Fitness myths abound, but most of these are pretty superficial and self-evident. Examples include the idea that lifting weights will make women bulky or that egg yolks raise cholesterol levels. These are fine, but they a) talk about old ideas most people don’t believe anymore and b) do little to induce meaningful change.
So let’s get into some really deep fitness myths for a change. Myths that are so powerful, yet subliminal, that almost everyone believes them (or wants to believe them) and fall prey to them. Let’s get to it!
This week’s fitness myth is the myth of the aesthetic demand.
This myth calims that you can use exercise as a way to reliably alter and mold the physical appearance of your body. Chances are very good that if you start a new workout today you’ll probably look about the same 6 months from now.
Don’t get discouraged, I promise this is a good thing…….
The idea that we possess the means to reliably change the appearance of the body through exercise is mostly overinflated hype from years of fitness marketing and media. It’s much easier to sell the idea you can “sexify” your body with exercise or products than it is to use exercise for what it’s really for, to improve performance.
The human body never evolved an adaptive aesthetic response to stress. You can’t tell your muscles to tone up with a given rep range. You also can’t tell your abs to pop or your back to make a V-shape with a given program. That type of biological information simply doesn’t exist. Instead, every cell in your body developed a functional adaptive response to your environment. In other words, your body is more concerned with how well it functions rather than how it looks.
What this means to you
It can be frustrating to try to change how the body looks because it’s so hit and miss. This is why I recommend keeping the function of your body at the top of your list. Strive to improve your performance rather than chasing after whatever trends or fads claim to give you the aesthetics you want.
If there’s one thing you can count on it’s that training to perform better is one of the most sure-fire ways to improve the appearance of your body. A body that works well looks great, while a body developed just for the sake of appearance often looks unbalanced and unnatural. Just consider the guy who camps out on the curl machine all day but doesn’t have any glutes, or the cardio junkie with a hunched over posture. If you want to look good then prioritize your functional performance. You’ll move, feel and yes, look better for it.
Check out this week’s podcast where I dive more into the fitness myth of the aesthetic demand plus 3 other big myths we all fall for: