A Better Beauty…

A Better Beauty…

“We should all look a little different… because we are.” – Geoff Thompson

We all want to look better!  There is an ideal I suppose, and naturally, we would like to have it.  We see the fitness magazines and we see the bodybuilding competitions and many of us go, “I wish I could look like that!”  I suppose it is both normal and natural for many of us to fall into such traps.  I have had clients in the past want the “long, lean” look or want to look like a swimmer, or look like some other body type.  In this post I really want to stress how important your genetics play, not to make it an excuse for why you may never look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sofia Vergara, but to help so many of us recognize that we can achieve our true potential and not allow ourselves to be limited or disappointed because we do not fit an ideal we may have in our minds.  Rather, it is to say that in the pursuit of true health, fitness, and good nutrition, you can really be something spectacular!  Going back to the swimmer is a great example of what I mean.  Someone watches the finals from the 2012 Olympics and goes, “you know something, those swimmers have great bodies.  I think I’ll start swimming and try and look like that.”  What they likely didn’t see was in the beginning rounds the number of very good swimmers, who don’t look like that.  By the time you get to the finals, you have a whole host of factors coming together to see what is the epitome of both training and genetic selection, which leads to these finalists all having the archetypal swimmer’s body.  This holds true in a whole array of athletics and sports competitions.  It’s why we have so many sports.  And why we have so many weight classes in many of those sports, such as boxing and wrestling.  Naturally, American football and rugby are great examples of the differences in body types, despite the fact that they all train pretty hard.  You have guys who are 6’5” and those who are 5’9”.  You have guys who can run 4.3 seconds, and those who run 5 seconds in the 40-yard dash.  There are athletes who might weigh 170 pounds and look like mini bodybuilders (Ben Johnson), and others who might weigh closer to 250 and won’t.  This is due to a whole array of genetic variance, and that’s okay!  In fact, that’s what we want from the perspective of the species; if we were all the same, our chance of survival as a species would be vastly limited.  Nature loves variety, and so should we!  It will be genetics that will determine how well you respond to training.  Some have a profile, which will allow them to grow a tremendous amount of muscle, but they may not be as strong as they look.  Others have a profile that allows them to gain immense amounts of strength, but they won’t build very much muscle.  Others will do both, and then there are some who just flat out don’t respond well to exercise at all.  Other factors include muscle shape and muscle and tendon attachments.  Some people have long muscles with short tendon attachments; others have short muscle bellies, with long tendon attachments.  Some simply have greater numbers of muscle fibers per muscle than others.  There are also somatotypes: ectomorphs, being on the smaller, leaner end of the scale; and mesomorphs, being at the other end of the spectrum, and having a thicker, boxier disposition. These are all factors which are involved.  None of these are bad, but quite often the trick is to, through some trial and error, find what your body type gravitates to and excels at the most.  With this can come tremendous success and confidence!  Lastly, your body will, within reason, respond to the demands and training protocols placed on it, and there are numerous approaches to training.  Bodybuilding, as a sport, uses a different approach to how they use resistance training than the way a powerlifter or Olympic lifter or sprinter will use resistance training.  Now, as much as I advocate High Intensity principles for every approach, a bodybuilder will be spending a great deal more time in front of the mirror practising posing and will be very strict during the cutting phase of his diet than the track athlete who will be spending his/her time on the track.  As a trainer myself, my strength and experience is not in ‘bodybuilding’ per se.  I can help beginners, but my true abilities and experience lead to helping people develop strength and conditioning and sports performance and, of course, overall health.  There is a difference, and the most important thing to realize is that exercise and training are very important, and it is definitely okay to have an idea of what you want before you start.  What I really want to stress is not to be let down or disappointed, but rather, be ecstatic when you start becoming the best version of you.  Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, says it quite well: It is about building a “better beauty.” With proper exercise and healthy food choices, you will be able to build the best you!


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