Today I’m going to introduce you all to a really sad truth.
Most people begin going to the gym in order to change their physical appearance because they don’t like how they look.
The majority of people ultimately fail in this goal for a number of reasons but that isn’t the sad truth I’m talking about. Today for a change I’m going to talk about the small percentage of people that do succeed.
You see, whether you realise it or not it’s these people who do succeed that ultimately end up stuck in a vicious circle that if isn’t addressed can play havoc with their mental well being.
I’ll start with a little series of events to set the scene. At the start of their journey someone decides that for whatever reason they want to improve their body. This can be brought about by a multitude of factors but for whatever reason they’ve decided they aren’t happy.
Once they’ve made this decision to change they set about looking for gyms, personal trainers, classes whatever.
Eventually they find something that suits them and they begin. Initially progress will be slow and they’ll be frustrated but because I’m talking about the people that do succeed here they continue on through this initial period and after say 6 months they’ve made huge progress.
They’ve lost a load of weight, their clothes feel better and they feel really motivated. At this point it’s become a lifestyle change and not just a short term fix.
However, over the next 6 months they continue to progress but become frustrated that their progress has slowed from what it was when they were a beginner. Obviously; it can’t continue at that pace forever.
Anyway. fast forward another 6 month and they are in the best shape they’ve ever been in or have been in for a considerable amount of time however, they aren’t happy anymore. They want more.
Another 6 month goes by and we start to have problems. Despite continuing to progress they’re more miserable than they were when they started. They pick fault with every aspect of their body, more than they did even before they entered a gym and certainly more than they did after that first successful few month.
They’re relentless in their pursuit of finding their own flaws and the fact that they look the best they ever have almost seems irrelevant. It seems now their initial goal of looking good isn’t enough. Now they have a new goal, an impossible goal, one that can never be reached because it doesn’t exist.
We are less than two years into this journey and despite looking better, being healthier and achieving results they would have bitten your hand off for two year ago their mental health is at an all time low and they are more self conscious and concerned about their body than ever before.
This all might sound completely alien to anyone who is at the start of this cycle and it’s likely the people I’m talking about probably don’t even realise it themselves but it is very much a reality.
The people you all look at for inspiration might have great physiques but they suffer from this as well. In fact body dysmorphia is far more likely to occur within people who are at the the very end of the spectrum than at the beginning. Only nobody talks about about it.
These people have a constant need for re-affirmation and the pictures you all look towards for motivation are nothing more than them masking their own insecurities with Instagram likes and a false smile.
I know this is on the extreme side of things but when it’s these very people that the average person looks towards for inspiration on how to live their life then it’s important we are honest about it.
I’m not trying to put these people down, I am however trying to highlight a very real phenomena. It’s genuinely sad seeing people in great physical condition being so damn harsh on themselves and never being able to appreciate just how good they actually look.
Chasing a better physique is a never ending race and it seems the closer you get to the finish line the further away you feel and if you think about it this kind of takes away the whole point of starting in the first place. Especially when most people’s reason for starting is to feel better about themselves.
Life is all about balance you see and any goal we pursue needs to remain relative to the reasons we started to pursue it in the first place.
The goal for anyone aspiring to improve their physique needs to be on creating a physique that they are proud of and that gives them confidence but without developing the insatiable narcissism that seems to go along with it.
I’m not trying to discourage people from changing themselves. How could I?
But it is important you maintain perspective when doing so and that you don’t allow it to take over and create unbalance in your life.
Training should be a positive addition to your quality of life not something that takes away from it. By all means have goals but don’t allow them to take over your life and define who you are and how you feel. You’re better than that.
The reality of it is simple, really simple, it’s just not that important! Believe it or not but you’re actually the only person that cares how you look. As long as you’re fit and healthy being happy is far more important than trying to be perfect.
Set goals, stay positive, always appreciate your progress and never ever allow it become detrimental to your mental well being.