A lot of people who read this site know that I am NOT a big fan of excessive muscle. In my opinion, the last thing you want is for people to think “gym” as soon as they look at you. This gives off a vibe that you are trying to hard and that isn’t really an attractive quality. There is also just a corny aura that someone gives off when they have that muscle bound look. Here is a video of the look I’m talking about. These guys are an extreme version of this, but there are still plenty of people who think this is ideal!
[I'm sorry but this video makes me laugh. The clothes these guys are wearing is ridiculous. I remember reading Flex magazine back in 1992 and the popular thing was to show pictures of guys wearing this stuff along with sunglasses. I still see guys in certain gyms wearing sunglasses when they lift! Now that is Hardcore...LOL!]
The Massive Look is Quickly Dying
This has actually been over for quite some time, but it is just taking a while for the fitness industry to catch on. If you are a guy or girl and want to be massive, that is fine. It is your choice. I guess you just have to ask yourself if it is worth eating the tons of food required and being sore and run down all the time. It also is tough to look good in normal clothes if you are too bulky. Heck…you can’t even walk right with too much muscle!
Most Fitness Advice Still Focuses on Building Muscle
I know that most trainers mean well. Unfortunately the majority of the trainers at commercial gyms are young men in their early 20′s who want to gain as much muscle as possible. I’m not sure why, but that type of guy seems to be the one most likely to take up personal training. They “assume” that everyone they train wants to gain muscle and their advice is largely geared towards that. Many of these guys can’t even imagine that someone wouldn’t want to have massive muscles. Also…pick up any fitness magazine and it is still largely geared towards “building bigger guns”, “bigger pecs”, etc.
Thank Goodness For Programs Like CrossFit!
CrossFit is a step in the right direction. It is a program based on functional fitness…building a strong, fast, and fit body. There are CrossFit partners all over the world now who are spreading the word about this type of functional fitness. They are one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to helping people get functionally fit. What is cool is that they aren’t taking a franchise approach like Gold’s Gym, or 24 Hour Fitness…they are actually challenging the methods of these big franchises. I haven’t mentioned them much on my site, but I really admire what they are doing.
Another Guy With the Right Idea…Mark Sisson
Have you guys ever heard of the blog Mark’s Daily Apple? This guy has the right idea! He is in his mid 50′s and keeps in amazing shape year round. He lives a well balanced life that includes traveling to exotic places. I really admire his blog and his outstanding writing style. This is a fitness blog, that doesn’t have that corny “bodybuilding” vibe at all.
Here is an excerpt from his site:
My health philosophy is surprisingly simple. I generally follow a diet based on an understanding of evolutionary science. I think itâ€™s more important to eat, move, and live according to how humans are designed and not according to societyâ€™s artificial developments of the last 100 years. Fortunately, this regimen is not only incredibly healthy, itâ€™s quite simple.
In a nutshell:
- fresh, organic, unprocessed food – no junk!
- daily activity – whether itâ€™s the gym or a walk along the beach, it all counts
- plenty of quality sleep
- plenty of water, no soda or sweetened drinks
- antioxidants galore – the key to limiting stress
- a good fish-oil supplement
- essential fats, reckless amounts of vegetables, and lean, clean protein
- time for fun – donâ€™t take anything too seriously – ethical behavior – because what goes around comes around
- taking responsibility for yourself and your life – openness to new things and ideas
Here is a short video of Mark Sisson’s sprint routine. I do sprint intervals in a similar fashion, but I have to stretch a bit differently due to a back injury…
[I'm close to 40, but Mark is in his mid 50's! He looks outstanding for any age. Seriously...how many 20 year olds do you know that have a physique like that?]
A “Nice Body” and a “Gym Body” are Entirely Different Things
If you pay attention to Hollywood’s sex symbols you will notice something…all of these men and women have that nice balanced look. People like Jessica Alba, Will Smith, Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria, etc…all just look fit and attractive. When you look at them the first thing that comes to mind is that they have a “nice body”. This is different than looking at a person and thinking “gym body”. When you see a really massive guy and girl, you think they must spend a lot of time in the gym. Ideally you want to look really fit, but without the “gym look”…And under no circumstances should you wear cheesy neon gym clothes in public.
A Paradigm Shift is Happening When it Comes to Getting Fit
People are beginning to see a lot of the fitness sites and magazines for what they are…vehicles to sell lots of supplements. I’m not against supplements, I just wouldn’t endorse 90% of the stuff out there. Another shift is happening…people are incorporating getting fit without the need for a gym membership. You can get in incredible shape without belonging to a gym. You can get fit while having fun. I love what is happening in this regard. People are getting outside and getting in great shape without the need for super fancy equipment.
Laird Hamilton is A Great Example of the New Trend
Here is a guy who mixes working out with weights with functional workouts…and staying incredibly fit doing something he loves…riding the craziest big waves on the planet! When you think “fitness”, envision guys like Laird…not a bodybuilder doing endless sets of reps on a bench press. Get fit, but do it with balance and have some fun! I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Laird Hamilton Videos…