The father of modern bodybuilding Joe Weider famously stated that it was making stars out of bodybuilders that made his publishing empire a success. He put big, lean musclemen on the cover of magazines, he told readers that by getting big muscles you’ll get the girls and get rid of the bullies, and in doing so, he made these athletes famous — none more than the Austrian Oak, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In 2015, thanks to the power of social media, bodybuilders are making themselves famous. Many of them have hundreds of thousands (even millions) of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers, and they are doing an incredible job of creating and sharing great content with their followers. The engagement they achieve as a result is quite astonishing.
They bring them into their world and they show them how to achieve the things that have made them popular — how to train and how to eat. And people lap it up.
Bodybuilding may well be an obscure sport for many, but many mainstream athletes can learn a lot from what many bodybuilders are doing with their social media accounts.
So many athletes are simply using social media to give fans and followers a glimpse into their world. Maybe it’s a selfie on a massage table, maybe it’s a photo of dinner, some video from the changerooms or on the team bus, shopping and at play. And this content is fine.
How many athletes are teaching and educating their fans about the very things that have made them famous however? How many athletes bring their fans into the gym or onto the training track and talk to their fans about what they’re doing to improve on the field, both from a skills perspective and a fitness perspective? How many teach their fans about how they’re eating for performance, what supplements they’re taking, or how to improve your jumpshot or drop punt?
A big lesson here is that although the athlete may feel like a celebrity, many of their fans are following them because they want to be like them one day, and play like them one day, not because they want to dress like them or buy the same set of Beats.
Show them what it’s like to be a professional athlete, inspire them to get better by teaching them how to improve. Sport offers so much, in the way of discipline, sacrifice, effort and the pursuit of greatness. Just because you may have achieved that end, and are enjoying the fruits of that effort, doesn’t mean that your fans don’t want to learn about your struggles and receive the tips that will make them better. After all, the tips that made you as an athlete better, is the reason you have the fans in the first place.