The holiday season is officially upon us, summer is officially over and for some, this comes as a relief. For others (like me) it marks the end of our favorite season. The kids are out of the house and back in school. Football is back in full swing and the temps are starting to come back down which means there is no need to worry about how the bathing suit fits for another 7 months or so. Somebody cue up the Kool & The Gang!!
Every year when we transition in and out of summer I am always fascinated with the obsession around the bathing suit. With people across the nation fretting over the concept of the ideal body I want to ask you, What’s your ideal body?
Who do you spend your time looking at? For some it is the models on the cover of the magazines. Others, it is the folks that they see in the gym every day, you know the ones that seem to literally live there. For me, it is the fighters who train their body to sustain an abuse that I hope you and I never know that I look at the most. It is an image that I probably should not be so focused on but we are all friends here so I’ll put it out there.
I spend A LOT of time paying attention to the fighters. Their training techniques. Fight results and the news reports around the fights. These athletes are fittest of the fit. They have a body fat % that can be measured in the single digits, they train up to 4 times a day and have positioned their bodies to withstand the most abusive physical demands you can imagine. And yet somehow they are my benchmark.
I have a problem….
When it comes to body image, I have always said I have one particular goal. I simply want to fill out a T-Shirt well. I don’t want to be huge but I want to be fit……and then I watch a UFC fight. These guys are in the prime shape of their lives. Other than the heavyweights, I would guess that the average body fat % is about 7%. Tack on 2 – 4 weeks of weight cutting (read: losing up to 25 lbs and dehydrating themselves to the brink of death) and these modern day gladiators present a statute that is completely impossible to keep, even for them. Doesn’t mean that I still don’t have that mental image in my head every time I run, lift, roll or step on the mat…and it is not healthy.
The reality is I am a 43 year old man who will never step foot inside an Octagon.
Sure, I spar. I roll. I train but I am never going to test myself the way these athletes do. I am also not on the variety of performance enhancing drugs/supplements that these athletes are. There is literally no way I can achieve the standard they set. However I still regularly find myself trying to.
- I don’t have the testosterone level they do.
- I don’t have the time to train multiple sessions a day
- I am not dedicated to that purpose
- It is not my profession…………but yet I still compare myself to these professional athletes who train for a living.
I think I finally know what girls and women around the world have been dealing with for decades. How can we possibly achieve the standards we see in the media (even without the prolific airbrushing)? We can’t. The standards are not realistic and we are picturing the top .001% of the population (probably even more remote than that but still…..) as the ‘standard’. So give yourself a new standard to measure yourself against.
Measure your future self against your current self. The only one you are in competition with is yourself. Simply be better tomorrow than you are today. That is the gold standard.