Women are not the only ones who suffer from the negative self image induced by mainstream fitness media. Men are constantly involved in a testosterone raged competition among themselves, whether we readily recognize it or not.
Some advice my father shared with my chubby, weak, 12 year old self did not seem relative at the time, but ever since it became applicable I have never forgotten the words he shared. He told me that “once you start lifting weights there will never be enough. You will never be big enough, or strong enough.” We have a tendency to want to be the best, strongest, biggest, fastest, and our point of reference rarely seems to stem from our own accomplishments, but more so what others are able to achieve.
While this competition can be a healthy means of motivation to push harder, following what others do is not always the best course of action for our own lives. We need to realize that we are not these celebrities, fitness models, or power-lifters, and that our achievements come in our own way. Performing the same program that Flex Lewis follows does not translate into looking like Flex Lewis. We all have unique strengths and weaknesses, and our overload needs to be specific to our unique needs.
I absolutely by no means want to insinuate that we can not make things same remarkable achievements in our own life. This is no excuse to whine about Photoshop. Anything is possible if you work hard, stay focused, and educate yourself properly. My intentions with this post are to remind us to overload ourselves appropriately, according to our needs and abilities.
For the beginning lifter it is especially important to remember to build from the fundamentals. We may be all fired up after reading a bodybuilder’s workout routine from a popular fitness publication, but is that the appropriate starting point for the long term sedentary? We may be tempted to scoff at the condescending, Do you event lift, bro? and run into the gym to bench, deadlift, or squat, as much weight as we can possibly muster. But in an attempt to “get swole” are we heaving our way into a hernia? Do we have the appropriate stability and mobility to perform these movements correctly? There is nothing impressive about lower back injuries, or self induced lack of gains due to over-training. If you want to squat heavy, make sure you have the proper base to build from, and progress from there.
We might believe the road to swole is through that “most intense workout of 2014″ you read in Men’s Health, but take the advice in its appropriate context. Forget the vanity and perform some bodyweight movements, if that’s what you need. Progression is individualized, and while it might not look cool to squat the bar, if we build from the basics our advanced movements will come.