Health: Working Out? Be Realistic!
I’ve been going to the Dupont Results for over a year now, and I’ve had the opportunity to chart the progress of many friends and acquaintances who I see there on a regular basis. I noticed the other day that one particular friend-of-a-friend has really significantly bulked up in the past year. I saw him in the sauna after our respective workouts, and I mentioned my observation. I then asked if he has any particular bulk-goal in mind, because he was looking pretty good. (And quite honestly, he’s beginning to exceed the upper bound of attractively muscley in my opinion.) He replied that he had a particular look in mind that he was working towards. A friend of his who was in the sauna with us asked him, “Oh, that picture you have up in your office? That guy has a totally different frame than you!”
Upon hearing this, I began to verbalize something that’s been bugging me for quite a long time: Too many guys are striving for “looks” that are unattainable. They’re suffering through endless workouts and protein shakes to no avail and increased frustration as their pecs and shoulders continue to pale in comparison to those displayed in the myriad photos of hot guys taped to their bedroom mirrors or the doors to their refrigerators and pantries. It’s time to stop the madness.
I consider myself pretty lucky. I wear a 40-regular suit, size 32 jeans, medium t-shirts. Clothes fit me without much problem. I have an average-sized frame and am pretty proportional, with just enough meat hanging off my bones. Said meat is not necessarily the most toned, leanest or most cut, but at least it’s there. And I consider myself very lucky. I’m very happy with my frame. The rest, however, is a work in progress. (I’m far from looking like the picture above.)
Other people aren’t so lucky. Skinny shoulders, wide hips, short statures, baby fat, apple shapes, pear shapes, etc. People come in all different shapes and sizes. No big deal. The problem comes when people of one body type aspire to look like someone of a different body type. They cut out pictures from fashion magazines and swim suit catalogs, taping them up in places where they can be easily compared to their progress at the gym, or in places that might deter them from snacking. They constantly look at themselves in the mirror and judge themselves based on these images. Sadly, they’ll never get there. All of that emotional energy and self-criticism resulting in flagging self-esteem and raging insecurity. It’s all for naught.
I have a few friends and acquaintances who have really hot bodies. Bodies that others would “kill for.” But how do they see themselves? Too skinny. Too fat. Too flabby. You name it. There’s actually a term for this. It’s called body dysmorphia. It’s what often causes eating disorders, and it can cause excessive working out, too.
According to Workouts for Dummies, there are three primary body types: mesomorphs, ectomorphs and endomorphs. And for each body type, there are different workouts and different workout goals. If you’re constantly judging yourself based on a picture of Brad Pitt or David Beckham, STOP. Take serious stock of your body, figure out your body type, and appreciate its strengths and weaknesses. Then find pictures in magazines and catalogs that reflect your actual body type and set some attainable goals. Or even better, see a trainer at the gym and ask what workout you should be doing for your body type, and what sorts of results can you expect. And while you’re at it, start taking better care other aspects of your life as well.
What about you? Are you happy with your body?
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