We have all seen the physiques presented on the covers and pages of fitness magazines. The rise of physique classes at bodybuilding shows has proved the popularity of a leaner, less extreme body shape that appears more attainable and, for many, preferable. These images have almost become the norm in Hollywood films, especially with the rise of the superhero movie franchises. But are these physiques a realistic goal for the majority of people?
The desire to train our bodies to look a certain way can become all-consuming. If our bodies do not match up to the goals that we have given ourselves, this can lead to stress and even depression.
It must be remembered that when an athlete is training for an event, they train to peak right at the time of the event. This is even more extreme in the fitness world where competitors will diet and train in order to look their best over a weekend competition, or for a particular photo shoot. Similarly, Hollywood actors know when they will be showing the most skin on screen and prepare for that particular day of filming.
Now I’m not saying that the rest of the year these people look fat or even out of shape, but no one can be at their peak all year round.
However, I do not think that everyday gym-goers should regard the physiques that we see on screen and in print as unattainable. Sure, you might not look that great all year round but it gives you something to aim for. That’s the purpose of a goal, you aim for it. Better to aim high and make serious changes than to aim low and not see any difference at all.
So, in answer to my question – I think it’s a yes and no scenario. Yes, you cannot be in peak physical condition all year round. At the same time, No, these physiques aren’t unattainable. They are unsustainable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t remain lean and fit throughout the year and train to hit your peak at some point. The most important thing, in my opinion, when choosing a goal is to be realistic. It won’t happen overnight, reaching your goals will take time and hard work. But then, it wouldn’t be fun if there wasn’t some effort involved!