Women are barraged with what they should look like by the media. It is also the case that on the other side of the coin us men get belted with perfectionism via other peoples values. I am not trying to win points for either side here, merely drawing your attention to the fact that our health is suffering as a whole from ridiculous stereotypes of what we should and should not be.
While women are made to feel, quite ridiculously, inadequate by some magazines and television programs, men are now not off the radar. You only have to look at headlines for popular magazines. “Who is your girl’s back-up plan?” “Five Pounds Of Muscle in A Month – Pack on lean mass fast with these eight essential bulking strategies “ These are just two headlines from popular men’s “fitness” mags.
The first is reeling us in as it is insinuating that your partner has someone “in case” things go south. I’m sorry trying to point out that someone is inadequate is not the best way to get them to exercise and be healthy. It is creating anxiety in the readers mind. It even suggests that married women are more likely to have a backup plan. I’m sorry this is crap. If you are married and your wife has a backup plan then the two of you have deeper issues than you getting fit. It is just a rubbish anxiety ridden article to get you feeling guilty and then maybe you will want to do what the second headline says.
Alright 5 pounds in a month. Or 2.28kgs in metric. Now I want to ask you one simple little question. Why do you want to add that sort of mass to your frame? I am now constantly hearing from younger males, “I want to be bigger!” Again I ask WHY??? If you cannot answer me with a well thought out and reasoned answer, then I will suggest to you that wanting to get bigger is someone else’s value being placed on you. Needing to bulk up to fight in a heavier category, lift in a weightlifting comp in a heavier category and lift more, compete in a heavier category in bodybuilding are all reasons for getting bigger. Anything else is bullshit. Look I get it as much as anyone that lean mass gives you a faster metabolism and that you are then healthier. But more isn’t always better. Can you afford to buy more food, fruit and vegetables, meat, supplements? Yes extra muscle mass is expensive, to grow it and then to maintain it.
We are now bombarded with images of ripped 6 packs and broad shoulders telling us this is the ideal male, and so we men are now slavishly following what we are being fed by magazines and television that is the image of the perfect male. “If I was a bit bigger I’d be happy, if I had the 6 pack I’d be happier”. The thing is if you are going out, and drinking or eating all the wrong foods, then you are telling me with your actions that the ideal physique you claim to want, is someone else’s value being pressed onto you. To grow, you must be disciplined, you don’t walk past a set of dumbbells and “presto!” you are the non-green version of the Incredible Hulk. And you especially have to be disciplined with your nutrition.
The main thing I am getting at here is do not let anyone else dictate your fitness and health goals, men and women alike, comments from friends saying things like “you look great you don’t need to go the gym anymore” tell me more about them than they do about you. The biggest point is that they have a belief that you are going to the gym to look a certain way, that is utter bullshit, if you are going to the gym for looks you are not doing it for the right reasons. You are doing it to appease someone else.
Focus on your health and wellbeing and you will find that motivation is better. You will also find that by focusing on the process, you will start to look a whole lot better in the mirror. You will be more accepting of who you are and as time goes by you will become a leaner, stronger, fitter version of yourself. And you know what? It isn’t perfect, nor will it ever be. The only men that can look like a Brad Pitt or a Ryan Reynolds is Brad Pitt or Ryan Reynolds. Your genetics are different to theirs. But that is life, there never is a perfect, but if you perceive and view yourself through a kinder light, and see that you look like the best version of yourself, you will find that you will hit all your goals and more.