Fitness should enhance your life and improve your mental health. But sadly Fitness and mental health are not always working together positively!
Yes, that is right. A 6 pac or six-pack only defines your abs and should never be linked to your self-worth or value. In an era of Instagram models showcasing their Baywatch bodies for every single post we need to be mindful of the impact this has.
We often seen many of these pictures, gain more traction, likes, shares and adulation. This is alarming in itself. The worst is I have seen this on my own very small profile. Of course my Instagram, up until the last year or so has always been health and fitness related, so this could explain the skew. But generally speaking any topless ab photos tend to get more “likes”.
So what does this mean?
Well, it actually means f*** all. Especially as likes should not dictate worth, quality, or a representation of what your should define yourself ass. But it does mean that people hold or see value in topless selfies.
I would like to at this point, hope it because it represents “hard work, dedication, consistency, blood, sweat and tears” But somehow I can’t be so sure.
I think there is a more sinister psychological thing at play here. Worth, value and appreciation is now attached to people having abs, great bodies. To cement my analogy further, let’s compare financially rich and poor people. [Poor being someone who isn’t a millionaire just for argument’s sake].
I so often see rich “influencers” speak the same words, (irrespective of intent and authenticity) and gain so much more notoriety than someone out of the spotlight, with an average salary job. Why?
What makes the richer persons Retweet of the same image or caption more worthy than the second person?
Our perception of what we value and place importance on is my answer.
So moving away from external people
Let’s do some self reflection and become a tiny bit more self-aware for a moment.
What are the things that light you up and inspire you?
What are your values?
And what are the ethics that you follow?
These are crucial and may even require you to step away from this blog for a moment to answer. I really can’t stress the importance of fitness and mental health, as they come hand in hand!
I ask these questions to get you to realise why you do what you do. To ask you why you think “an outcome” or a particular “set of abdominals arranged in 2 rows” will dictate your happiness.
Maybe it is just me
So I can’t speak for everyone here, but let me take you back very quickly to how I got to around 5% body fat and why.
- I over trained, 3 x a day 6 days a week.
- 2 x a day on the 7th day.
- I did this for 18 months.
- I had 1 Chinese takeaway + 1 Budweiser. This was after a fight got cancelled.
- I ate 1800 calories for 95% of those days, and 2200 for the remaining 5%
- I wanted to be a boxer. This was my only goal.
- I wanted to ensure I had no excuses if I ever failed
- I wanted to see how good I could be starting at 25.
- I got lean – 5%
- I was the fittest, cardiovascular and strength wise (pound for pound) i have ever been in my life.
- A 6-pac appeared.
Now my 6-pac came because of the work above, and was a by product of consistency and hard work. It wasn’t my goal. My goal was in my why, which came from the process.
The results, were great, but they didn’t fulfil me. You see shortly after that I gave up boxing due to an injury. I have since only ever remained proud of myself for the “whys” I write above. Because they come from my “hows” the process. These are what made me. These are things people can never take away from me again.
I can lose a 6-pac tomorrow, but that process I endured in my opinion, was enduring and pushed my mind and body to a limit I have never reached or since been able to reach again.
It is a place where my mind and body where in sync, if only for a short period. It was also a place where my fitness and mental health where both positive and adding to my life.
Back to the topic
So, for that short Segway of my personal story, I want you to think about yourself. Why do you do what you do? Why do you let things, that some people get through genes or just consistently under eating put you down? Even more so, why do we put that on such a pedestal?
I accept, if you look at someone with a 6-pac and think:
“I respect the work ethic, consistency, determination and hard work”
But it should never define that individual as a whole, nor should it define you if you fail to obtain that.
Key point to note
It was easy for me to get a 6-pac when my focus was on being a boxer and my drive, why and passion was so fixated on that.
If you asked me to get back to that shape now, id probably manage to stick to my goals 10% of the week. I sincerely mean that. It doesn’t motivate or get me out of bed.
Sometimes we have to really think about the things that get us out of bed.
And here’s the kicker. If it isn’t getting 6-pac abs so you can take a mirror selfie, then you shouldn’t waste your mental energy letting it get you down.
You shouldn’t place it on pedestal.
Instead, place, integrity, kindness, hard work, commitment, authenticity, trust, honesty and self-love on a pedestal.
“Remember you are defined by your actions and your character, never by your abs”
Let your actions and your character take precedence in your life. Attach importance and actions to your values and if they scream health and wellness, then enjoy the by product of potentially seeing some abs pop up at some stage. But even more importantly enjoy that process.
That is where the gold is!
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