Okay, this is one of my all time favorites — something that I could write about all day long — and a topic guaranteed to strike at the very core of what most folks believe fitness is all about. Grab a cold one, and enjoy.
Most of us, if not all been taught from a very young age that fitness means the “look” (and not the other way around). You can only be fit if you have unnatural “cuts” and “dents” (termed as a six pack or eight pack in common parlance) all over your abdomen. Call yourself strong? How dare you do so — I don’t see the veins throbbing in your biceps as you type! And so forth.
The modern fitness scene doesn’t do much to de-bunk this theory either — name a fitness product, and you’ll likely have folks advertising that product showing off their “toned biceps”, “eight packs”, or “shredded delts”, promising you much the same effect.
Never mind the fact that these good folks (the models) have likely never even USED the product they’re advertising — but hey, that line of thinking requires too much though — easier to just gape at the six pack and go with the flow, eh.
I cringe every time I see one of these pictures — and it’s not because I have something against six packs or eight packs — I don’t. I’ve never had one myself even when I was a skinny runt back in high school, and I’ve never particularly wanted to either, but for those who do — well, have at.
But what I DO have an issue with is the image this sort of thing sends out to other people — in short, the look determining how fit you are — when it really should be the other way around.
I could go on and on about just how stupid this theory is, but here’s an example from real life — I can myself lug an awkward, hard to grip 40 lb or so cylinder (cooking gas cylinder) up three flights of stairs without shifting the cylinder from one arm to the other.
Sounds easy, right?
Well, the guy that delivers it to our house (we don’t have piped gas where I live right now) is the epitome of “fitness” as is commonly spoken about — he’s got like zero body fat, and you can see the veins throbbing all over his arms and shoulders — yet he can’t even lift off the ground with one hand, instead preferring to hoist it on his back and slowly make his way up the stairs.
Nothing wrong with that of course, but isn’t an arm with throbbing veins, pulsating muscles, and all the other junkola they speak about it in fitness mags supposed to be stronger than mine?
And this isn’t just about lugging heavy stuff up stairs — I’ve lifted weights many a times that folks claim are “quite heavy”, and have done so with ease despite the fact I’ve NEVER trained with weights in my life. How can that be?
Second, remember that six packs and the lot are mostly products of GOOD genetics and super strict dieting. You might see the Budweiser model chugging beers on the beach on TV, but check out what his diet looks like in real life — and you’d be stunned. Ditto for all the movie stars that have the “look” and starve themselves to get there — strength and fitness wouldn’t necessarily be associated with these good folks either.
Third, let’s talk flexibility and strength — combined in ONE super package. The picture up there shows me doing a one arm gymnastic bridge.
Do you think most “meatheads” and those with “ripped” midsections “built” (there is a reason I used quotes there!) with crunches galore could even GET into position — — let alone hold — — with ONE arm?
Nah. I didn’t think so!
Now, note that none of this is about lugging around excess fat on your body — that is never a good thing — but judging someone’s levels of strength and fitness on the basis of six packs (or the like) is just flat out STUPID. The old time strongmen didn’t have six packs, but they could perform feats of strength that would be hard to duplicate even today. Swimmers have six packs — but that look is a by-product of all the training they do in the water. And so forth.
Anyway, I could write volumes here, but I’m pretty sure it won’t do much to dispel the myth — and if you choose not to listen to what I’m saying, I have no problem with it. Your life, your body, your choice.
On the other hand, if you DO decide to give it a thought and go in for REAL strength, health and fitness — well, I’m here for ya!
Off for now — back again later. If you work out today, make it the best!
P.S. — By the way, there’s nothing essentially WRONG with having a ripped midsection either — — it’s just not “the be all and end all” it’s always referred to as. But yes — it does look good — and if you train right — — you’ll get more than “ripped abs”. You’ll get a CORE that looks and FEELS like it’s made of steel — — a core that withstand hard punches just as easily as it will elbows “unknowingly” ramming into (that happened to me once in Shenzhen, and it felt like a stone bouncing off a wall to be honest) — — and so forth. And if THAT sounds good — — well — — my latest course Corrugated Core is bound to be up your alley — — and it’s available right here — http://0excusesfitness.com/corrugated-core/