It is what it is.

A man should look for “what is” and not for what he thinks “should be”. Every few years there tend to be a fitness craze that sweeps the nation that people will move towards. Many in today’s society are desperate for the next new thing or workout program that can finally make them lose the weight they struggled with getting off for so long. As nothing in life is free, they fork out their hard earned money and get on the latest fitness wagon.

Over the years I have heard a constant sentiment from people who partake in these fitness activities. When I ask about their satisfaction and results from their workout programs, they often say, they did not get the results they expected but “it’s fun and easy”. The human body improves by forcing it to change through challenging physical exercise along with proper nutrition and fun and easy don’t create that change most of the time.  You look at the shape and health they are in after years of doing the same fun workout programs, and it’s obvious that it’s not working for them, as they look the same as when they first started.  Why do the same things in regards to getting in shape and losing weight year in and year out and expect different results?

There is a belief by many that losing weight and getting in shape through diet and exercise should be fun and easy. Although making exercise fun is necessary for some when it comes to consistency, everything that is fun may not give you the results you are looking for. Losing weight and getting in shape is a simple concept, but is it easy? The truth is, it’s not easy. It takes hard work. Losing weight is about being in a calorie deficit. How many of us are willing to eat less for any length of time until we see our body fat percentage decrease? Shaping the body and improving overall fitness is about resistance training with a mix of cardiovascular work. How many of us are willing to add resistance training to the fun cardiovascular workouts  we already do? How many of us are willing to do more challenging cardiovascular work?

I often hear many complain that resistance training is boring and it’s hard, hence most travel the path of least resistance.  Anything worth having or accomplishing in life takes effort , hard work, and getting in shape and being healthy is no exception. True results exist outside your comfort zone. Do you want results you can see and feel or do you want to get better at doing fun fitness activities? You decide.

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The Golden Ratio

When we talk about losing weight or getting into shape, most of us have an ideal image of what that look is like. A little over a year ago I did an Adonis Index contest. It’s basically a men’s physique contest. The nice thing about that contest was the fact it was about the average guy trying to get into the best shape he can. We were not bodybuilders or athletes but just regular gym goers and fitness enthusiasts. I placed second in that contest.

While most of us have that ideal image we want for ourselves, often times we are not sure how to get there. We think maybe it’s just a matter of losing weight, or simply adding muscle. Although we maybe able to achieve these goals over time we may still be dissatisfied with our look. The truth of the matter is, these goals were not defined target goals to begin with. What we are after is actually the Golden Ratio. It is the shoulder to waist ratio of 1:1.618 for men. The same ratio applies to women, except they also have a height to waist and a waist to hip ratio to take into consideration.

The Golden Ratio is what most humans perceive as attractive. It’s like noticing someone in a crowd who just stands out simple because they look good. We may not be able to pin point what it is that makes that person stand out, but the truth is our eyes have a natural ability to recognize attractive bodies, objects, art and abstract elements. There in lies the Golden Ratio.

Although I was not the biggest guy in the contest, my ratio was approximately 1: 1.58 in those photos, which was good enough for a 2nd place finish. I am still a work in progress and hopefully one day I will hit my true Golden Ratio or get as close to it as possible. So the end game is about body proportions and not just bigger muscles, bigger size or extreme leanness. It’s a look that is just right.

Why do you want to lose weight?

I often hear people claim that they want to lose weight because they want to get healthy. While this is a commendable reason I know this is not the true reason most of us want to achieve this goal. I believe first and foremost most of us want to lose weight and get into better shape simply because we want to look good.

One of the benefits of getting into shape and looking your best is good health. So good health in most cases is actually a by-product of being in shape and looking good. I once heard someone say that if you are losing weight to look good instead of being healthy then you are shallow and full of vanity. Does the reason or motivation even matter? Is a successful weight loss transformation to be discredited because it was not done for health reasons?  All that matter is, you are making progress and getting the results you want, be it for health, fitness or vanity reasons.

When people lose weight they rarely show you their medical reports, they show their picture. They are often proud of their achievement and some suddenly become in love with the camera. You see this dynamic play out a lot on social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  People are constantly posting images of themselves daily simply because THEY LIKE THE WAY THEY LOOK. When you look good, you feel good and that could be a legitimate reason to lose weight all by itself. Can the end goal of looking good be enough of motivating factor for you to lose weight?

Don’t compare your self to others.

With regards to getting healthy and improving your physical shape, it’s wise not to compare yourself to others. You will be setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration. We often get caught up in the mindset that we can look like our favorite celebrities, athletes and others who possess great physiques.  While it is good to strive to be better in all aspects of our lives and while looking up to people who have accomplished what we want for our selves can be a good motivator, we must remember to keep things in perspective.

People in great physical shape and fitness have devoted a lot of time and energy in developing their bodies and their craft. In most cases it’s a way of life for them. Improving their fitness and keeping their bodies in shape is a job for bodybuilders, actors, celebrities, personal trainers and athletes . So in most cases the condition of their bodies is a by-product of the work they do. Some have also gone to extreme lengths to get their bodies to the level that it is, which could not have been accomplished by natural means.

The average persons daily life is not consumed by most things fitness related. Life gets in the way as most of us have a family life, a day job, school etc. We might be able to carve out a few hours a week directed at our personal health and fitness which is good, but it’s no comparison to people whose jobs, careers, and sport are fitness related. This is not to say that people in fitness careers don’t have a life and family to balance just like the rest of us, but their way of life is just more conducive to accomplishing good health and fitness goals along with a great physical shape most of us strive for. This is also not to say that the average person can’t achieve exceptional health and fitness along with a great physical shape, but it may take us longer and be a bit more difficult to achieve as we may not have the time and resources necessary to accomplish it in the same manner as someone who’s into bodybuilding, professional sport, acting, personal fitness training etc.

So it is wise to compare yourself to your old self. If you are better today in body and mind, than you were a few months ago, then you are being the best “you” you can be. So you may look back a few years from now and realize that by striving to be the best “you” everyday, you are now the one with good health and fitness along with a good physical shape that is admired by others.