Why Do Bodybuilders Tan? Find Out The Truth

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Have you ever seen a bodybuilding show before? or a model preparing for a photo shoot?

Have you noticed most of them are tanned?

you might be wondering and asking this question, “why do bodybuilders tan?”

Every time they smile you see their glowing teeth.

It looks like all of them took a little trip to the beach and forgot to use sunscreen.

Their 20-minute nap turned into a 3-hour sunbath.

There are bodybuilders with decent tans and there are others that take taking this too serious and look like fried chicken.

You might be wondering why they do that, and why does every single competitor have to be tanned?

Getting a tan before a bodybuilding show or a fitness photoshoot has become almost like a ritual. It doesn’t matter how they get tanned, and how much it costs. If it goes bad or if they get burned.

Every bodybuilder stepping on stage is getting tanned. If you don’t get a tan before any of these events, you didn’t even compete. If you don’t get tanned, there’s no way you can call yourself a bodybuilder.

There are some outliers and not every single one of them gets tanned, there is always a guy trying to be different that will not get tanned, but at least 99% of them do get tanned.

But why?

Why is tanning such a big deal for bodybuilders?

Does getting tanned help them in any kind of way?

Is tanning the hidden secret to look shredded?

Of course not, but you know how girls use makeup to cover up their imperfections and enhance their appearance?

Makeup is like magic and it can make everyone look a little bit better. It can take you from a 6 to an 8 or an 8 to a 9.

Bodybuilders definitely don’t cover themselves in makeup to look good before their shows. They don’t counter their eyebrows or highlight their cheekbones. Just imagine those really buff and big guys doing their makeup, it would be funny.

They don’t use makeup but they need the benefits of makeup for their body. “Countering” their abs can definitely help them look better, body makeup wouldn’t hurt them at all.

They take can take advantage of some optical illusions to enhance their physique appearance, bodybuilding is a visual sport, it’s about perception and how the judges rate them their physiques, it’s all about how they look.

Bodybuilders will literally do anything they can to make their physique look better, even if it will just make them look 0.00001% better, they will go for it, sometimes small things can make a difference when you are around the best athletes in the world. 

There are many forms in which bodybuilders make their physique look more muscular and ripped, from sodium and water intake manipulation, to not eating carbs for a few days and carbing up before the show, or maybe even doing hundreds of push ups and chasing the pump right before they step on stage, they do anything they can.

Tanning is also another important piece of this puzzle, and it can also help them in some kind of way.

If you would like to discover the reason behind those crazy and sometimes overdone tans then you should continue reading — because by the end of this article you’ll find out why, and you will finally know the reason behind it and how powerful it can be. Maybe you might even consider getting a tan yourself, who knows?

It’s all an illusion

Have you ever been out and party really hard with your friends?

It’s finally Friday and you don’t have to work the next day. You decide to go out and invite some friends.

The perfect night, you are out with your buddies, you go to your favorite place, as soon as you enter the room you start scanning the environment looking for hot women, nobody catches your eye so you head over to the bar with your friends.

You start with one beer, two beers, you start ordering more, another one, another one you have become DJ Khaled. 

Things start getting out of hand, you are not feeling right, so you go for a quick walk, once you come back, the girl you saw at the beginning of the night seems more attractive. Everything around you changed.

The group of fat girls suddenly became the most gorgeous women in the bar, and you start talking to them, you have fun, and then you pass out.

The next day you wake up, and your friends are laughing at you, you don’t know what is going on but then they show you some pictures of you having fun with a very particular lady.

You don’t know what happened, and how did it happen, you got tricked, it was all an illusion, but the girl you thought was ugly suddenly became a stunning model.

Of course, this was due to your alcohol consumption, alcohol made you perceive some things different.

I know this a really crazy example and you might even think I’m crazy.

What does this have to do with tanning?

How does this story relate to our topic?

I didn’t come here to read stories, I want to know why bodybuilders get tanned.

I understand, but here’s the explanation.

I made this story in order to explain the idea of certain illusions that can make things appear different to your eye, bodybuilding is a visual sport, so maybe we can take advantage of this.

Same things happen in a bodybuilding competition, but the fat girls in the club are your muscles, and you are a bodybuilding judge, and alcohol makes those muscles appear more defined.

A more concrete example would be how certain color in your clothes can make you look 10 times better, black can make you look slimmer while white can make you look bigger.

Have you ever noticed when you wear a turtleneck your jaw can look more defined?

When you put these clothes on nothing really changes, you did not get surgery or lost some weight, your body is the same.

You are just tricking your eyes.

Bodybuilders can’t try to sneak in and put something on the jury’s water to get them drunk.

They can’t a black turtleneck to appear more slicked and defined either.

They only wear shorts when they are on stage.

And sometimes really shiny posing suits that look like something a rapper would wear as bling.

Every other part of their body is exposed.

Their chest, their shoulders, their abs and their legs are exposed.

So they need to make sure to enhance them. They are already lean and have a low body fat but looking just a little bit better won’t hurt them.

A little improvement can make a huge difference.

There are many ways they can achieve this, but most of them require a lot of sacrifices, they can go days with only minimal amounts of water, no carbs, and almost killing themselves mentally before a competition.

Those days are really hard and require a lot of willpower.

If you don’t want to go through all of these, or maybe you do want to do that, and do everything you can to look your best, there is another thing you can do.


Why do bodybuilders get tan?

In the last section, I went over some examples of “visual illusions” and their benefits. Now that you understand a little bit more about that and the power they have, and the impact they can have on someone else’s eyes.

You didn’t come here to read stories or to know about clothing illusions. You came here looking for answers. So, why do bodybuilders get tanned?

Does tanning make you look more muscular?

To answer this question we have to go back to the good old bodybuilding days.

Back in the day bodybuilding was all about eating healthy, lifting weights, fitness, and lifestyle. Yes, those golden days, with natural and aesthetic physiques.

You must have seen some pictures before, greek god physiques running around on the beach.

Bodybuilders used to spend hours on the beach, soaking up the sun in order to get tanned, and have that glowing skin that will give them that Hollywood looking body.

Getting tanned was really beneficial for their photoshoots since they were shooting at the beach, they would get a really cool effect when standing under the sun, the light would hit the upper part of their body, this created a nice shadow and gave extra definition to other parts of their body making them more chiseled and aesthetically appealing.

The idea of getting a tan continued with the new bodybuilding generations, but the idea of that fresh Hollywood tan was suddenly taken to the extreme by bodybuilding competitors.

There are physique competitors that take tanning a little bit to serious and end up looking like fried chicken, these fake tans aren’t really what they are trying to imitate.

There are a lot of competitions filled with really bad tans in order to create this illusion.

Bodybuilding shows certainly don’t take in place on the beach, but a similar effect is created with the light on stage, creating a similar shadow and giving more definition to their bodies.

Tanning can help you look more muscular but it is just an illusion. This is used by bodybuilding competitors to take their physique from a 10 to 12.

Using this tool to your advantage can help you a lot, and bodybuilders know that, even if you are a little bit skinny and don’t have a lot of muscles, tanning can and will add definition to your body.

Everybody looks better with a tan. Tanning can help hide your blemishes and marks,

Getting tanned is like getting body makeup. Having a darker shade of skin can make you look really defined. Tanning brings out the lines in your muscles

Of course, tanning won’t make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger but it can definitely help you look a little better than if you didn’t have one.

Everyone can benefit from tanning.

Now that you know about this, you might be considering doing this.

Tanning benefits

Tanning can certainly have some visual benefits. It can take you from looking soft, to looking like you have something going on.

It can make you look more jacked, and really highlight the lines in your muscle, making you more chiseled and lean.

When bodybuilders get tans before their shows, they don’t take trips to Cabo or to Miami.

They don’t go to the beach, rub some lotion and lay down under the sun for hours.

They don’t have time to do that, so they usually get fake tans. But what about getting a real tan?

What if you want to take a trip to the beach to get some of the previously mentioned benefits?

Tanning can have very profound health benefits if done in moderation. Getting some Vitamin D can be very beneficial.

Vitamin D is really important for testosterone and it can also reduce the risk from contracting numerous illnesses and diseases.

But don’t spend a lot of time out in the sun just to get a tan and look more defined, sun rays can be damaging and can lead to skin cancer. Make sure to make an educated decision and do your own research on tanning.

Should you get tanned?


By now you should know about the visual benefits that tanning can bring you, you might even be thinking if this is something you may consider.

You want all girls looking at your body and you want that crazy definition. I am not here to tell you what to do, but if this caught your attention, and you’d like some of the benefits of getting tanned then go for it.

Try getting tanned and feeling like Hollywood actor. Be aware that tanning may only be beneficial if you already are decently lean and have some muscle on your frame.

But what if you are not a bodybuilder but want some of the visual benefits of tanning?

You don’t really need to get a really extreme tan to get some of the benefits. You don’t need to get burned and look ridiculous. You don’t want to look like a douche

You are a normal person so you don’t want to take it too far. You want to look like those old school bodybuilders.

You want that healthy Hollywood look of those guys on red swimsuits and feel like a superstar but you are not going to spend a lot of money on getting a spray tan.

It might be cool to get tanned but not if it will make you spend a lot of money. This should add something and not take anything from you. Well, in this case, you might consider getting some tanning creams, or a bronze lotion.

This won’t give you a really crazy tan but it will be decent enough to give you some definition and make you look more muscular.

You can still get a cool healthy tan with any of these options.

Experiment with different types of tanning and see what works for you, if you don’t want to spend hours under the sun try different options, but getting a real tan might even be beneficial for you if done in moderation.

Don’t take too far unless you want to get skin cancer.

Getting tanned for a bodybuilding competition

bodybuilding competition

You have finally reached your last week before your bodybuilding competition. You are a few days out and it’s your peak week. You are not having a lot of carbs so you are low in energy.

You rely on caffeine to get by. You are just waiting for that moment on stage.

If you are competing in a bodybuilding competition and want to get a tan you have two options.

The first one is getting a spray tan, this the industry standard and the most popular option among bodybuilders, you get in a pot and someone sprays you with tanning.

This is usually done one night before the show and early in the morning on the day of the competition, they also make adjustments throughout the day to make sure everything looks fine.

The other option is dream tan, this is not a very popular option since some organizations don’t actually allow it.

Dream tan is like a tanning paste, you apply it over your body and it gives you a really decent tan, it also has some oils put into it so apart from getting you very dark, it will also make you look very shiny.

This is cheaper than getting a spray tan, but a lot of organizations don’t like it anymore since this can smudge very easily when athletes start sweating.

It looks like you are melting. Plus this makes all the athletes look the same

If you get a dream tan be really careful because you might end up smudging everything you touch, so be aware of that. You don’t want to ruin that nice carpet in the hotel lobby when you walk by or forget about your dream tan and seat in a couch.

Avoid getting in trouble and don’t piss off the owners on the hotel you are staying in, because if you touch something, something bad is going to happen.

Before you get in trouble consider other tanning options or put a bag around your body so you don’t touch anything.

Avoid getting in trouble, I warned you!

Final thoughts

It’s finally time to wrap this up and give some final thoughts. By now you should have an idea of why bodybuilders get tanned and how it helps them enhance their muscles.

Your question must have been answered. We talked about the power of illusions and how they can make things appear different to your eyes.

You thought I was getting out of context and maybe thought about not continuing reading but I put everything together to help you understand some concepts.

I explained the real reasons why bodybuilders get tanned and how it can help them. They’ll do whatever it takes!

I walked you through some of the benefits of getting a real tan and the importance of Vitamin D. If you want help with testosterone, then you should definitely get some Vitamin D.

You got some advice in case you were considering getting a tan. For a bodybuilding competition or just a simple natural tan.

You now know the most popular tans used in the bodybuilding industry, and what you should avoid. Don’t get kicked out of the hotel you are staying!

I hope everything here helped you understand more about tanning and answered your questions. Now you can go tell your friends about this. Or use this information to your advantage and go get a tan.

Remember that tanning is just an extra layer, it’s definitely really helpful but it’s just there to enhance what is already great. Tanning is not a magic solution to looking lean and chiseled

Tanning enhances those hours in the gym and countless sacrifices bodybuilders go through before a competition. Tanning brings up even more that crazy definition and muscle lines.

It’s just another piece of the puzzle. Bodybuilders are known for their discipline and making everything they can to build a better physique.

Even if it makes them look a little bit better. They work really hard for their dreams

They work for months when nobody is watching, they kill themselves just for that small moment. But they don’t care about that, because in the end, it’s really worth it.

Looking at the physique they have built over the months is really satisfying.

Seeing their hard work paying off is awesome. They enjoy the process more than the result and you should too. If you want to get tanned to look more defined then go for it.

Avoid getting burned and don’t go for really hard tans unless you want to look like Donald Trump. But remember, tanning is just an extra, you have to work and hustle to get the body you want.

You have to spend some time working on your body and commit if one day you want to be great. Start slow and be patient, it will take some time but you will get there.

Make slow steady progress. Reward yourself for every step ahead you take.

You are not sprinting you are in a marathon. Keep crushing it

Keep hustling!

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