Ever heard of this kid?
November 5, 2002 4:59 AM   Subscribe

Ever heard of this kid? Richard Sandrak is a 10 year old body builder! I cant help but wonder what health problems this kid will develop when he reaches puberty. freak or unique?
posted by JonnyX (46 comments total)
Jeez, what are Sigfried and Roy gonna say when they find out what that kid did to their tiger?

Seriously, I do find this a little disturbing. Here's hoping the site is just some crank with the head of a ten year old photoshopped onto some muscle-mary's body.

Richard is a 5th degree black belt level in the martial arts Hmmm, ten years old? 'the martial arts' - not a specific discipline? BS factor just got cranked up a notch...
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:08 AM on November 5, 2002

Not a photoshop. Saw this kid on that "Believe It or Not" TV show. Too lazy to find link. Too lazy to even write full sentences.
posted by lambchops at 5:16 AM on November 5, 2002

No, this kid's for real, I've seen him on TV a couple of times. I think his dad is also a body builder.

The kid trains often every week and has a pretty strict diet. His dad has to be insane.
posted by einarorn at 5:17 AM on November 5, 2002

I'll say one thing for this kid's site, I now stand proud as an I-Type Ectomorph, rather than an underfed, bony twerp - *begins cyborg-like 'robot' dance*
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:21 AM on November 5, 2002

And he had an article in last Saturday's Guardian magazine.

It's interesting that, now, people are beginning to wonder about his age and whether or not he actually is a 10-year-old boy...
posted by Katemonkey at 5:23 AM on November 5, 2002

Just the reaction I would expect from a bunch of dweebs.
Bodybuilding is no different than any other hobby.
posted by mischief at 5:24 AM on November 5, 2002

Mischief, with 263 comments, you're as big a geek as any of us. We're all in the same boat here...

Btw, bodybuilding is different from hobbies such as bike riding and ball games in that it isn't usually taken up by 10 year olds.
posted by lambchops at 5:32 AM on November 5, 2002

Glad to see that he finally cut his long hair. He's looking healthy. He's definately growing too. I saw him a few years ago.

Its sad to see his father / trainers and 'doctor' talk about his health. Does/did he do it for himself, or for them?
I'm not doctor, so I wont speculate.
posted by tomplus2 at 5:32 AM on November 5, 2002

mischief, this article doesn't say anything about body building as a sport. The point is a 10 yeart old kid should not be working out in a gym for the sake of his health.
Im sure we have many body builders on metafilter, does that mean you class them as dweebs too?
posted by JonnyX at 5:33 AM on November 5, 2002

Just the reaction I would expect from a bunch of dweebs

On one hand I'm inclined to agree with mischief, it's not really that different to many sports or hobbies...on the other hand, encouraging a ten year old to develop his body to look like a greased cauliflower is just weird.

If I ever have kids, I'll encourage them to get involved with something healthy, like speedstacking (oh, you all know the thread...)
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:33 AM on November 5, 2002

C'mon mischief: I respect the work teen and adult bodybuilders do, and I have been lifting myself for several years, but I have concerns about this kind of training and eating for a pre-pubescent kid.

Am I absolutely sure that the kid is facing major health problems in the future? Nope, but given the caution I've seen displayed by weight training experts about barely pubescent kids entering training, I reserve the right to be skeptical. (At least until I have the time to dig out any decent studies on the topic).

Oh, and in case anyone's ready to drag in a straw man or two:

* Yes, lots of kids these days are overweight or obese, and that is a real health issue.
* Yes, kids tend to be less active today and would probably be happier and healthier if they ran around, climbed things, played team sports, and had more physical fun.
posted by maudlin at 5:36 AM on November 5, 2002

question: what happens when this kid hits puberty?
posted by o2b at 5:41 AM on November 5, 2002

hey mischief just kicked sand in my face and called me a dweeb...wait maybe there's help. He'll think twice about calling me a dweeb next time.
posted by johnny novak at 5:48 AM on November 5, 2002

question: what happens when this kid hits puberty?

Likely, when his balls drop they will fall completely off from steroid abuse
posted by ElvisJesus at 5:48 AM on November 5, 2002

I have to admit that my perception of bodybuilding (as differentiated from just working out) is that it goes way beyond sport, into the realm of unhealthy body obsession. That's probably unfair, but I'm still waiting for someone to explain why it's unfair. Aside from the gender of the people involved, can someone give me a specific reason why bodybuilding is different from anorexia?
posted by fuzz at 5:51 AM on November 5, 2002

hey mischief just kicked sand in my face

Damn your oily hide! I've been saving my 'sand in the face' gag for half an hour and you go and spoil it all. Christ, if I wasn't such a noodle-limbed milquetoast I'd kick your ass!
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:52 AM on November 5, 2002

I can't see that he should experience too many problems, as long as he's done it the natural way, and not taken too many supplements (e.g. Creatine and others). Over exercise may bring about early puberty (due to excess amounts of growth hormone and testostorone, which are stimulated by exercise), but he shouldn't have too many problems otherwise.
posted by BigCalm at 5:53 AM on November 5, 2002

As a guy who pretends to be a bodybuilder, and has been working out regularly for 17 years...here's my only opinion. The kid looks healthy, and he has established workout and diet discipline that will likely last him his entire life.

Fuzz - the way you define BB it really is no different from anorexia. But the way most people practice BB is very different. It involves regular training, watching one's diet, and tracking progress through body changes as opposed to strength gains or seconds shaved off the 400 time. It sounds narcissistic, and it is, but the sport is called bodybuilding so body image has to play a part in the feedback loop.
posted by vito90 at 5:58 AM on November 5, 2002

Sandrak was featured in a Details article last summer and he looks as freaky then as he did now. According to the article, Dad controls every aspect of his diet and education and feeds him 'supplements' which he refused to divulge the contents of. I feel sorry for the kid, he hasn't had a childhood, and appears to be a puppet for his Fathers marketing desires. I wouldnt be surprised if he ends up morbidly obese aftr escaping his parents grasp and finding the joys of twinkies and deep fried Mars bars. 'I wash myself with a rag on a stick.'
posted by CoolHandPuke at 6:22 AM on November 5, 2002

Isn't this meme a few years old? I have a vague memory of this from somewhere...
posted by oissubke at 6:27 AM on November 5, 2002

Dad controls every aspect of his diet and education .

I think that's what really bothers me about this. I don't really think it's very healthy for kids to get obsessed about anything, whether it be mountain climbing or Magic-The Gathering, but when a parent appears to be pushing a child into a *hobby* they wouldn't otherwise be interested in it makes me cringe.
posted by backOfYourMind at 6:28 AM on November 5, 2002


reminds me of jon benet somehow...making the kid grow up too soon, a mini-adult. i hardly think he's doing this of his own volition, seeing that both of his parents are fitness experts.

let kids be kids. prodigies usually end up all messed up.
posted by copper at 6:29 AM on November 5, 2002

No one seems to be commenting on the sexualization factor. Why is it that we need a boy like this to look like a man? It would seem no better than putting a 13 year old James King on the runway in a thong and calling it okay. I do not dispute his training and diet discipline as being healthy for him, but what is the point of bodybuilding, if you boil it all down? Hypermasculinity is supposed to be sexy. Why are we making this child sexy?
posted by oflinkey at 6:32 AM on November 5, 2002

oflinkey, is James King a transexual? I've never met a girl called James before! and those hands, she could play in goal for Man utd.
posted by JonnyX at 6:41 AM on November 5, 2002

JonnyX- No, her real name is Jaime, but she couldn't register with SAG under that name, as apparently, there is another Jaime King out there, who is also in the Biz. so she went with James.
posted by oflinkey at 6:43 AM on November 5, 2002

oflinkey - the point of BB, for the 99.999% of practitioners is about living a healthy lifestyle. Lots of bb's I know quit when they turned 30 or 40 and substituted yoga or swimming or hiking as their new regimen of choice. BB is not about competitions or steroids or 1% bodyfat. It's about staying in shape and having a positive body image which spills over to the rest of one's balanced life and helps you keep a positive attitude about those things.

Anything when taken to an extreme can be harmful, especially BB with the potential for dangerous supplements and the like. But for most bodybuilders this is not an issue.
posted by vito90 at 6:43 AM on November 5, 2002

i dont know.

i really doubt its healthy for a pre-pubescent kid to be body building, aside from the probability of early puberty (which in itself will probably cause social problems). its probably causing his body to concentrate on the wrong things. seems dangerous to confuse the body of a rapidly growing and changing 10 year old body.
posted by copper at 6:50 AM on November 5, 2002

Oh, and in case anyone's ready to drag in a straw man or two:

Happy Guy Fawkes night!
posted by kayjay at 6:51 AM on November 5, 2002

Whoa ... nothing wrong with this at all. My husband started body building at a very young age and now at age 50 he has the body of a 20 year old. Luckily for our two children he passed on the discipline gene required to sustain the type of dedication required to stick with a healthy lifestyle.
posted by oh posey at 6:57 AM on November 5, 2002

oissubke, i had this on my blog back in 2000. it's been around the meme circuit before...
posted by quonsar at 7:20 AM on November 5, 2002

That kid looks like the product of his fathers dreams and ambitions. His fathers motives should be scrutinized.
One day that kid will take his life into his own hands and be what he wants to be. I just think at 10 years old, he is being driven to this by other than his own motivation.
Furthermore, his fathers supplements should be tested, and questions should be raised as to why a 10 year old boy needs them.
This is whacky parenting imho.
posted by a3matrix at 8:12 AM on November 5, 2002

oflinkey, a couple of articles out there say she's called herself James -- a common enough nickname for Jamie -- since she was a teenager. And of course it's a business where having a distinctive name helps.
posted by dhartung at 8:39 AM on November 5, 2002

Fuzz - the way you define BB it really is no different from anorexia. But the way most people practice BB is very different.

There is a grain of truth in what fuzz says. There is a psychological disorder called Body Dysmorphic Disorder. People with the disorder will often have round after round of plastic surgery and in the case of bodybuilding, will work out (and in some cases, use steroids) to the point of causing themselves serious injury.

That being said, I find weightlifting very pleasurable and I can understand why people do bodybuilding, even though I don't find it aesthetically pleasing. I regard it as a form of body modification/body art. If a person is going about it sensibly, it shouldn't pose any risk to their health.

As for this kid, the father sounds like a control freak who is basking in the reflected glory of his son. I worry less about the kid's physical health (mystery supplements aside) than I do his mental health.

posted by echolalia67 at 9:20 AM on November 5, 2002

I don't think this kid lifts enough weights -- I could kick his ass.
posted by uftheory at 9:24 AM on November 5, 2002

He was featured in more than 150 countries and many TV shows including: BBC ...

BBC! The kid's hit the big time.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:43 AM on November 5, 2002

posted by crunchland at 9:44 AM on November 5, 2002

dhartung- I will try to find the New York Times Magizine article that came out when she was about 16 stating that she had to go with James because of legal reasons. Maybe since then it just sounds cooler to say that she has 'always' been known as that.
I remember the article distinctly, so I hope I can find it. The whole thing was about how she was too young to runway in Paris, and the extreme things that she would do to fit in. She is a recovering heroin addict, you know.
vito90- I don't doubt any of the health benefits at all. And I am glad that many people, men and women, get pleasure out of bb. But one cannot deny the sexual implication of exaggerating musculature. I have heard enough "Ew! She looks like a man!" when seeing with female bbuilders. Let the kid be healthy, eat right- hell, he is way beyond most of us there. But do not attempt to make him look like a man. Incidentally, I saw this kid on Howard Stern (the telelvised version of his show) and it was the general sentiment there as well that he was a) too sexualized and a freak in terms of his age group, and b) his dad was a whack. If anyone can recognize exaggerated sexuality, it is Howard Stern.
posted by oflinkey at 10:11 AM on November 5, 2002

Hmmm....sounds to me like a lot of you are just a teensy bit envious of this kid's physique. ;)

Well, I know I am, anyway.
posted by DakotaPaul at 10:58 AM on November 5, 2002

I'm frightened on so many levels.

But also very jealous of that six pack!
posted by archimago at 11:09 AM on November 5, 2002

For those who think bodybuilding is shallow and worthless, I'd suggest contemplating the title of Bruce Lee's book on exercise: The Art of Expressing the Human Body.

It can be shallow. But it can be something else. Probably not for a ten year old though. :)
posted by callmejay at 11:39 AM on November 5, 2002

About %20 of the population is born with the genes to obtain a body builders body. The kid knows he has somthing special and is using his gift. Bodybuilding is part work and diet but its also a large part genetics.

Western culture views health as muscle. Eastern cultures see health in the organs. Does this kid have healthy kidneys from takeing so many suppliments? Is his heart cloged with fats? We can't see it externally.
posted by stbalbach at 2:30 PM on November 5, 2002

Happy Guy Fawkes night!

Second time I've seen this posted today, kayjay, I bet it was your exaple that gave the idea for them to post it again. Though they used another link.
posted by thomcatspike at 5:04 PM on November 5, 2002

I don't think bodybuilding is necessarily shallow (when adults do it in a healthy, non-obsessive manner), but I question how healthy it is for a pre-pubescent boy to be taking mystery supplements and doing this much working out. And his dad seems a bit wacky, from the little I've read. Teaching your kid about healthy eating and regular exercise and goal-setting are all good, but this seems like it could be going a bit too far, I question how much choice in the matter the kid really has.
posted by biscotti at 5:15 PM on November 5, 2002

Moving away from the psychological aspects of why people body-build, to me it seems much like a more dedicated form of weight training.

At school our rugby and rowing teams did an enormous amount of cardio training but we were told to take it easy on the weightlifting because apparently if you over-develop muscles too young it inhibits skeletal development.

This was 10 years ago now. Anyone who knows what they’re talking about have an opinion on this?
posted by dmt at 3:36 AM on November 6, 2002

dmt ... after posting a comment about my husband's four decades of body building, I asked him at what age he thought body building should start. He started at age 10 because some coach recognized his natural athletic ability and wanted to develop him as a star athlete(which he was), but my husband adamantly argues no child including his own should start weight training until age 14. He said the difference is he was lucky at the time to have a very dedicated coach who supervised and trained him in the proper methods of weight training using only light weights for the first two years. He was gradually moved into the heavier weights as his body matured. Otherwise it's a pretty safe bet the child will eventually develop joint and skeletal problems. But he feels the far worse problem with kids lifting now is pressure to develop and that is when they start experimenting with performance-enhancing supplements like creatine and androstenedione, or even worse, steroid use.
posted by oh posey at 8:28 AM on November 6, 2002

I just wanted to say, when i first clicked on the link my reaction was, "how could anyone fall for this? It's so obviously photoshopped." Then I came to the thread and saw all the testaments to seeing him on camera etc, and went back to view clips, but those photos still absolutely look fake to me, even knowing intellectually that they're not. I could swear they took a boys head and pasted onto a man's body reduced in size. The face still has that softness and fatty epidermis of a child, while the body looks like a grown man's. It's freaky.

On the other hand, the martial arts stuff looked pretty cool, and if he's happy, if it's his calling to be an athlete, I can't exactly say why it's wrong. I guess the 'pushing a child' aspect comes up, the same way child geniuses sometimes seem to be pushed quite beyond what they would naturally choose to do. But according to the site he only spends a little over an hour a day training, which doesn't strike me as extreme.

It'll be interesting to see what his perspective is when he's older. The problem with parenting is that you can't know if what you think would have made childhood better for you will actually make it better for your kid, both because you can't compare reality to the imagined, and your wishes to your kid's.
posted by mdn at 8:56 AM on November 6, 2002

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