If you have ever had a drink with your friends at the local and they ask you why you pump iron. Or they start talking about all the muscle that you carry and that having so much muscle on your body is a waste because you will never be asked to use that strength.

What do you say? Do you tell them that the grinding blood sweat and tears that you put into your intestinal workouts is all because you want to put them on the truth?

The cosmetic reason to pump iron on a regular basis will not last year after year. Many bodybuilders feel that the benefit of gaining muscle is just a side effect from getting stronger. There is a certain self-respect any person will feel when they lift a heavier weight than they did yesterday.

Strength can not be increased by eating junk food and training once a week. Strength is achieved with lifestyle and adapting to the demands that your body puts on you trying to repair the muscle damage that you did at the gym. The principle on which bodybuilding is founded is progressive resistance.

Strength comes from the consistency of progressively resisting, pushing your muscles to the point of failure. Strength is borne out of intensity, it comes from reaching just a little bit farther, pushing the envelope. If you can lift a heavier weight in the same movement that you did last week or last month then you are gaining muscle.

Any bodybuilder that trains consistency for more than a year knows the advantages it can add to how he / she feels about themselves. Just because a man with muscle can break a door down with one hand does not mean that is what he will do.

The essence of strength is the journey it takes to achieve that strength. Just like fitness it only lasts as long as the extremes are tested. If a world class marathon runner did not train for two months he / she would lose half their fitness and would not be able to compete at the same level without training again.

Strength is muscle, the stronger you are the more muscle you will have. Genetically we all seem to be attracted to muscle because it is an indication of the ability to live a controlled and disciplined life. It was this attraction that originally started the sport of bodybuilding but the rules changed.

John Sandow who is considered the father of bodybuilding that put together the first bodybuilding competition at the turn of the century did so because of natural genetically appealing muscle. To win a bodybuilding competition you need symmetry, muscle density, balance and proportion.

During the early 1980's when the fitness boom was just getting started there was a competition at the Mr. Olympia event where big Lee Haney competed for first place with the perfectly balanced aesthetic proportioned Bob Paris. It was an IFBB decision made by Ben and Joe Weider that extremely determined the direction bodybuilding would go.

The attempt at achieving both aesthetics and size at the same time is the reason we see the current. Olympia looking the way that he does. Compared to the aesthetically pleasing bodies of Steve Reeves or Frank Zane the Mr. Olympias we see on stage these days have taken aesthetics a step too far.

The natural genetic appeal to the essence of strength that women have for men should not be the motivation to train. Although it usually is the only reason why someone may start training with weights on a regular basis it certainly is not sustainable on a long term basis.

Bodybuilding competitions are not attended by thousands of admiring girls because that is not the objective. As mentioned above the essence of strength is about the journey in gaining muscle and not the end game like winning a bodybuilding competition.

Bodybuilders who stand up on stage have put an all-out effort to present the audience with the body they see onstage. Months and years of preparation resulting in this muscle gain come as a result of increasing strength and this is not appreciated by most people.