Have you ever seen other people on social media, TV, magazines, and instantly been upset with how you look?
If so, this is completely normal. I know I have done this, and still do this, albeit way less than before.
Most pictures you see of people on social media and magazines are of when they got super lean and had a professional photoshoot done and then they use these pictures over and over again.
But believe it or not, they don’t look like that year-round. Most of the time, they get super lean 1-2 times per year, get professional photoshoots done, and then bam they have a year worth of social media pictures.
Not to mention, many of these people are the best of the best as well. They also probably get to workout for a living, and may even take illegal drugs to get there. Not to mention, they most likely have above average genetics as well.
Side note on genetics:
This isn’t to take anything away from these people, as it no doubt takes hard work and discipline to look great. But just like with sports, some people can get away with doing less and not trying as hard because of their genetics. We are always going to see more of the “outliers” than whatever the average is, especially on social media and TV.
Like I mentioned all of these people work extremely hard and I also think it’s awesome to see just how great the human body can look when pushed to the limit.
The problem though?
Seeing the top of the top and people shredded all of the time can send the wrong message to people who just want to get into a little better shape.
While it’s great to aspire to look like that, once most people realize the time and effort that goes into it (oh and the fact it’s not sustainable) they won’t want to do it. And instead would be much happier with more sustainable goals.
Also comparing yourself to others might be the worst thing you can do. Work hard and build YOUR best body that you can.
When you focus on other people/external things rather than what YOU can do, you take your focus from an internal locus of control to an external locus of control. Not good. The worst thing you can do for any goal (school, business, fitness etc.) you want to achieve is to focus on things outside of your control.
Myself as an example:
I compete in natural bodybuilding myself, and while getting super lean is great for a bit, it for sure is not something I would want to be like all of the time, nor is it something that is sustainable. However, this doesn’t mean I want to get overly fat when I’m not competing. I just get a bit more relaxed with nutrition, but still focus on building muscle.
Here is what I looked like the week leading up to my last bodybuilding show (probably about 155-160lbs in these pictures):
Here is what I look like in my offseason when I’m trying to gain weight and put on a little extra body fat (about 177lbs in this picture):
We will see what happens. But I fully expect to look much bigger and leaner at 160-165ish than the last time I was there.
Whereas if I stayed super lean I would not have been able to put on really any amount of muscle.
I just wanted to share an example of how it’s not realistic to be super lean all of the time.
Let’s look at what it takes to get to certain levels of body fat:
As you can see it takes sacrifice and some major trade-offs to get to extremely low levels of body fat.
And the truth is, people would be very happy being in the 13-20% for men and 23-30% range for women. And the trade-offs/requirements are much more sustainable and doable for the majority of people, who have jobs outside of fitness, family, friends, etc.
You do need to work hard though:
In saying that, it will take some sacrifice and discipline. For example, to be in the 13-15% for men/23-25% for women, you can’t just go to the bar every night and expect to lean out.
You will have to say no to going out and drinking from time to time so you can work out the next day and get better sleep, or just to make better choices nutrition-wise. You also can’t just eat whatever you want, when you want either.
But, the cool thing about all of this is that it requires less super demanding workouts/nutrition to get there than what people think, albeit still challenging work.
Remember that it’s your body and you get to decide what you are willing to do to get lean. You need to make sure it’s worth the trade-offs/sacrifices. And if it’s not, then that’s totally fine. It’s your body and you get to do what you want with it. You can still look great and healthy with fewer sacrifices and trade-offs.
No matter what, you probably are always going to want to improve how you look. You are always going to want to be a bit leaner or add more muscle. And that’s ok, its ok to want to be better. But it’s important that you realize this, and instead focus on just improving YOURSELF each and every day. Because that’s all you really can do.
Remember your lean may be different from someone else’s.