Have a serious think about why you’re training, and be honest. I did this recently myself and questioned some of the practices I partake in and the reasons I do them.
I read a book recently by Harrison.G Pope called ‘The Adonis complex’ which looks into the unhealthy relationships we increasingly have with food, exercise and our body image. It was a bit of an eye opener in terms of statistics but the gist of the book was unsurprising and something I’ve picked up on myself when looking at other peoples behaviors.
Many people have unhealthy obsessions with exercise. It seems to be the younger generation’s thing to be obsessed with the way you look (under 30’s?) and more and more emphasis goes into body image and seeking the approval of others. Simultaneously there is less importance on ethics, morals and being a good human being. It’s likely due to the media constantly trying to sell us shit that we don’t need and this usually involves sham sales tactics of creating an insecurity in people in order to make them buy something. A man should look like this, a women should look like this….and this product will help you achieve it. You get the idea.
It’s all about social media these days, being seen in a certain light by your friends (and strangers) and sticking half naked selfies all over the internet in order to gain the approval from others you so badly need to pour water on the flames of truth that you’re likely insecure for some reason or another. I’ll probably get flamed by the naked selfie brigade here screaming “we’re not insecure”…..sorry but however much you say you’re not, you are! Progress photos are great for monitoring improvements but ask yourself why are you sharing these with the whole world on a daily/weekly basis.
I’m pretty sure my dad, my granddad and most other guys of that age couldn’t give two shits about having a six pack or spending 1-2 hours a day working out and missing their family time to get that 17 inch arm to show off on Twitter and Facebook. But then advertising was less aggressive towards these things back then and the big corporations hadn’t then figured out they could manipulate people by playing on physical insecurity (that they created) I guess.
How do you know you have an unhealthy relationship with your body image and/or food?
- Do you miss social events with friends and family because you have to ‘make the gym’ or train?
- Avoid eating out with friends and family to avoid ‘ruining your macros for the day’
- Constantly post half naked selfies on the internet
- Worry regularly what other people think of your body
- Weigh every single food item you eat and spend large amounts of your time worrying about macros and calorie counts
- Waste huge amounts of your time training for aesthetic reasons, as above these may interfere with your normal life.
Some of the above points are not always unhealthy. For example an athlete training for an event may be careful and very particular leading up to an event etc. Also note that I’m not suggesting that healthy habits and training hard is wrong, it’s absolutely a good thing but there is a line. More importantly is the reasons why you’re training.
What are good reasons to be training or being very anal about things?
Not many but here are a few-
- You are a complete fat fuck and should lose some weight in order to maintain health and longevity
- You have some type of metabolic disease that would benefit from strict dietary intake and exercise
That’s about it and arguably even in these situations there is no need for total obsession
So what should training be about?
- Health- Weight training is excellent to improve and maintain all health markers
- Living a longer functional life- Wouldn’t it be good if we could all get out of bed, walk and do normal stuff in our 80’s or 90’s?
- Training for your sport or hobby
- Keeping in shape for YOURSELF and not everyone else (so long as it avoids many of the unhealthy points raised previously)
- Enjoyment of setting goals and achieving them
- Being the best version of yourself (not aspiring to something unachievable like the pipe dream that is sold to you in the magazines and advertisements)