Traditional and Contemporary Religions:
Religious Features of Weightlifting
Religion has evolved from a belief of a spiritual being. Many aspects of life and activities can be considered a religion depending on the context. Several sports, such as baseball and football, have been analyzed and identified as a religion. However, no research has yet to determine whether weightlifting can correspond as a religion. Through peer reviewed sources, fitness articles, a self case study and qualitative research, it is possible to identify the religiousness of weightlifting.
Key Definitions of Religion
Gautheir (2004) examined the factors that ...view middle of the document...
Similarly, Woodhead's (2011) definition of religion as an identity—community creating and boundary forming— allows individuals to identify themselves as associated with sports. Relationships are another key abstraction of religion treating it as a network, connecting individuals with similar interests (Woodhead, 2012). Extending this perspective, passion for sports can also be viewed as bringing together people of differing cultures and backgrounds. An example of this is Jewish immigrants who started sports to conform with American culture (Blazer, 2012). Participation in both sports and religion require a time commitment to practice. Woodhead (2011) credited religion as a dominant force of political and economical power with influence over the public. Religious beliefs steered and motivated individuals to engage in economic changes, resulting in the constitution of capitalism demonstrating its power (Woodhead, 2011).
Weightlifting is positive and fulfilling for its participants making individuals physically and psychologically stronger. Promoting physical activity, personal ownership of health and well being with dieting, discipline and dedication (Probert & Leberman, 2009). Focusing on the culture definition of religion given by Woodhead (2011) and its principles of belief, value, ideology, tradition and meaning, the religious features, if any, of weightlifting will be identified.
I first list aspects of both weightlifting and religion with Woodhead's principles of culture. Then my research required me to undergo a self study providing qualitative research exploring the connections between weightlifting and religion. With the results, I provide features that can identify as religiousness in weightlifting.
Weightlifters needs to follow a strict diet of counting macronutrients—carbohydrates, proteins and fats—to reach the full potential of working out (Probert & Leberman, 2009). There are three stages that acts as a cycle to a weightlifters diet; they are bulking, cutting and maintaining (A Workout Routine, 2011). Bulking is when a person is on a caloric surplus to gain mass and muscle; cutting is when a person is on a caloric deficit to lose weight and fat; and maintaining is eating with a caloric count equal to the amount one needs to maintain the current physique (A Workout Routine, 2011). This cycle is mainly used by competitive weightlifters but also by casual weightlifters for personal goals. Although the cycle is meant to have a positive health effect on the body, if taken to the extreme with adjusting the deficits and surpluses it can become dangerous (Probert & Leberman, 2009). Christians and Muslims also go through a similar process as a weightlifters cutting phase. They restrict their food intakes of certain foods for a religious purpose in order to spend time seeking god through either worship or meditation (Sabaté, 2004). Most religious dietary principles falls into two categories: a...