Note: take a look at some of the athletes in the slideshow below. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Why do we always seem to get this one wrong?
There are a ton of people out there who are living and training for the goal of looking like an athlete (or a bodybuilder, model, you name it). Nothin’ wrong with that. But it might not be the best approach. And just between you and me, I think they’ve got it totally backwards, especially since looks can be deceiving. So, here’s my solution.
Train like an athlete – or better yet, as an athlete – and as a natural side-effect, you’ll start to look like an athlete. You see, it’s a subtle change in how we say it, but it changes everything about how we do it.
So, if you want to look like a boxer, then stop kidding yourself with the bicep curls and bench press and join a boxing club. Go a few times a week and you’ll have a boxer’s physique in no time – and the busted up face to prove it.
But all kidding aside, if you’re training for the sole purpose of looking a certain way, then you might run into trouble. You see, you tend to run into problems whenever you put a physique goal before your health and mobility, among other things. But not only that, in my experience, the desire to look a certain way is not a very effective source of motivation for most people, especially after you’ve achieved your body transformation goal (i.e. you look great, so now what?). To put it bluntly, you’re going to need a more important reason than vanity to make this work over the long term – like being strong and capable for your loved ones, for example. The fact of the matter is that you have to figure out your Powerful Reasons Why you do this stuff (and will KEEP doing it!).
Maybe it’s as simple as you want to be the best ______ you can be (fill in the blank). And in order to do that, you’ll need some sort of catalyst or conduit in the form of physical training to make that happen (makes sense, right?). And if that’s the case, then my advice is to select a training goal that aligns with your interests and then get to work. As long as it’s very important to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
But here’s the thing: don’t just hope to look like someone who has already done the work. BE that someone doing the work and the looks will come along for the ride.
In other words, attack your goals directly. Focus on what’s important. Do what works. And then let the results speak for themselves. It’s important to know your end-goal, yes, but the most important thing you can do is to focus on the process of achieving it.
And the good news is that if you’re doing this right, then you won’t have to worry about physique goals ever again. That is, unless you actually are a physique athlete – a bodybuilder, figure competitor, etc. You’ll be so busy building your very own body of beautiful perfection – with all of the so-called imperfections that make you totally and wonderfully you. And you’ll be doing it without even trying – at least, not directly.
Oh, and by the way, in case nobody has told you lately… your value is not based on someone else’s idea of what’s attractive/ideal/beautiful/etc. (or even your idea!). So, please don’t base your self-image on someone else’s OPINION of your looks (or on societies opinion either). You don’t need the six pack abs, yadda yadda yadda. You just don’t. Also, not comparing yourself to professional athletes and never basing your expectations on what you see in advertisements might help, too. But that’s just common sense, right?
Take-home lesson: If you start thinking of yourself in a certain way, you might just start acting a certain way. So, train like an athlete to look like an athlete because you are an athlete. A very good-lookin’ athlete, I might add.
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Health-First Fitness Coach