Is bodybuilding compatible with Catholicism?

My wife has been competitively bodybuilding for two years, and I am about to enter my first contest. However, I have been struggling with the question of modesty and humility.

Obviously, contest posing requires much of the body be revealed. The scanty posing suits are not intended to be sexually arousing but rather to allow judges to evaluate muscularity and symmetry. My wife and I have always worked out but this seemed a worthy goal to see if we could compete at 40-plus years of age. The intent is not to get attention per se (although obviously there has to be some ego involved) but to challenge ourselves against others who also eat healthy and work out. We are natural lifters (no drugs or supplements, just working out and food). Finally, through training both of us have been able to not only assist others in eating/living healthy but also (and more importantly) to evangelize.

Given that our intent is not to lead others into impurity but actually to use the opportunity to share our faith in a rather unique way, would there be a Church teaching that we are violating or in danger of doing so?

If we mean by bodybuilding the lifting of weights and eating healthy foods, there is nothing wrong with that. But if you do so for the purpose of showing off your physique and being awarded prizes on how muscular you are, in my personal opinion there are two problems with that: The first is the modesty issue, which you have mentioned. The second is that it seems to me to be an affront to the dignity of the human person to treat a human person as if he were little more than a prize horse or dog to be paraded before judges for physical assessment.

Surely you can find other, more dignified ways to encourage others to eat well, live healthy, and become Catholic than to enter contests in which you and your wife will have to pose mostly naked in front of judges.

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