“I want to look like [insert athlete/celebrity name here]”
“I want to have a six pack/flat stomach/ripped arms”
There is nothing wrong with having these as aspirations.
“But Mike, training for vanity is shallow and self centered!”
Hell yes it is, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it! It’s YOUR body, you can do whatever you want!
Let me explain…
1 – A fit body on the outside is usually a healthy body on the inside
While there may be other genetic and nutritional factors that can play a role here, having a lower body fat, and so muscle mass on your frame is indicative of overall health.
Carrying around excess body fat and little muscle can be very detrimental to internal health including but not limited to:
- High blood pressure
- High LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Increased risk of heart disease (the #1 killer)
- Increased risk for certain types of cancer
- Increased risk for bone loss
- Increased risk for falls/injury
- Decreased libido
- Increased cortisol – the big stress hormone
- Decreased insulin sensitivity (diabetes)
Side note: becoming TOO thin and frail can also have these same negative outcomes – hence the reason to be strong and muscular – not just skinny.
2 – A muscular body means increased independence
Whats the number one reason people need to enter into assisted living?
They cannot stand up on their own.
Being strong and having muscle isn’t just for young people. I have seen many clients of various ages get stronger, and tell me that they don’t hurt as much while doing everyday tasks like lifting things, carrying things, or climbing up on things.
3 – Look good – feel good
You cannot argue that when you look good, you feel good.
I’m all in favor of body acceptance, but most people know when they need to make some kind of change.
It can be very depressing when you feel like you don’t look like yourself – and this negativity can spill over into the rest of your life (work life, home life, family life, bedroom life). It’s just facts that you can’t argue with.
However, this kind of mental negativity of self image can also lead down a unhealthy (just as unhealthy as being out of shape) path, so…
Curveball … Why setting “ideal body” images as GOALS might not be the best idea
Even though I just spent the last 300 words explaining why wanting to look good/muscular/sexy is an okay thing, it might not be the best motivator to set as your actual goal.
For one, you cant compare yourself to someone else – especially a celebrity or athlete. These people are paid to look good and therefore have the greatest amount of resources ($$$ and time) that they can devote to that.
Athletes and movie stars will spend hours a day in the gym, have someone else prepare meals for them, and spend more time with other professionals (massage, chiros, PT’s, etc.) to help there bodies perform and look pretty damn good.
Most of us don’t have this kind of time or money – and nor would we want to spend that amount of time away from our families and friends.
This being said, you can definitely strive to become a better looking (and feeling) version of yourself.
Take photos in a swimsuit or underwear to be able to look back on and see changes. Take measurements to monitor your own progress.
Then, when it comes to goals pick performance based goals.
If you want to have a sexy muscular body, then pick goals that involve getting stronger, lifting more weights, or doing more reps, or completing some kind of cardio task faster.
If you are getting stronger, lifting more weights, getting faster, or improving in ANY aspect that revolves around performance – you are adding muscle and likely burning fat (nutrition obviously matters too).
If you are adding muscle and shedding fat because of performance goals – surprise, you are likely going to like the way you look after time and dedication to the process.
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Stay healthy my friends,