The year was 1969. Gas was $.35 a gallon, a man was walking on the moon, the Beetles were recording one final album and the founders of Instagram were still over a decade from being born.
Back in the summer of ‘69, things were simpler. There was no social media. You were limited in your choice of information and had only a small group of community you connected with every day. You might even call them, “Everyday People”.
Fast forward forty years and times have changed. Your social network is no longer limited to friends, family and the man at the grocery store. You can connect with anybody. Want to know what The Rock ate for breakfast? You can. Do you want to follow the life of your favourite musician, artist or mom blogger? Done and done.
Our access to people and information has increased in far greater proportion to our ability to handle and process it all.
Forty years ago, you saw average people doing average things and everything felt so… average. In fact, anyone who was not average would stand out in a crowd. Our perception was “most people are average!”. Average income. Average home. Average fitness.
In 2019, with our ability to step into the lives of extraordinary people, we surround ourselves with pictures and lifestyles that are anything but average. However, because of our access to these people, our minds trick us into think these are ordinary, average people.
Newsflash: this is not normal.
Let’s look at abs.
You could scroll through hours of Instagram posts of fit people showing you their abs, promising you abs if you give them your money. The more you look, the more convinced you become that abs are normal and that you too should have abs. You begin to pursue abs at all costs.
Chicken, boiled potatoes and broccoli every day!
Cut out carbs!
GIVE ME KETONES!!!
Only to fail, again and again and again.
The solution? Punish your body with more restriction of calories, foods you love and any of life’s pleasure. After all, you failed. You deserve punishment, right?
…Abs aren’t normal?
If you go to the beach and look around do you know what you’ll see a lot of? Sand. Do you know what you won’t see a lot of? People who look like fitness and magazine cover models.
Why? Because abs aren’t normal.
If you would find a population that should all have abs. It’s beach goers. Most people don’t walk around mostly naked unless they're at the beach. If there should be a place where people go who have abs, it’s the beach. And yet when you get there, most people don’t.
Men Don't Play Football
Maybe this example will help you further understand the point.
True or false: Football is a sport played by men.
Your first instinct is probably “True”.
However, I will suggest it’s false. There are around 3.5 billion men in the world today. 2000 of them play in the National Football League. That means that 0.0000006% of all men play in the NFL.
Men don’t play football.
Humans (which happen to be men) with elite genetics and abilities play football. There is nothing normal or average about an NFL player.
Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking you are doing something wrong because you don’t have six-pack abs, or that you even have some extra fat around your body.
You are what we in the fitness space call “perfectly normal”, and that’s great!
If you have abs, awesome. Perhaps you’ve been grinding for a while and worked hard for them. Or, maybe you’re genetically blessed and think it’s no big deal because you’ve had them all your life.
Regardless of where you are in your fitness journey, remember that we’re after Fitness for Real Life. If abs don’t serve a purpose for you, don’t sweat it.
Want to know how to get off the comparison wagon?
In my journey, I’ve had to purge my social media accounts many times. I noticed patterns of extreme behaviours after following certain people for a while. It’s gotten to where I have almost zero fitness people on my social media accounts and YouTube playlists. I try to only follow people who promote health over their body and aren’t always trying to sell me stuff.
Stop following people on social media who don’t add value to your life. If you see people and your first thought is “I‘m a failure”, unfollow, unsubscribe and get them out of your life. It’s just not worth it.
At the same time, I need you to hear this: abs aren't sinful. It can be easy to jump on the wagon and assume that because someone has abs that they are obsessed, narcissistic or vain. While they may be, there could also be other reasons too.
For example, some people are genetically gifted and will have visible abs until the day they die. Is that wrong? Absolutely not. It's the way God made them.
For other people, their lifestyle allows for them to be very active and abs are simply a by product of their occupation or hobbies. Think about it, if you enjoyed health and fitness as much as you did sports, social media or Netflix, it probably wouldn't take effort much effort to be in really good shape.
Regardless of where you fall on the abs-spectrum, know that abs are in all likelihood unnecessary for your tasks and if you have them, great!
Focus on being strong for your tasks and stewards your body well.
Original article posted at convergefit.com.