“I look the way I do because of what I do.”
Then someone does a backflip into a body weight snatch. Cool as shit. I’m impressed every time.
But, when we roll out this message to someone in the general population it makes health and fitness seem unattainable. When we post this on social media, it will get a lot of views, likes, and perhaps boost our egos, but does it help others?
I’ve put out content like this. I completely get it. You want to be jacked? Power clean woolly mammoths and lift all the weights well, and then video yourself doing it so you can critique and track progress.
But is it really the case that we look the way we do because of the athletic activities we pursue?
Does a dancer look like a dancer because he/she dances?
Does a gymnast?
Does a yogi?
Does a swimmer?
Does a powerlifter?
Does a pole vaulter?
Does a 200-meter sprinter?
Or were they preselected because of their anthropometrics, genetics, predisposition, and the entire social and physical constructs of their upbringing?
What is the common denominator of all of these “looks” from the sculpted shoulders of a gymnast on the high bar to the flowing muscles of a dancer as they spin gracefully across a wooden floor?
People found something they loved and put in enormous amounts effort over time.
Let that be the message that emanates from your interactions with other human beings in this fitness world.
Now consider the opposite, someone has been told their entire lives that they are unathletic, unworthy of movement. They never found something physical that they loved to do. In turn, this means their cerebellum and motor cortex have likely atrophied and are definitely less developed. So, now they are even more uncoordinated and cannot move their body well through space.
They see a backflip snatch video and think, “I will never be able to do that. I will never look like that.” And inaction is perpetuated.
It’s unattainable. When really basic movement patterns and insane amounts of strength and fitness are within all of our grasps…if we put in the effort.
Someone is not going to become a world record lifter or gold medalist gymnast in their 30s, but they could become an intermediate or even advanced lifter and they very well could master a ton of gymnastic skills.
Don’t put fitness on a pedestal.
Congratulate and reward effort over results.
Find out what someone loves to do and don’t belittle it – run with it.
I look the way I do because I LOVE to lift and have since I was 12 or 13. I look the way I do because I sleep 8 to 9 hours a night and consume ungodly amounts of vegetables. I also look the way I do because I enjoy cooking, eating, and laughing with my wife and friends. I look the way I do because I walk every day, sometimes with the puppies, sometimes alone. I look the way I do because I spend hours upon hours every day researching, writing, and reading.
Why do you look the way you look?
What habits can you change?
Where can you put in the least amount of effort to reap the largest reward?
Only you can answer these questions, but if you haven’t moved in a few decades you will likely need some help…but don’t select someone based on their proficiency in backflip snatches.
Select them because they make you feel safe.
Because they make you want to come back to learn more and to move more.
And because they ask you what you love and really listen.