(Photo: Everybody’s “damn” may be a little different, but one common thread is that eating well makes most things better.)
A necessary reminder following several conversations I’ve both had and overheard this week:
Diet is the primary and dominant factor in the appearance of your body. Training/ exercise are helpful, of course, as they help build muscle and burn calories, but the fact remains that many people performing excellent training and eating a careless diet look far less athletic/ fit/ appealing than those eating very well and doing little else.
If you’ve been participating in any decent generalist training program for a reasonable amount of time, you have a “six pack”, your leg muscles are defined, and your back has contours to it. If those things are not noticeable or pronounced, it is the fault of your food, not your fitness. Normal leanness is the product of healthy, specific, balanced eating, and is achievable by anyone willing to make adjustments to the standard, ill-fated, undisciplined American diet.
Walking around with a constant visible six-pack is pure vanity and a serious rarity. Many people that show off their “strong” stomachs have achieved them through disciplined eating/ under-eating, chronic cardio, and thorough supplementation. They are not representations of strength nearly as much as they are of extreme dietary discipline/ deprivation. If vanity is your primary goal, then the food you eat (and don’t eat) becomes the only gateway to your success. When referring to performance, it’s been said ad nauseam that you can’t out-train a bad diet, but when extreme vanity is your goal, it is also impossible to achieve it on a normal one.
There is a reason that even professional fighters often look very different on weigh-in day than they do on fight day when they’ve re-hydrated and gotten some food back in them. A cut-up, drawn-out, sucked-dry look is fleeting, usually unhealthy, and in my perception and experience has never been a measure of true fitness or strength, attractiveness, or success in training.
Establish realistic goals for how you want yourself to look in the very same way you set goals for how you want yourself to perform. A lean, healthy body is constructed as much- if not more- in the kitchen as in the training room.
(If you are unwilling to make eating adjustments, don’t expect your appearance to cooperate with your goals- and don’t complain about it when it doesn’t… )