Bodybuilding vs Aesthetics – What Is the Diffrence Between the Two?

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: June 21, 2023
Bodybuilding vs Aesthetics

The pursuit of a desired physique can take many different forms, and bodybuilding and aesthetics are two distinct paths towards that goal.

In bodybuilding, the goal is to build a lot of muscle through hard training. Aesthetics, on the other hand, is more about getting a lean, toned body that looks good and works well.

But it’s important to note that many bodybuilders find it hard to get a good-looking body because their muscles often get too big and hide the toned look they’re trying to achieve.

People can reach their full potential and get the body they want if they understand these different goals and try to find a balance in their approach.

This is why we’ll talk about where the “aesthetics movement” came from and how it compares to bodybuilding.

What is Aesthetics?

Aesthetics is a term used to describe a movement in fitness focused on achieving a particular type of physique.

Unlike traditional bodybuilding, where size and mass are the primary goals, the aesthetics movement is more concerned with achieving a lean, toned, and proportionate look.

Fitness icons like Frank Zane and Serge Nubret are often held up as examples of what an aesthetic physique should look like.

Participants in this movement aim to reach the standards set by fitness models, with an emphasis on well-defined muscles and a low body fat percentage.

The pursuit of beauty is hard and rewarding for many people, even though it requires discipline and hard work.

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Is the Aesthetics Movement Bodybuilding?

The aesthetics movement has gained popularity in recent years as a new subculture of bodybuilding.

Unlike traditional bodybuilding, the focus is not on competition, but on looking good and staying lean.

The movement originated in the pre-80s and pre-90s golden age of bodybuilding, where the emphasis was not solely on size, but also on symmetry and aesthetics.

The aesthetic physique is still ‘big’ and ‘lean’ by comparison, though its practitioners don’t have the same extreme physiques or discipline as traditional bodybuilders.

The aesthetics movement has links to fitness modeling and social media influencers, making it more accessible than traditional bodybuilding.

Achievability and maintainability are key factors compared to the extreme physiques of bodybuilding.

What Can We Learn From Bodybuilding vs. Aesthetics?

The world of bodybuilding has evolved over time, and the emergence of the aesthetics movement has brought a new perspective to the table.

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While traditional bodybuilding was focused on achieving extreme muscle mass, the aesthetic approach is more about proportion and silhouette.

This method focuses on getting in shape and building a leaner body in a way that is not competitive and can be done by anyone.

The appeal of aesthetics lies in its ability to help individuals improve their bodies while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

It serves as a great starting point for beginners who may want to progress to more competitive events over time.

Studying the differences between traditional bodybuilding and aesthetics can provide valuable insights into achieving a balanced, healthy physique that looks good and feels great.

When it comes to fitness, a common question that arises is whether to use machines or free weights. Depending on your focus, the answer may vary.

For those interested in bodybuilding, free weights provide numerous benefits, such as strength development and muscle building.

However, with such high physical demands, it’s essential to fulfill macronutrient requirements through 6–8 meals a day.

On the other hand, people who are interested in looking good tend to use machines to isolate certain muscle groups and get a sculpted body.

Understanding factors such as carb cycling and the ketogenic diet can help with the recommended 3–4 meals a day.

No matter what your fitness goals are, the equipment you use and how often you eat are important factors in getting the best results.

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How Do Bodybuilding and Aesthetics Differ?

Bodybuilding and aesthetics are both ways to get a good body, but their goals and ways of getting there are very different.

Bodybuilding is a very competitive sport where you need to be the right size, shape, and level of fitness to win.

In contrast, aesthetics is more focused on leading a healthy lifestyle and improving one’s appearance without the pressure of competition.

Bodybuilders have to adhere to strict diets and engage in rigorous workouts to achieve their desired physiques.

While aesthetics also requires dedication and hard work, it does not demand the same level of intensity as bodybuilding.

In the end, whether someone is interested in bodybuilding or aesthetics, they need to be dedicated and willing to live a healthy, active life.

Should I Work On My Aesthetics Or My Strength?

When starting a fitness journey, many people wonder whether they should focus on building their aesthetics or their strength.

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However, the truth is that as a beginner, it is essential to train for both at the same time. While they may seem like two separate goals, building strength and improving aesthetics actually go hand in hand.

As your muscles get stronger, they also get bigger, contributing to a better physique. Once you have a strong foundation, you can prioritize one over the other while still continuing to work on both.

If you’re still unsure about which direction to take, powerbuilding is an option that lets you train for both powerlifting and bodybuilding simultaneously.

Ultimately, the key is to find a balance that works for your goals and lifestyle.

Who is the Most Aesthetic Bodybuilder?

When it comes to the debate over the most aesthetic bodybuilder, there are a few names that come to mind.

Frank Zane is often considered a top contender, with his classic physique and focus on symmetry and proportion.

Even though he has a smaller frame, Serge Nubret is also known for his amazing proportions and sculpted body.

And Chris Bumstead is a rising star in the bodybuilding world, known for his impressive conditioning and balanced proportions.

In the end, the answer to the question of who is the most attractive bodybuilder is a matter of personal taste.

But there is no doubt that these three people have made important contributions to the aesthetics movement and are an inspiration to bodybuilders and fitness fans alike.

How to Prepare for Aesthetics Training

Preparing for aesthetic training can be a challenging yet fulfilling experience, as it involves building muscle and achieving a low body fat percentage.

To achieve an aesthetically pleasing physique, it’s important to focus on working out your lats, core, and shoulder girdle.

Unlike bodybuilding, aesthetic training requires a smaller commitment in terms of time and effort.

However, it’s important to note that many physiques are built with anabolic support for textured appearance and conditioning, so it’s essential to be aware of the safety implications of using such substances.

When setting aesthetic goals, it’s also important to think about proportions and make sure these goals are realistic and attainable.

Are Aesthetic Physiques Useful?

Aesthetic physiques have been a source of admiration for many, but the question remains – are they useful?

Building an aesthetic physique requires focus on not just the appearance, but also functional training that emphasizes moving well.

People usually think of bodybuilding and calisthenics as ways to get a good-looking body, but you can also use exercises like ring rows, push-ups, lunges, Bulgarian split squats, Romanian deadlifts, and dumbbell presses to build strength that is useful.

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The individual exercise choices will ultimately determine if the physique is truly functional.

Even though it’s a buzzword, functional training can help you build a good-looking body, but it’s important to put the quality of your movements first when you train.


In recent years, the aesthetics movement has emerged as a powerful force in the world of bodybuilding.

This movement has helped to inspire many millennials and zoomers to take up traditional bodybuilding practices, while also bringing new depth to the lighter weight classes within the sport.

By trying to get a good-looking body, bodybuilders learn important lessons about accessibility, proportion, and making a big deal out of something.

Despite the many changes and challenges that the sport of bodybuilding has faced in recent years, it remains the best training methodology for those seeking to achieve their aesthetic goals.

As the aesthetics movement continues to grow, it seems likely that it will remain a major force in the world of bodybuilding for years to come.

Dave Moffat
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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.