types of strength training (like circuit training) are also options.

In Conclusion

Both body building and strength training can vary in the approach to weight lifting. Either can utilize any form of strength training, like circuit training, supersets, plyometrics and many others. The only factor separating strength training from body building is the purpose of each.

As a general rule, body builders tend to more carefully monitor their diet to achieve optimum physical results. Those who strength train are not required to look a certain way for competition, so they may not watch what they eat as much. However, this is most definitely not always true. Many fitness enthusiasts who are not body builders are aware of the importance of both diet and exercise for overall health.

Whether you're a body builder or an individual who cares for their overall health, it is important to track and monitor your workouts to guarantee the best results. Use Fitday to track your workouts, as it is a fantastic comprehensive (and free!) tool.


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