by Matt Weik
I can’t help but start singing Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror lyrics every time I look at this title. Some of the lyrics in the song even apply to this article. Don’t know the lyrics? I highly recommend you either Google the lyrics or the song itself and give it a listen. If you lift weights to change your physique and build your body, then it’s safe to call yourself a “bodybuilder”. I know what you’re thinking… “But Matt, I look nothing like the bodybuilders I see in magazines or on stage.” It’s cool, neither do I, but if you are lifting weights in such a way to enhance muscle development and hypertrophy, then you’re a bodybuilder—congrats. Now, with that being said, let’s talk about the comment, “I don’t look like the guys in magazines or on stage.”
It’s not for everyone
To be totally honest, to look like the guys on stage and in magazines takes YEARS of heavy weight training, clean diet, and 100% dedication to the sport. Most people do not have the means to combine all of those pieces due to their career, family, time limitations, etc. Yes, we all get to the gym and fit in our workouts but the commitment needed to achieve a physique of that level is one that many still wouldn’t achieve even if they had the time. Genetics play a huge roll in bodybuilding, as well as the elephant in the room—drugs. There are some professional bodybuilders who were scrawny as a teenager, many of them at least were fairly ripped for their age, with great definition and a six-pack that made all the teeny boppers mouths drop. Then you had the teenage ox’s who grew up on farms and in other labor intensive families who got a leg up on the competition due to how much “work” they had to do at home and on their property.
You vs. You
The real question comes down to why do you want to look like a certain person? Why not look like the best YOU that you can attain? Stop looking at what’s on stage and in magazines and start looking at the man in the mirror. Make the person you see in the mirror better every day. Your focus should be you versus you. Many competitors share that very motto. They aren’t worried about the package other competitors bring to the stage. Bring the best package to the stage that you can attain if you wish to compete or bring the best you on a day to day basis. Strive for greatness within yourself, don’t worry about what others are doing or looking like. Strive to improve one aspect of your physique every week. Either tighten up your diet to drop unwanted body fat, or strive to put on lean muscle mass—no matter the option, make it about YOU, not THEM.
Not everything is what it appears
You also have to remember that much of what you see in magazines today has been edited, touched up, Photoshopped, etc. In essence, it’s fake. I know I’ve touched on this in other articles that I wrote (Adobe Gains and other articles) that talk about the things people are doing in the industry to get sponsorship’s and gain new business. So even those individuals don’t look like that in real life. They have flaws, they have blemishes, they don’t necessarily have perfect muscle bellies and definition, it’s all enhanced due to digital editing software. How can anyone be proud of their physique and how far they have come if you have to digitally enhance yourself to look a certain way? How can you sleep at night knowing that you are a fake and taking people’s money because they believe working with you they too can achieve that type of physique? There’s a reason you never see these people out and about at shows and events, because it would blow their cover. What’s even more funny is that some of these people put out videos of them lifting and in their videos it shows all of their flaws, lack of musculature, etc. You are left scratching your head if you pick up on it and wonder how they look one way in their video and totally different in their pictures. So again I go back to, stop looking in magazines, on stage, or YouTube for physiques you wish to attain, use the mirror.
It’s not a race
Another recommendation is taking pictures. You see yourself every day, the same goes for your spouse or significant other (or parents if you live at home). Pictures will be a true timestamp of your progress over time. While you might not see any changes in the mirror due to seeing yourself every day, comparing photos you’ve taken can tell a totally different story. You could have made considerable changes without really noticing. When you take pictures, try to use the same lighting, the same background, the same clothing (or similar—don’t wear baggy clothes in one and tight in the other), the same time of day, the same camera, the same distance from the camera, and the same poses. This will allow you to attain a TRUE timeline of your progress. Keep it as consistent as you can so there aren’t variables that come into play when you’re comparing the photos. This is not a race, you will not get the physique you envision overnight, it will take time.
Many people get frustrated when they aren’t getting the results they want quickly. Our bodies simply aren’t programmed that way to allow us to make changes quickly. So don’t get frustrated. Have fun with the process. If you can’t laugh a little, then you’re taking things way too seriously and you need to take a step back and evaluate if this is something you really want to do and if you’re doing it for the right reasons. Laugh with your buddies at the gym. Enjoy the workouts. Push yourself to hit PR’s. Challenge yourself every day in the gym to better yourself and progress with your weights. Sure, there will be days that you simply don’t want to workout, but those are the days that make you stronger for pushing yourself to get in the gym and get it done. Enjoy the process and what your body progress over time. It’s you vs you. Either you win or lose. Either way, it’s totally your decision of what the outcome is.