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7 Reasons Why Bodybuilders Tan

Discover the essential role of tanning in bodybuilding competitions, from hiding scars and stretch marks to making muscles appear more defined. Learn how to perfect your tanning!

Jack Martino
why do bodybuilders tan
Table Of Contents

Bodybuilding! The art of bulging muscles, chiseled abs, and veins that pop out like spider webs. It's a world where lifting weights is a way of life, and the more you can bench press, the more respect you earn.

But there's something else that's almost as important as the weights themselves: the tan. Yes, you read that right. Bodybuilders tan. And not just a little bit, but a lot. We're talking deep, dark, and crispy, like a well-done piece of bacon. If you're a bodybuilder, you better believe that achieving the perfect golden glow is as essential as pumping iron and downing protein shakes.

Why? Why do bodybuilders subject themselves to the indignity of slathering on self-tanner and baking in tanning beds? Well, my dear friend, sit back, relax, and let me regale you with 7 reasons why bodybuilders tan.

In this blog post, we will explore the seven reasons bodybuilders tan. Get your sunscreen and sense of humor ready because we're about to dive into the world of bodybuilding and tanning, and it will be a wild ride.

Why Do Bodybuilders Tan?

Are you curious why bodybuilders have that bronzed, sun-kissed look all year round? While it may seem just a cosmetic choice, bodybuilders tan for some reason, but they are not. Here are seven reasons why bodybuilders tan.

1. Highlights Muscle Definition

The most crucial reason why bodybuilders use spray tans or tanning beds is that it helps create an illusion of more prominent muscles. The tan's dark color helps highlight the separation between muscles and accentuates the contours, thus making them look as toned and defined as possible.

It's like adding the perfect highlight to a work of art - the details suddenly pop, and the piece's beauty is magnified. For bodybuilders, the perfect tan can make all the difference on stage.

Before hitting the stage, a fresh spray tan or tanning bed session can sometimes be the difference between winning or losing. A perfectly applied spray tan can help give the illusion of deeper cuts and grooves, making muscles appear more defined and toned.

To sharpen the muscles not only in appearance but also in growth, you can add Whey Protein Supplements and get a better natural muscle definition. It's no wonder that bodybuilders often consider spray tans a vital part of their competition prep.

2. Makes You Appear Slimmer

The dark shade helps create the image of a slimmer body, especially around the waist area, where body fat tends to accumulate. This is essential for bodybuilders whose body fat percentage is below 10%, a common requirement for high-level competition.

A fake tan can help make the body appear lean and toned. By reducing the appearance of any excess body fat and creating a seamless, uniform skin tone, a dark tan can help signify muscle while creating the illusion of a slimmer physique. This can help a bodybuilder stand out in a competition and impress the judges.

3. Hides Blemishes

Bodybuilders often use fake tans to cover skin imperfections or blemishes, such as stretch marks or scars, that may distract the judges from their muscle definition.

Stretch marks are common for bodybuilders who engage in extensive weight lifting, and a spray tan can effectively conceal them, ensuring the judges' focus remains on the muscle definition. Use EAA Hydration Supplements to add better gains and muscle building for better definition.

Although imperfections like these are natural, covering them with a fake tan is a tactic many bodybuilders use to ensure that the emphasis is always on their physique rather than any issues beyond their control.

4. Holds Up Against Bright Lights

Bodybuilding competitions are about presenting the perfect physique on stage, and lighting is crucial in highlighting muscle definition and tone. However, the bright and harsh lights used in these competitions can wash out lighter skin tones, making it difficult for bodybuilders to showcase their hard-earned physique.

Bodybuilders use bronze tans to create a stage-ready look on competition day to combat this issue.

The darker skin tone helps prevent the bright lights from washing out their natural skin color and allows them to showcase their muscles and definition effectively. This is why bodybuilders use fake tan to achieve a bronzed look and apply multiple layers to ensure an even and dark skin tone.

5. Boosts Confidence

For competitive bodybuilders, having a strong stage presence is crucial to their success. Strutting their stuff on stage in minimal clothing, and flexing their toned and defined muscles under bright lights, requires a lot of confidence. A darker skin tone can bring more confidence to bodybuilders, especially when they have a fresh spray tan.

Feeling confident is essential for bodybuilders, and having a strong stage presence is one of the explicit factors that judges consider when assessing competitors. Therefore, bodybuilders often use spray tans to enhance their confidence levels and project the best possible version of themselves on stage.

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By creating a more even skin tone and emphasizing their muscle definition, bodybuilders can feel more comfortable and confident under the spotlight, ultimately increasing their chances of success.

6. Part of the Industry

The use of fake tans and spray tans has become widespread in the bodybuilding industry to the extent that judges now consider the quality of the tan when evaluating the competitors. Although the impact of the tan on the scores may differ, it has become an essential element that needs to be fulfilled rather than just an additional way to prepare the physique.

Bodybuilders are automatically disadvantaged if they choose not to use fake tan. The importance of fake tan has become such that it's no longer an optional choice but a requirement for anyone who wants to compete at the highest level of bodybuilding.

7. Reversing the Effects of Steroids

Bodybuilding is a sport that demands a great deal of physical exertion and dedication. For many bodybuilders, steroids have become an indispensable part of their journey toward achieving the perfect physique.

However, one of the adverse effects of using steroids is the development of acne on the skin. This is where tanning comes into play. It not only covers up skin blemishes but also helps bodybuilders conceal any signs of steroid use.

While the use of steroids is a controversial issue in the bodybuilding community, it is a reality that cannot be ignored. At most bodybuilding competitions, not everyone is tested for performance-enhancing drugs, and blemishes from steroid use can become a potential giveaway. Therefore, using tanning to reverse the effects of steroids has become an essential part of the sport.


1. Why do bodybuilders tan so dark?

Bodybuilders often tan their skin to create the appearance of a more defined muscle definition and to showcase their hard work and dedication to their sport. A dark tan can also help mask skin imperfections and create a more uniform and polished look.

Additionally, when bodybuilders go on stage to compete, the bright stage lights can wash out their skin tone and make them look pale and washed out. A dark tan can help to offset this effect and make their muscles appear more defined and visible to the judges.

2. Why do bodybuilders die young?

There is no evidence to suggest that bodybuilders as a group die young. Regular physical activity, including weightlifting and bodybuilding, can have several health benefits and may increase lifespan.

However, there have been cases of bodybuilders who have died relatively young, often due to a combination of factors. These factors may include using performance-enhancing drugs, excessive stress on the heart and other organs due to intense training, and unhealthy dietary practices.

3. What is the difference between bodybuilder tan Vs. no tan?

Whether to use a tan or not as a bodybuilder is a personal preference. Still, there are some differences in how each option can affect the appearance of muscle definition on stage.

bodybuilders who choose not to use a tan may have a more natural skin tone on stage. While this may not create the same level of muscle definition as a tan, it can still showcase a well-developed physique and strong muscle tone.

4. Do black bodybuilders get spray tans?

Black bodybuilders can get spray tans, but it may not be necessary for them to do so. Black individuals typically have a higher level of melanin in their skin, which can provide a natural level of darkness and definition to their muscle tone. However, some black bodybuilders may still use spray tans or other artificial tanning methods to create a more polished look.


Bodybuilders tan for a variety of reasons beyond just aesthetic appeal. The competition aspect of bodybuilding plays a significant role in the importance of a bronzed physique, with judges often considering the tan's quality when assessing competitors.

Tanning can also hide imperfections such as scars, stretch marks, and acne caused by steroid use. It can also make muscles appear more defined, increase confidence on stage, and even make a bodybuilder appear slimmer.

Overall, tanning has become an essential aspect of bodybuilding, and bodybuilders continue to perfect their tanning techniques to enhance their chances of winning competitions.

Article Sources

  • Alves, Ragami C., et al. 'Training Programs Designed for Muscle Hypertrophy in Bodybuilders: A Narrative Review.' Sports, vol. 8, no. 11, Nov. 2020, p. 149. PubMed Central,

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Jack Martino

Jack Martino has an extensive knowledge of health and fitness, especially exercises and workouts, and offers readers valuable information combined with captivating stories that keep them engaged and informed.

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