Can You Compete in Bodybuilding with Tattoos?

John Grimek, father of bodybuilding, used to write for decades for the fitness and bodybuilding industry. The following piece of training advice was taken from John Grimek’s column “Your Training Problems”. Fans would send letters with questions to Grimek and he answered. And when Grimek speaks we have to listen! – Mr. Berg

“My question is not related to training itself, but it is a problem to me. I am 15 years of age and have a tattoo on the upper part of my left arm. I hope to enter physique contests in the near future. I’m wondering if this tattoo will cause me to lose points in such a contest. If points are deducted for tattoos, can you tell me how many I will lose and how I can make them up? Thank you.”

John Grimek: “This is often decided by the presiding judges. It is doubtful, however, that you will lose enough points to make much difference if your physique is outstanding otherwise. I recall at least two men who had tattoos on their arms and shoulders when they won the Mr. America and Mr. Universe titles. Of course their tattoos were not very large and were inconspicuous because of their outstanding physical development, so much so that the judges did not even consider these skin blemishes.

Naturally, if the fellow had his whole chest, back and arms covered with such designs they might disqualify him. On the other hand, there are some mighty scrutinizing judges who do object to these skin blemishes and might subtract some points for them.

On the whole, I think, small tattoos will not be a major issue if the physical development of the individual is outstanding. Even the most scrutinizing judge will not be interested in a small tattoo when he has the whole physique of the individual to take into consideration. I say forget it and concentrate on developing a fine husky, symmetrical body. No one will notice your tattoo, not even yourself.”

Leave a comment