Because you’re reading this first paragraph after seeing the ridiculous headline, I’m assuming you’re familiar with internet fitness terms. That indicates that you’ve come across multiple fitness blogs, videos or photos (and if I’m your first, I’ll try to be extra gentle).
You know, those videos of guys that make look one-arm handstands easy or do crazy back-flipping stunts or girls with their gym selfies and of course meat heads and their creepy bathroom mirror selfies.
Social media is full of this stuff. And I’m contributing to it, too (now that I mention it, you can even follow me or like Neat Strength 😉 ). And these media inputs can be super inspiring and helpful. I know my bathroom time got a hell lot more entertaining since the rise of Instagram.
There’s one problem though. All of this stuff is crying for our attention and we’re not only letting it in, we’re consuming it like an all-you-can-eat buffet. And even if we exclude ourselves from this type of media, there is no opt-out option for the omnipresent display of photoshopped, unrealistic beauty. Just think about your work commute: I guarantee you there is at least one picture of a way too pretty face smiling at you from an advertising poster.
Other examples are movies and TV shows. Every TV show is full of beautiful actresses and handsome actors. In Hollywood, it has become the standard procedure for main actors to undergo a strict bodybuilding routine and diet prior to a movie. The internet is full of workouts and special diets inspired by these super intense (and rarely healthy) body transformations.
Why is this bad? It fucks with the way you look at yourself. You look at all those perfect faces and bodies, ripped and toned and vibrant looking. The next moment, you’re standing in front of the bathroom mirror. The cold light of the mirror LEDs shines down on you. You lift your shirt and desperately squeeze your abs to make it look at least remotely similar to the pictures you saw on TV.
Inceptioned by this false self-image, you look around the internet and search for “fastest way to get ripped” or “30 days to summer abs” and then you discover “paleo” or “the zone diet”.
While some of this info is provided with good intentions, a vast majority doesn’t want you to squeeze your abs but to squeeze your wallet. And even if you use the abundance of free info that is available, you’re running in place. Your exercise routine – if you can even call it a routine – has no consistency because you are drowning in all the conflicting advice you’re bombarded with.
Not even is this is no fun anymore, it is ineffective. The problem with fitness and results is similar to boiling water: When you watch the kettle, it seems to take ages to get to a boil. At some point you start to wonder: “Maybe the other heating plate is faster than the one I’m using right now?”
Then you take off the kettle from the plate that has been just warming up and start over with the new, still cold heating plate. No reasonable person does this. Most people put the kettle on and do something else until they hear it boiling.
That something else is called living. That includes being content with who you are and how you look. It means chilling and not feeling guilty on your rest day. It means not counting calories and rather having that night out with your friends or a luxurious, home-cooked meal. It is spending quality time with your friends and loved ones.
Our lives are too short to make our aesthetics the center point of our attention. Picture yourself on your deathbed. Which of these regrets would be worse: Not having achieved a movie star physique or not having spent enough time with friends and family?