By Joshua Englehart
Pictured: Raphael Lucas, NPC Men's Physique
So we are at that joyous time of year where everyone is determined, depressed, and fat from the holidays. People are budgeting in some new workout clothes and gym memberships to not only get all the unwanted holiday weight off but make this year “the year” where they get back to shape and form-from 20 years ago.
I have never understood the mindset with the New Year resolution on “getting in shape”. I really never got the mindset on trying to look a way you looked decades ago either. Why the pressure?! Why does New Year have to signify a “new you” physically? Oh wait I know, because everyone else is doing it.
I believe that is what it has turned into. A conformity movement to make some personal changes about ourselves physically. What is the easiest thing to change and shows people we have changed? Our bodies. We have put this stigma on fitness that getting in shape is hard. I will say to you that yes, it is. But I ask you, compared to what? So many other facets that are not considered and advertised to get you in shape physically. One that pops out to me first is, YOU! When a person wants to make a change, a commitment in anything, it begins and ends with them. Not their bodies, but their minds. The things that influence their minds. Family, friends, work, just life in general. It is like going into battle year after year and getting shot because all you do is bring a knife to a gun fight. Year after year you sit and wonder what went wrong and proclaim “this is the year” while you go and grab that knife again. Maybe that knife gets bigger and bigger each year, but guess what, it is still only a knife.
A person has to do some self-reflection. A person needs to ask some very important questions before they try to get into shape. Those questions to me are:
That last question is a big one. As a gym goer for over 15 years, appearing in magazines and having a physical build that others aspired to have, I will tell you, I never reached the look I wanted. No one ever does. I think that is why they always go back. It is kind of crazy if you think about it but I think one can have a healthy mind set with this “mad journey of self-physical perfection”. It begins with accepting that there is no perfect. There is just you and the body you have been blessed with.
I believe in the mindset of visualizing your body as a blank canvas and you painting the image in your brain as you develop. No expectations, no pressure. Just you, the sweat, the weights, and the gym. Your perception of yourself in the physical world (what you see in the mirror) in return puts an image in your brain of what to create. For example, instead on envisioning you are a Porsche, you look in the mirror and see a Chevy. Now this is to not say that you are not as good as a Porsche or a Porsche represents a certain level of supremacy, it just represents the “perfection” the world tries to broadcast us. Seeing you are a Chevy you then think “what can I do to make this look better?” You visualize the parts you want to alter, not change. You see we cannot change our parts because if we could we could in return change the vehicle. That is where people are let down. You start to “work with what you got”. To me the best builds are achieved when a person stops worrying about what others think are “perfect”, and just go to work on what you got. I did that. It worked out well.
So once you get through this part and focus on those other questions, you will then know where you should start in this fitness endeavor. It is never a wrong time to do the right thing. Taking care of your bodies is key. Instead of giving something all you got with wreck less abandonment blindly and 110% (all the cool things people say when telling you to “go for it”), maybe your life only permits you to give 75% based off of answering those questions I asked earlier. You do not want to suffer at something else while succeeding at another thing. At the end of the day our health is all that matters, not a look. And always remember, doing something always wins out over doing nothing.
Happy New Year!