My social media accounts have recently been flooded with fitness health figures from both genders advocating a healthy lifestyle. Get ripped, get tanned, be smiling, work hard, lift hard, drink protein shakes from such and such brands, be a natural vegan bodybuilder, move functionnally, etc.
Their mission: taking a stand to inspire people.
Granted, more than a growing trend, I believe this a result from my own research and browsing activity on the web.
While taking a stand for your fellowmen to improve their lives is commendable, some pitfalls blatantly result from this approach – and it wouldn’t be such a concern to me if I weren’t seeing on a weekly basis people preaching it or making questionable lifestyle choices in the name of it.
Here’s in 7 words the summary of my humble opinion on it:
Aesthetics are not a reflect of health.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room:
A healthy body generally produces a decent physique.
A good physique is not necessarily a product of a healthy lifestyle.
And yet, so many people following the fitness public people assume – or delude themselves into believing – that good physique equals healthy body. This smells like some form of inductive reasoning. Horseshit, if you prefer.
So, when you read claim that you will get healthier by doing such workout and eating such supplement, and the proof for it is a given physique – switch on your BS detector. The person is not necessarily trying to lure you. Some of them are genuine, others have fallen into the induction trap – and chances are you can’t make the distinction between the two.
I’m not putting this on them. I’m putting it on us – the followers.
Public figures will claim whatever they want to, and we can only assume they have the best intentions. It’s your responsibility to make choices for your own life out of it and own them.
Mind you, I am not discarding the scientific evidence that our natural preferences for healthy bodies could be an ingrained behavior that links attractiveness and health in order to maximise the transmission of our genes as a species.
I am merely suggesting that in our day and age we have pushed aesthetics so far as a concern that this relationship does not apply to this extent anymore.
Let me rephrase this:
Veins on the stomach does not equal healthy.
5% lean body mass does not equal healthy.
A bigger upperbody does not equal healthy.
Having a leaner or more ripped physique than the one you have does not mean being healthier than you are.
AND, it does not mean the contrary (unhealthy) either, and that’s the catch.
Open your IG account.You will find OK looking people that have the healthiest lifestyle to their knowledge, and ripped and more attractive bodies which have been obtained through a questionable diet and exercise. And in between you will find excellent and healthy physiques, and even uninspiring but healthy bodies!
More shades of grey than we would like there to be, right ?
Hold on, but who the fuck am I to judge such diet and such workout as being unhealthy?
Thanks for asking. This is in essence the prelude to a much more interesting question to look at your choices with:
What is your criteria of evaluation for health?
Is it aesthetics? Strength? Mobility? Diet choices? Bowel movements?
Mine gravitate around nutrition, adequate supplementation, sleep, stress-levels, ROM and levels of physical activity.
I’m not saying they are the gospel, nor am I anywhere close to be the healthiest version of myself.
But at least I know what health means to me.
And therefore, every time I am having a tantrum about how much more ripped I’d like to be, I know that this is not coming from the place of health – but probably self-image.
Once you know what health means to you, you can segregate in your mind the actions you take in order to be healthy, and the actions you take in order to look good, and stop bullshiting yourself and others about it.
Which naturally leads me to my second question:
What do you really want?
Now that you are not deluding yourself into claiming that you all you want is being healthy (when was the last time you had a blood test done in that regards?), maybe you can actually see that what you want is a good physique, or a healthy body, or a mixture of both.
See, I’m not judging anyone who is aesthetics-oriented anymore. Many of us are to some extent in the same boat, and even the hardcore bodybuilders have their own reasons to breathe aesthetics.
I’d like to invite you to ponder you main concern when it comes to health and aesthetics, because the more clarity you get, the more efficient your actions, and the more present you will be to who you decide to be.
PS: As always, despite how it may land, my intention is to widen the scope of the conversation, not to be righteous – this is merely the transcript of a conversation I’d have liked to have with my younger self.