Why Do Bodybuilders Use Spray Tan? Why Is It Important in Competitive Bodybuilding?

Published 12/20/2023, 12:29 PM EST

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Bodybuilding is a sport that needs a lot of mental determination and perseverance from the athletes to create the most chiselled-looking muscles and a flawless physique. There is something unique in bodybuilding competitions where the athletes not only show off their muscles on stage, but every bodybuilder looks like a bronze statue, just like the Sandow trophy.

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They all looked brunched, and that is because a certain type of bronzer is used to enhance the muscles. Why is tanning and bronzing one’s body so important in bodybuilding? Let us delve into the details. 

What is a spray tan?

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Long before the muscleheads of Jersey Shore had popularised the lifestyle of gym, tan, and laundry, bodybuilders were already applying self-tanning sprays and bronzer on their bodies in the weeks and days that were leading up to important competitions. This practice might be a confusing aspect for outsiders, but physique athletes tanning themselves is an extremely important aspect of bodybuilding.

This has a history that stretches more than most people imagine. The tan done by bodybuilding champions is slightly different from a normal suntan. Regardless of their natural skin complexion, bodybuilders go to extensive lengths to dramatically darken their skin tone temporarily and add sheens of glitter or shine before they reveal their amazing physique on stage.

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More often, the tan is achieved through the combination of an organic base tan, which is also augmented with synthetic tanning sprays and oils. This is primarily done to enhance every muscle striation of the body and make the physique look aesthetic on stage, especially with the lighting that is available on stage. But how does this tan help one on the stage?

Tanning improves muscle definition

If you spent years and months shredding your muscles and making an amazing physique by exercising and dieting to participate in a bodybuilding competition, you will want your body to look as perfect as a sculpture.

Fortunately, the people who have darker complexions have a better possibility of holding up well under the excessively bright lighting of the stage, but even they prefer to tan themselves with false tanners. The contrast between the sharp stage lighting, and darker skin helps to define the muscular cut and striations, and that gives the bodybuilder a harder and more chiseled look.

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger structured his day according to gym, tan‎, and laundry, a technique known as GTL. The Terminator icon followed his goal every day. The seven-time Mr Olympia winner had once recounted his experiences, trying to get the perfect tan.

‎Arnold Schwarzenegger discovered a new way to tan

The most accepted practice to achieve a good tan is obviously lying on the beach and tanning oneself naturally with the sun’s UV rays. However, the existing practices did not lie well with Arnold Schwarzenegger as according to him there were the practical difficulties of getting a complete tan while employing the beach tanning technique. Further, he described how exercising in an outdoor gym was a better option for getting a completely equal tan, if one was hell-bent on choosing the natural option.

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On the other hand, fake spray tans have been around for a long time, and in the modern era, many prefer darker shades to appear more toned and defined.

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Not only does the tan make make the muscles looks enhanced, but it also covers up any blemishes as well as tattoos that can hinder the bodybuilder’s look from being prominent on stage. A proper tan may be the decider to whether a bodybuilder wins or loses a competition.

 

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Written by:

Tanushree Bhowmick

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I am Tanushree Bhowmick. I have always loved running and sprinting since I was a child and I often took pride in being unbeaten at sporting events in school. The love I had for sport continued to follow me into adulthood.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Manikandan

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