How many times have you thought, “I wish I looked like that”? One minute you’re happy in your own skin, then suddenly you’ll see ripped 6-pack abs and big peachy bums on your timeline and you start thinking about how horrible your body looks.
Lets be really honest here. If you are lifting weights to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Crossfit games champion Katrín Davíðsdóttir, don’t bother. If you have a picture of Jen Selter pinned to your fridge with her perfectly toned bum as your weight loss motivation and you want to look exactly like her, you’re wasting your time. By all means, use these people as inspiration to get in the gym everyday, but I am sorry, you’re never going to look like that. I am just as guilty. I had a picture saved on my phone I saw in Muscle & Fitness Magazine and for a good year I thought, “THAT is how I’m going to look.” It wasn’t and I was lying to myself.
I am not taking away the hard work and dedication that people like Schwarzenegger and Davíðsdóttir put in to their training over the years, but this is where genetics plays a huge role. They are genetic freaks. Look at pictures of Arnold from when he was just seventeen years old. He has more muscle mass there than I will ever have (we won’t mention the ‘questionable’ supplements he was probably taking too).
We have to be realistic, but in today’s society where social media makes us all look happy and beautiful, the truth is hard to swallow. So how do genetics affect it all?
If you had one hundred people all follow the same weight loss diet and training plan for one year, the results would vary for every person that followed it. Your genetics determines how quickly you can put on muscle mass and how quickly you can drop body fat. Your body decides where you hold on to body fat and where it will be lost from first. Your mate Dave might have a perfect six-pack yet only performs ten sit-ups a week. You might need to do a hundred sit-ups every day to get abs only half as good as Dave. Jen Selter is blessed with a lovely bum. I’m not saying she doesn’t work very hard to maintain its…perkiness, but she also has a genetic gift that she is utilising. We need to stop chasing the unachievable. The faster we realise this, the happier we will all become.
Life is tough enough without knocking yourself back for not looking like someone else. Here are a few tips to break the cycle:
- As soon as you realise you are starting to make these physical comparisons to other people, close down your phone or computer and take a moment. Acknowledge the thought, tell yourself to “stop” and then move on.
- Focus on your good bits. Rather than picking on your faults and imperfections, focus on what makes you awesome.
- Realise that no one is perfect. These images we see are a snapshot image, possibly photoshopped with professional lighting, of one moment in time that someone is looking their best. No one looks like that all the time, so stop comparing your everyday to someone else’s highlight reel.
- Focus on your journey. Focus on how far you’ve come and what you are aiming for. Lost a lot of weight but you don’t have those bulging biceps yet that you see so frequently on social media? Who cares? You’ve improved your health through your weight loss and you look great! I’m sure there are thousands of people who would love to have the body you own.
So do we have our genetics to blame for the way we look? Nope. We have them to thank for making us all unique.