Bodybuilding Competition Guide - Tanning

Bodybuilding Competition Guide - Tanning

Look at photos of contests from early days of bodybuilding and you'll see a lot of competitors standing onstage with virtually no tan. This is definitely not a good idea. When a light-skinned bodybuilder stands under the bright lights onstage the illumination tends to wash him out and makes it difficult for the judges to see his muscle definition and development.

A good tanning will keep this from happening. The skin tans to protect itself from the dangerous ultraviolet rays of the sun. When the skin is exposed to these rays, the melanin (skin pigment) which has remained from your last tan, but has faded, becomes dark again this is why you can seem to tan after just one day in the sun but, in fact, your body has produced no new pigment to protect you. True tanning, during which new melanin is produced, takes considerably longer, a week to ten days, so it doesn't pay to stay out in the sun for long hours a t a time trying to rush a tan.

It is best to tan in stages, twenty minutes to a half hour a day in the beginning, depending on your skin type, where you live, the time of year, and the altitude (the higher up you are, the stronger the ultraviolet rays). If you are fair-skinned and burn easily, you must take extra caution. But remember, even the darkest skin can be burned and damaged by the sun if the exposure is long enough. Experts advise us not to sunbathe (tan) between the hours of 10A.M. and 2P.M, when the rays of the sun are most intense (and can therefore do the most damage to the skin), but that is exactly the time when most people prefer to lie out in the sun. Excessive exposure to the sun tends to cause wrinkles and gives the skin a leathery look and that the sun's ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer. Tanning, then, must be approached with a certain degree of moderation and care.

If you want to spend more time in the sun - a day at the beach, for example - and you have fair skin, remember to use some kind of sunscreen to cut down your overall exposure. You can only tan a little at a time; too much sun will simply cause you to burn and peel, and the damage that can be done to both health and appearance by overexposure to ultraviolet rays is all too well documented.

A lot of bodybuilders complain that they don't have the time to perform tanning or the patience to lie around in the sun for hours. But there are other ways. World Gym has an outdoor deck where you can train and tan simultaneously, and a number of gyms around the country have decks or rooftop facilities that allow you to do the same thing. You don't always have to be doing only one thing at a time.

Tanning, by the way, is not just for fair-skinned bodybuilders. Most darker-skinned bodybuilders like African-American or Latinos find that spending at least some time tanning changes the skin texture and depth of tone and adds to their appearance onstage.

One aesthetic consideration is that you don't want your face to be darker than the rest of your body. But your face, and your nose in particular, tends to absorb a lot more sun. So take care to protect your face by wearing a hat or using a sunscreen to prevent your nose and forehead from getting burned.

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