Aesthetics in Bodybuilding
As you’re reading this article, it’s a good guess that you’re a bodybuilder, or at least an active person who’s found an active lifestyle both fun and satisfying. So, if we take a look beyond your daily efforts, what are your long-term goals? Getting as strong as possible? Getting a washboard? Improve other sports? Getting that buffed look the chicks down at the beach love, but without crossing the line to becoming a “freak” (a word which to bodybuilders, as opposed to the rest of humanity, is a compliment)?
I guess most of you are into this to improve your health, prolong your life and look good. Fair enough eh? Then you’re probably the kind that goes to the gym two to three times a week for a workout to round off you all-round training regimen. You might participate in a another sport or two, and make sure to get sound, fiber-rich foods through the week. You’re also not a competitive bodybuilder, and have no aspirations of attaining that much muscle mass anyway – you simply want to stay fit and healthy! Great, and I applaud you. If more people were like you this world would be spared lots of suffering, billions in medical costs and everybody would live fairly good lives up until the end.
However, there are others who don’t stop there. Such as myself. I’ll admit it – I want to be HUGE! I don’t do it for “picking up the babes,” I don’t do it to compensate being small as a kid or any other popular psychological explanation. I just like working on my body, pretty much like a guy with an old Jaguar can spend several days a week on it. I want my arms to be 22 inches, make my pecs get that “Arnold-hang” to them and a chiseled midsection to balance it up. No reason, except for that I can, and that I like doing it. Let’s face it – growing like a sponge is a hell of an ego-booster!
However, there’s a danger to this. As we’re all genetically different, our muscles will grow at a different pace. Example: While one guy can just LOOK at a barbell to make his biceps grow an inch, another guy might have to strive really hard for a year to accomplish the same result. And on the other hand, the first guys might have calves which suck badly even though he works the twice a week, while the guy with bad biceps NEVER does calf-work and still looks great! So, when training your muscles, some will give you better results than others. These are the muscles that easily becomes your favourites!
I’m a prime example of this myself – I was born with good biceps, and as soon as I started training they would just jump up to become a good set of twin peaks. My delts were the opposite – no matter what, I would never quite “reach” them, and they never grew much. Of COURSE I thought biceps-training was a ball, while doing delts the bore of the day. Hell, seeing improvement almost overnight, increasing the weights and all that sure is a lot more rewarding than training something that won’t grow and you can’t even get sore.
BUT … then what? Assume I’d go on like that, giving priority to what’s fun and avoiding the troublesome stuff? Yeah, that’d make a pretty sight in 10 years. Arnold-size arms on a narrow-shouldered stringbean – How tempting! Seriously speaking, though, it’s an easy trap to fall into. Also one of the most common ones. Ever wondered about them muscular guys at the beach who insist on wearing long-pants instead of shorts when playing volleyball? Is it because they love to sweat and get warm … Or because they thought pecs and biceps were more fun to train than legs? Take a wild guess.
Boring as it may sound, you should always give priority to your WEAKEST bodyparts. Put all your efforts into forcing them into growth, and use what’s left to train the “easy” parts. Think about it – the “easy” parts are genetically gifted and will most likely grow anyway, only not at the same speed as they COULD, but then they’d just outgrow your weaker parts – which are now given the chance to grow at a NORMAL speed! Result: Your weak parts are in high-gear, while the good parts are in low-gear, making the speed about equal.
The best way to evaluate your body and determine where to put your efforts is to simply stand in front of the mirror. You know the desired X-shape. How do you compare? The lower part of the X not quite up to par? OK, time for some serious squatting. Arms? Shoulders? Neck? Calves? Be objective about yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask your spouse for advice.
And a final note: Most of you know my stance about the use of drugs. There’s one kind of drugs I’d like to specifically advise AGAINST in these matters – that is growth hormone. Sure, it’s cool to just explode in muscle in a few months, but you’re also ruining your symmetry – permanently. As the name indicates, it makes you grow – big time. And that doesn’t only go for your muscle, but your internal organs as well. Simply put: How much good will a washboard do you, if you look like a pregnant goat because your liver and kidneys have swollen to humongous proportions? Take a look at the top bodybuilders when they are N O T flexing their abs. Even at 2-3% body fat they look like they had huge beer-guts. And worse yet – it’s not the kind of gut you can diet away either! You think any babes at the beach will be aroused by your big biceps when your gut is hanging out over your shorts? D-uuh…