Have you ever seen those ads/videos that have some shredded 20 something that says something like “STOP! If you wanna lose weight and look like me, you need to do this ab routine! Start with….” And they just continue on about doing some generic abs circuit you could find on bodybuilding.com?
Did you try those routines and no matter how many times you did them, you did not look like the 20 something preaching that ab workout?
Sure you might lose weight, feel stronger, but you don’t start to put on muscle like they do or lose fat in the areas ya want to lose? Did you try your absolute hardest and for some reason, you can’t get those model thin abs or a chest like Arnold?
Chances are if you’ve ever set a fitness goal of looking like x you’ve developed some body dismorphia because of this type of marketing. Well, let’s break some of that ad trauma by talking about what our bodies are really capable of and what are some healthier ways to approach fitness.
You Can Achieve Anything With Hard Work*
Did you watch Michael Phelps’ Olympic run on his way to earning 28 medals? If you lived in America between 2000-2016, you at least saw this guy on a cereal box. At 6’4″ and 185lbs, he was viewed as the epitome of American physical excellence. To this day, you’ll still hear people saying they want to look like a swimmer because of him. And because we as Americans believe a good work ethic will earn us anything we set our minds to, we think that if we swim, our bodies will look like his.
Here’s the thing. Phelps is just like many of us in that we swam for the first time at a young age. He started competing at 7 years old, also entirely possible to get up and go do. Work ethic? He has ton of it and so do you. The difference? Michael Phelps has a 6’7″ wing span and larger than normal lats. Phelps was born not just a swimmer. He was born with the tools to be a world class swimmer. He may have started swimming by chance, but he started winning against other kids who worked as hard as him and that would keep anyone going. He has the body of a world class swimmer because he is a world class swimmer.
A thing we all have to realize is that we are born with a base set of muscular characteristics. Things like muscle density, proportions, and things like our ability to put on muscle are all controlled by genetic factors beyond our control*. We can absolutely workout to get bigger biceps, stronger squats, etc… but that will be relative to you! This is why a “You vs. You” mentality is what we live by! It’s why we don’t let anyone say, “but I only did sweat.” You did YOUR best and YOU improved. That is what matters. As long as you focus on the best you can be, you’re gonna be setting yourself up for success!
*Anabolic steroids do exist. Don’t Take Them!
You Can Achieve YOUR Best With Hard Work!
The problem with ads, like the ones mentioned previously, is that they cause us to compare. They do a marketing technique called framing that puts your mind in a place to be susceptible to what they are saying.
“You want abs like me? This is what I did!”
“You wanna look like The Rock? Try this diet!”
They frame this as “x/y is the pinnacle and I can lead you there!” Rather than, “Here are a couple ways to help you feel healthier today!” One uses an unrealistic goal and gives you a carrot, while the other framing focuses on you and give you a carrot. You got a useful tool, but the real focus should be on how can you be your best self, if we are trying to go down a wholistic path.
Sure, we can’t all look like Michael Phelps. But, we can look like our best selves.
Whether we view that as being able to sit down and play on the floor with our grandkids without pain or going for our own set of abs. There’s tried and true methods for all fitness goals, they just require finding a coach to help you along that path.
You Are A Leader
Chances are since you’re reading this, you’ve found your coach. You are currently working towards your healthiest self! But, before getting here you might have clicked on an ad promising a sculpted body in 60-days. Or, maybe you went through body dismorphia like me, constantly over training to achieve a look that never could be a reality at the detriment to my own social, physical, and mental health (you really can workout too much).
Believe it or not, you are a leader. Being the family member that “does CrossFit,” has probably started getting you some questions about fitness from your cousin. People that are a part of your closest groups notice the changes you are going through. When we are able to play football with the kids at the 4th of July Party, the dads sitting on the patio notice. When you say that you cleaned 55# for the first time, people don’t think “here goes that CrossFitter bragging again!” They think “I wish I could do that!”
The point of the posts this week isn’t just to help the Vegvisir Family decipher the maze of fitness gurus on the internet, it’s to help the Extended Vegvisir Family.
If you haven’t seen videos like the ones discussed and you start seeing them now, let us know! We would love to dispel some of the current myths in the fitness industry for y’all! (Just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions (: )