Welcome to the gym…here we see a bro in his natural habitat drinking protein next to a Schwarzenegger

One common stereotype of weightlifters is the “bro.” A bro is a young white male, between the ages of about eighteen to twenty-eight, middle to upper socioeconomic class, heterosexual, and big in size and stature. Bros can be seen strutting around the gym (only in the weights sections though), chugging water from gallon-sized jugs and occasionally taking a swig from a protein shake. Towards the end of a set, they elicit loud, manly grunts to help them push out those last reps, then receive high-fives from fellow bros for finishing strong. Their attire consists of basketball shorts, weight-lifting gloves, a  weight belt, and a stringy-looking tank top that shows their nipples. It is assumed that bros are mere meat-heads who aren’t scholarly and only care about lifting weights.

One bro encouraging another bro to finish strong.

One bro encouraging another bro to finish strong.

Another stereotype that exists is that of the roided-up bodybuilder. These men are typically either black or white, ages twenty to thirty-five, middle to high socioeconomic class, and gigantic. Most people think of former Mr. Universe and seven-time Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the sort of “face” of bodybuilding. Other well-known bodybuilders include Frank Zane and Aziz Shavershian (Zyzz). These men have giant and bulging muscle mass, protruding veins, and hardly any fat content. To put these bodybuilders’ proportions in perspective, when Arnold was an competitive bodybuilder, he weighed 260 pounds (off-season), standing at 6’2″. Bodybuilders represent a hypermasculinity because they are so extremely buff. However, men of notable bodybuilding size are presumed to have used steroids.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger



I do not conform to either of these stereotypes because I am a female, asian, of average height and weight, deeply invested in my education, and a girly-girl. My fat percentage is average and my body is not excessively muscular, therefore, my physique does not prescribe to the common stereotypes either.





This entry was posted in Stereotypes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Welcome to the gym…here we see a bro in his natural habitat drinking protein next to a Schwarzenegger

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    You do an excellent description of the “bro” stereotype. I was really able to get a picture of the description, which tells me that you are right on in describing the stereotype, at least in my mind. I’d enjoy hearing you explore further where you think this stereotype comes from. Also, how does it affect current gym culture and the approachability of the weight-section for non-bros? What work does this performance of weightlifting as an uber-masculine practice do? How does steroid use reinforce and potentially challenge that?

Leave a Reply to Sarah McCullough Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s