What do you consider to be the perfect body? One with six-pack abs? A bubble butt? Being so strong you can lift a car? Maybe all of the above?
The perfect body means so many different things. Some people want to look shredded – lean muscles and six-pack abs. Some people don’t care what they look like but want to be able to lift 3 times their body weight. Some people just want to have a body that can run and play with their grandkids.
I really started thinking about what it means to have “the perfect body” when I was looking through ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue. I looked through it once with Ryan and then with Candy. Both times we looked at each of the athletes and discussed which bodies we liked or wanted. We all had slightly different opinions about which bodies were our favorites.
But that got me to thinking…All of these bodies are, in fact, perfect. All of the athletes’ bodies in the magazine are perfect in that they made each of them highly successful in their sport. It reminded me that “perfection” can mean so many different things.
It also reminded me of a situation in college. It was my freshman year, and I was introduced to lifting by a new strength and conditioning coach at Boston University. The girls on my team had been used to getting away with murder and slacking on their weights. But this new coach wasn’t going to have it.
She pushed us to lift heavy. We did heavy front squats and heavy bench. We worked on hang cleans, deadlifts and pull ups.
And the girls didn’t like it.
They were afraid they were going to look manly. Or have huge traps. They were afraid they wouldn’t look feminine. (Really they were afraid of working hard!!)
Of course this was a load of bull crap and our trainer told us so (our trainer was actually a very pretty blond who lifted heavy weights and still looked very feminine). But the girls wouldn’t listen. They were more worried about their bodies looking “perfect” by society’s standards than their bodies being “perfect” for their sport.
This I didn’t understand. First off…I felt that my body would look perfect if I lifted. Secondly…if you really want to be a twig with no muscle, you have the rest of your life to accomplish this. Right now you are on scholarship to play TENNIS; therefore, your body should be made PERFECT FOR TENNIS!
But they didn’t see it that way. Their body wasn’t perfect if it didn’t look a certain way, which in my opinion kept them from reaching their full potential in tennis.
Which raises a question for me…do I have conflicting images of what I want my perfect body to be? On the one hand, I want to develop six-pack abs while on the other hand I want to be able to lift enough to win a powerlifting competition…Usually the two don’t go hand in hand. I’ve actually even been told numerous times by Brian that I can’t worry about gaining weight while we are training. But at the same time…I don’t want to gain unnecessary fat.
Can I really accomplish both? Can I not gain fat while gaining strength? Can I even lower my body fat percentage while adding strength and muscle? There are people out there who say, “no you can’t” while there are others out there who claim to have done just that.
We will see who is right!