Part of being a modern man means that we are in a vacuum of sorts, caught between the past and the present. When we start to look at what makes a man in the modern-day, it’s a completely different image than 20 years ago. Further, when we start trying to be that perfect man we see on those bodybuilding websites, and hit the gym all the time to try and maintain that perfect physique, this is a lot of pressure that we put ourselves under.

When we look at the classic image of a bodybuilder, like Schwarzenegger, we can get sucked into a vortex of unhealthy comparisons. Perhaps we may feel that we have to develop that perfect body because we think it will make us happier. But here’s the truth, it won’t! So, what can we do to ensure that we have a healthy relationship with exercise. Yet, also avoid trying to be that perfect human with sculpted abs and massive biceps?

Get Away From The Preconceptions Of Diet

When we actually sit down and look at how much we need to eat in order to be the equivalent of a bodybuilder, it is not sustainable for the average person. If we start to look at the meal plans of Marvel heroes, and just how much they really need to eat. Is this sustainable in real life? We have to remember that if we really want to be like that, it requires a dedication to the detriment of every other aspect of your life. What’s more, you may very well have an unhealthy attitude towards food. Why you say? Because you won’t indulge in treats, and view food as fuel. Although you may be eating the healthiest stuff, there are issues like orthorexia that can arise. 

It’s about that healthy attitude towards food. However, also realizing it impacts on your life in other ways. There are residential eating disorder treatment centers that can help under these circumstances. The big problem many of us have with regards to diet is that we feel we need to eat every hour or so in order to put on that muscle. But if you are damaging your gut in the process, is it worth it?

What Happens When You’ve Reached Your Goal?

Have you even thought about what happens when you hit your goal? If it’s all to do with looking like your favorite bodybuilder or action hero, and you get there. What happens then? When you start to compare yourself to one person, and you aim to be as close to that person as possible. Then you may very well have to set the bar higher. We may think that we need to be like a specific person so we can have strength, or look ripped. Yet, once we hit that point, having given our all, and then begin to see that there is yet another mountain to climb. Well, this is when we need to realize that it can have a major effect on us psychologically. 

There is nothing wrong with being fit and healthy and having muscle. However, we all need to know the true dedication involved. This means hitting the gym seven days a week, eating all the things that aren’t fun. And when you think that you want to look like Paul Rudd in Ant-Man, when he starts talking about the fact that he was so miserable for a year because he couldn’t eat what he wanted, you’ve really got to ask yourself, “Is this what I want?” 

Learning To Have A Healthy Relationship With Exercise

Being fit and healthy makes us feel better. There is no question about that. But it’s about having that healthy relationship with exercise. It’s also learning what makes us function as a better version of ourselves. This is when we have to start thinking about our body type. Because if you want to look like John Cena, but you don’t have the frame, all that overeating can make you pretty miserable! But when we start to look at our body type, and figure out the right exercise method for an ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph, we can learn to be the version of ourselves that we will be proud of.

This means that it’s partly to do with finding the right exercise routines for who we are. It’s also there is that very difficult task of not comparing ourselves to others. When we start to compare our bodies to others, this will discourage us. This means that having a healthy relationship with exercise becomes impossible and we can start to fixate on what we deem to be perfection. Part of this is to get off Instagram completely but also learning how to push yourself to the limits of your body. How do we do this? 

We can research the hard science based on our body types. We can also learn to listen to our body and not think about getting bulky in the space of a couple of months. Part of it is about ignoring all of these methods that will tell you that you “can” get ripped quickly. Because exercise is a lifestyle choice rather than a short-term fix. If you look to someone like a rugby player, where they will have, realistically, a career of about 15 years. You can bet your bottom dollar that they don’t eat 9 meals a day after they retire! It is about looking at what you can realistically achieve in your life.

When you start to focus on the exercise routines that benefit you, you can start to personalize things. This will also help you to stop comparing yourself to others. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of healthy competition, or setting yourself a goal. But the important thing to remember is that with any workout, you are slowly making inroads in the right direction.

We know what being fit and healthy entails, and this means we have to find and the right tactics that make us feel good about ourselves, but also fit in with our life. It’s far better to focus on personal strengths than anything else. In fact, there is a big trend of functional fitness over the aesthetic aspects of bodybuilding. When you look at things like the 5 x 5 program, where it focuses on strength training but without necessarily getting bulky, having strength is more important than having the look.

Setting The Bar Lower…

Because we can have a very unhealthy view of who we are. We can also think that gaining a certain amount of muscle will fix it all. This is not the answer, we have to find the right balance between being functionally fit. Yet also be happy. There are so many stories of wrestlers that have spent their entire career getting battered, bruised, and consuming so many steroids that there was no quality in their short life. There is nothing wrong with being fit and healthy. Especially if it makes you feel happier in yourself. Then you know you’re going in the right direction. But the important thing we have to remember is that we stop comparing ourselves to others.

What we need to do is turn exercise into a lifestyle choice that fits in with who we are. Because so many of us decide to hit the gym five days a week, we lose all semblance of who we are, but we can still be a fit and healthy person without this attitude. But if you focus on exercise, bulking up, and this forms the vast majority of your life.

Then you need to give yourself license to ease the load now and again. 

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