Reddit’s r/bodybuilding Survey Analysis

Since I got access to r/bodybuilding survey results, I decided to conduct an analysis and visualize their data. All the visualizations are done in Tableau Public. As a disclaimer, this is a survey answered by participants of the subreddit r/bodybuilding and I am no expert in bodybuilding and fitness, some data and explanation might be inaccurate. Apologies in advance.

In this story, I will visualize important data points and divide my analysis into 3 parts: Subscriber Analysis, Training and Diet Analysis, and Bodybuilding Analysis.


Subscriber Analysis

Since this is a survey, the first thing we want to know is all about the survey respondents, we can also see who are the people that subscribes to r/bodybuilding.

Respondents by Self Description

Before anything else, we want to know who these respondents are. Unsurprisingly, majority of the respondents are either a bodybuilder or a hobbyist, we also have some respondents who are a Powerlifter, Athlete, Olympic Lifter and a Martial Artist! This proves that r/bodybuilding is a very diverse community.

Respondents by Subscription Length

Since this is yet another Reddit survey, we’ll see how long have they been subscribed to r/bodybuilding.

Majority of the respondents are only subscribed for 1–3 years, these bunch are fairly new to the subreddit. While there are few veteran subscribers who answered the survey, we can see that we have around a 100 people who answered the survey but are not currently subscribed, thus we are certain that there are people who are visiting and reading through the subreddit without an account on Reddit (assuming they’re not redditors) and that’s huge if they are marketing the community outside of Reddit!

Respondents by Age and Gender

Unsurprisingly for a bodybuilding community, majority of the respondents are male and have an average age of 24 years old. We also have a few females responders and some who don’t identify as neither or female.

From this graph, we can still be certain that bodybuilding is still dominated by males but also we can see that there is a slow rise of female respondents aged 20–27 which can be a sign that more and more females are getting interested in bodybuilding!

Respondents by BMI

The Body Mass Index or BMI as we know it is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height. Unsurprisingly for a bodybuilding community, majority of the respondents have a BMI of 22–26 which according to the CDC is categorized as Normal-Overweight. However, this doesn’t fully mean that the respondents are actually overweight or have a high percentage of body fat, as you gain more weight while you gain more muscle.

Respondents by Country

Before we move on to the next part of my analysis, we would like to see where do the survey respondents live. The r/bodybuilding community is really diverse as we can see from the map, although the majority of the respondents lives in the US and Canada, we have respondents coming from countries around Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

I also just wanna say, “Hello Kababayan!” to the respondents living in the Philippines 🇵🇭!


Training and Diet Analysis

We now know what kind of subscribers does r/bodybuilding have. Let’s now move on to their training and diet, these two are an integral part of bodybuilding as its the routine that shapes the body.

Respondents by Gym Membership

Not all training requires a gym but for bodybuilding, it’s a big plus if you’re in one. So we check on the respondents gym memberships and majority only has one gym membership, of course who would need two or more gym memberships anyway unless you live in two different cities miles apart. We also have respondents who have their own gym at their home and apartment and people who have none which I assume uses the objects around their surroundings to train!

Respondents by Training Routine

When training, following a routine is the most effective and safest way to do things. Here we see how the respondents do their training routine, majority follows a set of program weight progression which I believe is the most effective way as you will be force to train one set of program until you achieve a target weight where you will move onto a next program.

While most people following a single routine, there are a few respondents who does multiple routines which includes 2 or more sets of programs, that’s intense training!

Respondents by Days per Week of Mod-Intense Training

Speaking of intense training, we’ll now see how do the respondents like doing moderate to intense training in a day-to-day basis per week. We can see that most of the respondents prefers doing moderate-intense training 5 days a week! Wow! That’s real intense, no wonder these guy are buff as hell!

While it seems that 5 days of moderate-intense training is intense, you’ll see that we have around 70 people doing 7 days per week, crazy! I guess no one’s crazy if it’s about achieving your goal.

Respondents by Training Goals

Goals are as important as your mindset, it keeps you going and majority of the respondents have a goal of gaining muscle bulk and cut while half aims for maintenance and body recomposition. No wonder they mostly do 5–7 days of moderate-to-intense training per week.

This is also the common goal specially for those who are just starting to lift or do bodybuilding, mostly to gain shape.

Respondents by Diet Approach

Of course, no training routine will be completed without a proper diet plan. After all your training will make no sense if all you’re eating is fatty foods.

From this graph, we can see here that majority of the respondents usually takes on “If It Fits Your Macros” or IIFYM which generates a plan using a macro calculator on their website based on your body and activity information, and clean foods such as fresh fruits and veggies, unprocessed meat, and unrefined grains.

There are also some who only cares about proteins and calories, mainly these people focus on building up muscle mass as proteins and calories are building blocks for muscles.

Respondents by Hours of Sleep

Your number of sleeping hours is also a big part in a training routine, having enough sleep gives you enough energy to use throughout the day and gives you better mental alertness. Sleeping also produces the most growth hormone which is vital if you want your muscles to heal and recover from extensive exercise.

From the graph, we can see that majority of the respondents sleeps between 6–7 hours which the normal for adults. While there are few who sleeps only for 4–5 hours, that is unhealthy and more likely to cause sleep deprivation. For my case, I belong to the people who sleep 10–12 hours.

For more info about recommended sleeping hours, you can visit the National Sleep Foundation website.


Bodybuilding Analysis

Bear with me, we’re now at the final part of this long-ass analysis. This contextualized analysis won’t be complete without analyzing the industry through the respondents. We’ll start of with:

Respondents by Times Competed

Surprisingly for a bodybuilding community, majority of the respondents haven’t competed at any bodybuilding competition before! However, we have some few respondents who competed at least 3 times and very few pros who competed more than 5 times.

Respondents by Future Competing

Next, we’d look into if these respondents who haven’t competed before would compete in the future. From the graph, we can see that at least half of these respondents are considering wether to compete in a bodybuilding competition in the future or not, however the other half doesn’t plan to compete at all. While there are few who plans to compete in the future, good luck lads.

Respondents by Competition Division

Of course, we won’t forget to bat an eye for those who have competed before. Now, we’ll check which division had they competed. Majority had competed in Men’s Physique, where contestants perform quarter turns wearing board shorts (about an inch above the knees), and are judged based upon muscularity, body conditioning, symmetry, and stage presence and in Men’s Classic Physique which is very similar to bodybuilding with a few alterations. The poses will be Front Double Bicep, Back Double Bicep, Side Chest, and favorite classic pose.

Surprisingly, we have respondents who competed in Women’s Figure and Bikini competition! This proves that women bodybuilders are starting to be competitive in the industry.

Respondents by Favorite Bodybuilder

Of course for some aspiring bodybuilder, they have an idol they look up to. In these graph, we look at the respondents top idols. And it looks like that The Terminator is everyone’s favorite! Of course, who wouldn’t love that “Hasta la vista, baby”? Kidding aside, Arnold has been considered as one of the most important figures in the history of bodybuilding, and his legacy is considered as unforgettable.

Following Arnold as the top idol for the respondents is Chris Bumstead, a Canadian bodybuilder who won 2nd place at 2017 Mr. Olympia and whom many considers would be the first Classic Physique superstar.

Respondents by Years of PEDs Usage

The following topics will be a little bit controversial as the use of any kind of enhancing drugs have been banned from every sports, including bodybuilding. In 1989, Raymond Tricker along with David Cook and Michael O’Neill conducted a research on PED usage in competitive bodybuilding, and found out that more than 54% of male bodybuilders were using steroids on a regular basis.

Here we look at the respondents answers where majority of them preferred not to answer, while there are few who claims to have never used any PEDs and some who used PEDs for at least 4 years and very few who have been using them for more than 10 years. Just be careful not to overdose lads!

Respondents by Lifting Power

Finally, we look at how powerful the respondents are by looking at their one-rep max or 1RM record. For readers who doesn’t know what a 1RM is , it’s a personal weightlifting record for any weightlifting particular exercise. The 1RM measurement is a standard in weight training for marking improvement.

Bodybuilders tracks their 1RM to observe their progress, here we have people who answered “I don’t know” so let’s assume these people are not tracking their 1RM records.

Unsurprisingly for a bodybuilding community, the respondents are lifting weights more than their body weight. As you can see, majority of the respondents can lift more than (1.5x-2.5x) their body weight. However, with overhead press the respondents seems to only lift 0.75x more of their body weight.

Whatever their 1RM record is, these are some strong men and women!


Thank you for taking the time to read my analysis. This has been my longest analysis so far, so if you like it consider giving a clap or two and share your thoughts or criticism! Make sure to follow me for more updates on my stories, have a good day!

Visualization: Tableau Public
Data Source: r/bodybuilding