by Lindsay Seamans
When it comes to fitness, and anything in life really, it’s important to have goals and something to work towards. Whether it’s gaining strength or losing weight fitness wise, saving towards retirement or working towards a promotion, without goals you just kind of start wandering aimlessly through life and your workouts.
In fitness, we’re usually working towards an ideal body type. What we WANT to look like. What our goal/end result is. My body type ideal is probably different than your’s, than Doug’s, than my sister’s, than my mom’s. And that’s fine. More than fine! Some people don’t care what they look like, they just want to lift XXX pounds in their deadlift or run XX miles in XX:XX time, but for many of us we are after a certain look and we are trying to find the best workout to get us to that goal. While we do believe that being healthy is the most important and just being strong is also super important, most of us, Doug and myself included, are after a certain physical appearance.
Everyone needs to be careful of specific muscle hang-ups and not obsessing over them and you need to be wary of your physical and genetic limitations. A great example of this is how many girls with straight hair envy girls with curly hair and vice-versa and both need to just get over it because it just isn’t going to happen. Doug obsesses over his flat butt, and due to his genetics, even with all the squats, step-ups, lunges and tire flips he does, he’s only going to gain so much muscle back there. Is it impossible for him or for you to change one body part? Not necessarily, but the amount of time and energy you may need to put in to change that body part may be a very large commitment that you can’t honestly make. It’s good to focus a little more energy on specific area, but not too much, you need to look at the big picture. And remember, you can gain muscle in one specific area but you cannot lose fat in specific area, that is spot training and it DOES NOT WORK!
I kind of define fitness ideals into a few main categories. I’m going to stress MAIN. There are obviously ton’s of body shapes, sizes, and everything else. I think the main categories right now are:
- Functional trainers (basically what we do, an overall well-shaped, strong person)
- Body weight trainers (yoga and gymnastics practitioners, really core strong, some muscle definition, but not “bulgy”; and also Zuzanna for those of you who know her)
- Fitness models (the women usually seen in fitness ads, more muscle definition, very strong looking)
- Cardio and endurance athletes (marathon runners and triathletes, tend to be thinner, lankier, not as muscled)
- Natural body builders (like a more extreme version of a fitness model, but not all gross like people who are ‘roided up)
- Olympic lifters (really big and insanely strong, but usually not defined)
If you go into a regular gym, you’ll see a cross between a few of the aforementioned types as most people in the big globo-gyms have no clue what they are doing or they are doing a workout from a magazine.
It’s ok if you want to look like a few of the above types, but don’t obsess over it. My ideal is somewhere between a fitness model and functional trainer; strong, bigger muscles, more definition and great cardio. I want it all. I look up to people like Jamie Eason, Pauline Nordin, and Camille LeBlanc. Jamie Eason and Pauline Nordin are fitness models, and Camille LeBlanc is a crazy Crossfitter. Notice they’re all strong and different shaped, but still feminine. You can be strong and still be feminine! Exactly what I want.
While I wrote this article form a women’s point of view, for women, guys can also look up to and aspire to look like male athletes and stars. I asked Doug if he had any male athletes or stars with great physiques that he would like to look like and he told me that he looks more at athletes training regimens than their actual body. Doug said for him, when it comes to the athletes he looks up to, it is more about their physical abilities and their mental strength than their appearance. Doug said he looks up to former UFC champ Sean Sherk and Duane “The Rock” Johnson. Strange choices? Not for Doug, he explained that both of these athletes have amazing dedication to their workout regimen and their physical appearance is a direct result of their dedication and hard work. For Doug it’s about being strong and being able to push through insane workouts, looking good is a side effect.
So, to get to the point: what is your goal? What do you want to look like? Who do want to look like? I’m not saying you have to end up looking like the person or idolize them, but I want you to keep in mind and have an image in the back of your head when you’re working out, or reaching for the cookie, or that extra glass of wine. Will whatever you’re doing or not doing help you reach your goals?