Around the world gyms are full of people putting in hours of hard graft to achieve what they think will make them happy. More often than not, this is their idea of the ‘perfect body’. Eating well, training hard, avoiding bingy nights out and generally dedicating themselves to the cause. The overarching positive to this is that they are taking care of their body and will hopefully reap the benefits for years to come. However, there is a darker side, the psychological effects of this self induced pressure that can result in frustration and disappointment. Constant hard work yet never looking like ‘so and so’ from Instagram or physique competitor ‘Joe Bloggs’ who completes in whatever competition and has a pro card. The question arises, what is really achievable naturally?
We all have our different goals. There are the guys that want to be strongman huge, the girls that want to be power-lifter strong, guys that want to be physique competitor lean or girls that want to be bikini model bodied. We all have different ideas of what can make us happy. We get fixated on the fact that this new smart phone or that new job or that type of car will make us happy. The reality of course is that is often not the case, the key to that happiness is inside us. However, that ‘thing’ is something that drives us to work hard and the journey itself can on occasion be the im-portant part.
When it comes to the gym and changing our bodies’ it’s very difficult these days to understand what’s achievable naturally. We understand that the bodybuilders of the 1970s and 1980s were creating the physiques of the Golden Era utilising (at the time) new drugs and new methods. How-ever, it’s a little more difficult these days. Many of the ‘famous’ social media stars, from Facebook, to YouTube to Instagram, look simply incredible. For women, they have super smooth skin, near perfect legs and glutes, tiny waists, flat stomachs; everything a girl would wish for walking down the beach. The guys are the same, tiny waists, not an ounce of fat on the abs, big broad shoulders, super full delts and of course both have glossy white teeth and nice tans. The question you need to ask, is that is achievable for you?
Yes, these people are human beings just like you. Yes, they were once a regular gym goer like you, but the same is true of a movie star and we don’t all think we can look like Thor, Captain America or Black Widow. We appreciate that these actors have hours of make-up, hours of per-sonal training and when filming do take after take to get the perfect shot, which is lit perfectly by a whole team of people. What the movies portray is perfection, we see the actors off screen and re-alise they aren’t quite that perfect. We know this is the case for models advertising perfume or any-thing else for that matter, but what about the models advertising your favourite gym t-shirt or leg-gings? They didn't roll out of bed like that either. They probably prepped for that shoot for weeks. Had an hour of make-up, the perfect lighting took an hour and they had 1000 photos taken to get that one used to sell you something.
Now think about what you look at on your Smartphone. The same is true of your favourite so-cial media starlet, and perhaps they take it a step further too. Remember, they aren’t always doing social posts for fun, they do so to make money and for many to boost their own confidence/ego. Therefore, just like the Hollywood films, they take photo after photo to try to get the most perfect take. Not to mention professional lighting, photoshop and of course make-up. The question you have to ask yourself is, are you aiming to be someone at their very, very best in your day to day life? If you are, in reality, that that isn’t possible. A bikini model is unlikely to have a flat stomach 365 days a year. A physique competitor probably won’t have swollen delts and vascular abs 365 days a year. They probably aren’t even like that for 24hours! You are comparing to something that isn’t achievable each and every day and possibly damaging your body by over exercising and under eating to try and achieve it.
What makes matter worse is that some of these social media stars will make you believe that they are like this all the time. Perhaps a handful are, but they will be the genetic marvels. The kind people that were so sporty from young, teamed with an absurd genetic ability that their body fat percentages stay low while holding a good amount of muscle, all year around. For others, like Ar-nold Schwarzenneger and pro bodybuilders they take steps that allow them to develop more mus-cle than normally possible. They did so often to win competitions. There are a whole host of com-petitions out there these days that are “un-tested”. If you are aspiring to be like someone from social media who has the body that you are training your heart out for, yet they are competing in an un-tested federation/show, you have to ask yourself if what you are trying to achieve naturally is really natural and therefore really achievable.
We are all very good at convincing ourselves of what we want to believe. We have learnt to override our subconscious which is often telling us the real truth. If your hero/heroin with the perfect body that you aspire to be like may not have achieved that look naturally, that means you can’t ei-ther, so you’ll ignore those little voices of doubt. The thing is, if those voices of doubt are there, they are there for a reason. They are self protecting. Listen to them. There’s a whole host of information at your finger tips on the internet. Some good, some bad, but at least give yourself a chance to know the truth. Google your fitness muse, see what others have said. Sadly there are far too many who are prepared to lie about what they achieved, as being honest might cost them their livelihood.
The most valuable piece of advice is to compete only with yourself. Take photos of you own body each week in the same place, same time of day and same light. Follow a balanced diet suita-ble for you goal, be that muscle gain, fat loss or sports performance and religiously follow a pro-gressive, well structured training programme also specific to you and your goal. Do those things and you’ll soon see the person in that mirror change. That’s the best way to ensure you are chasing something that is achievable, naturally, for you. Check out Maximuscle Home of Gains training and nutrition plans to help you on your way.