Bodybuilding is the use of progressive resistance exercise to control and develop one's musculature for aesthetic purposes. An individual who engages in this activity is referred to as a bodybuilder. In competitive bodybuilding, bodybuilders appear in lineups and perform specified poses for a panel of judges who rank the competitors based on criteria such as symmetry and conditioning. Bodybuilders prepare for competitions through the elimination of nonessential body fat, enhanced at the last stage by a combination of extracellular dehydration and carbohydrate loading, to achieve maximum muscular definition and vascularity, as well as tanning to accentuate the contrast of the skin under the spotlights. Bodybuilders may use other performance-enhancing drugs to build muscles; the winner of the annual IFBB Mr. Olympia contest is recognized as the world's top male professional bodybuilder; the winner of the Women's Physique portion of the competition is regarded as the world's top female professional bodybuilder.
The title is held by Juliana Malacarne, who has won every year since 2014. Since 1950, the NABBA Universe Championships have been considered the top amateur bodybuilding contests, with notable winners such as Reg Park, Lee Priest, Steve Reeves, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Winners go on to become professional athletes. Stone-lifting traditions were practiced in ancient Egypt and Tamilakam. Western weightlifting developed in Europe from 1880 to 1953, with strongmen displaying feats of strength for the public and challenging each other; the focus was not on their physique, they had large bellies and fatty limbs. Bodybuilding developed in the late 19th century, promoted in England by German Eugen Sandow, now considered as the "Father of Bodybuilding", he allowed audiences to enjoy viewing his physique in "muscle display performances". Although audiences were thrilled to see a well-developed physique, the men displayed their bodies as part of strength demonstrations or wrestling matches. Sandow had a stage show built around these displays through Florenz Ziegfeld.
The Oscar-winning 1936 musical film The Great Ziegfeld depicts the beginning of modern bodybuilding, when Sandow began to display his body for carnivals. Sandow was so successful at flexing and posing his physique that he created several businesses around his fame, was among the first to market products branded with his name, he was credited with inventing and selling the first exercise equipment for the masses: machined dumbbells, spring pulleys, tension bands. His image was sold by the thousands in "cabinet cards" and other prints. Sandow was a perfect "Gracilian", a standard of ideal body proportions close to those of ancient Greek and Roman statues. Men's physiques were judged by how they matched these proportions. Sandow organized the first bodybuilding contest on September 14, 1901, called the "Great Competition", it was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Judged by Sandow, Sir Charles Lawes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the contest was a great success and many bodybuilding enthusiasts were turned away due to the overwhelming amount of audience members.
The trophy presented to the winner was a gold statue of Sandow sculpted by Frederick Pomeroy. The winner was William L. Murray of Nottingham; the silver Sandow trophy was presented to second-place winner D. Cooper; the bronze Sandow trophy — now the most famous of all — was presented to third-place winner A. C. Smythe. In 1950, this same bronze trophy was presented to Steve Reeves for winning the inaugural NABBA Mr. Universe contest, it would not resurface again until 1977 when the winner of the IFBB Mr. Olympia contest, Frank Zane, was presented with a replica of the bronze trophy. Since Mr. Olympia winners have been awarded a replica of the bronze Sandow. On January 16, 1904, the first large-scale bodybuilding competition in America took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City; the competition was promoted by Bernarr Macfadden, the father of physical culture and publisher of original bodybuilding magazines such as Health & Strength. The winner was Al Treloar, declared "The Most Perfectly Developed Man in the World".
Treloar won a substantial sum at that time. Two weeks Thomas Edison made a film of Treloar's posing routine. Edison had made two films of Sandow a few years before; those were the first three motion pictures featuring a bodybuilder. In the early 20th century and Charles Atlas continued to promote bodybuilding across the world. Alois P. Swoboda was an early pioneer in America. Many other important bodybuilders in the early history of bodybuilding prior to 1930 include: Earle Liederman, Zishe Breitbart, Georg Hackenschmidt, Emy Nkemena, George F. Jowett, Finn Hateral, Frank Saldo, Monte Saldo, William Bankier, Launceston Elliot, Sig Klein, Sgt. Alfred Moss, Joe Nordquist, Lionel Strongfort, Gustav Frištenský, Ralph Parcaut, Alan P. Mead. Actor Francis X. Bushman, a disciple of Sandow, started his career as a bodybuilder and sculptor's model before beginning his famous silent movie career. Bodybuilding became more popular in the 1950s and 1960s with the emergence of strength and gymnastics champions, the simultaneous popularization of bodybuilding magazines, training principles, nutrition for bulking up and cutting down, the use of protein and other food supplements, the opportunity to enter physique contests.