What Do You Mean, “I’m Ideal”?

1 07 2009

dwayne_johnsonA great blog I follow called “Better is Better“, by CST Head Coach Adam Steer, had a pole about “The Ideal Male Physique“. There were a bunch of various pics of various guys in popular culture, with varying physique’s. And the vote’s came rolling in. And I felt compelled to write in, but my response was getting a little  too long and so decided to write it here. Now since then, he also had one for “The Ideal Female Physique” and so I speak in general to both.

lucy_liuWhat is the ideal physique? This is something that has been a hot topic for ages.  Whole industries have evolved around striving for it. Billions upon billions of dollars made (and spent) on it. Why so obsessed? Perhaps because, like all aspects of our lives, we are drawn to the highest state or highest level of perfection in ourselves.  Nothing wrong with that right? And that holds value for us on all kinds of levels. As it relates to our physical appearance, it has come to represents things like success, happiness, power, pro-creation, strength, survivability, recognition, acceptance, even intelligence and a ton more.

PhelpsLet’s take a moment to identify where we draw our ideals from. What we use as our template of perfection and whether we measure up. More often than not it is from popular culture, as they are the most visible figures in our societies. And they’re successful, living the dream. Hmmmnn, and if we look like them then maybe we’ll be one step closer to having what they have, right? Right? Anyone….anyone…..Bueller?Serena 2

Then there’s an industry (with a ton more tied in) that spends inordinate amounts of money and energy into “presenting” what the ideal is, interlacing it with scientific data, popular culture and all the keys to a more fulfilled and happy you.  Which of course, although not as quickly as clothing fashion, changes with the seasons. Any of this ringing a bell?

Combine all this with the emphasis on the external experience (which has the gravitational pull of the Moon), it’s no wonder we find ourselves looking in the mirror and thinking we’re somehow less than “ideal”. belly dancer

And we work SO HARD to try and get there. And more often than not, we fail to reach the goal we hold in our minds. How do those who do it, do it? Well, they have a huge advantage over each and every one of us. And no, I’m not talking about private chefs, loads of money to buy organic, trainers or people to take care of the day to day mundane chores so they can focus on attaining that physical ideal. Those are merely the reasons we give to devalue the hard work they’ve put in, to exonerate ourselves. No, the wahlbergadvantage I’m talking about are their genes. Their DNA. They have a genetic edge over you, over me…..over each other. No one, can get to the physical ideal they have achieved, THEIR physical ideal, no one. Just as no one can achieve YOUR physical ideal. Well, okay, that’s not true, we can get pretty close. But we often can’t maintain it and it usually comes at a price to our health and vitality.  We’re born with  our genetic make-up. We can’t change that.   All we can do is mine, as if in search for gems of inestimable value, for the perfection that already lays within us.


To say “I want that build” or “those abs” or “legs that look like that” or “a butt that looks like THAT” is unrealistic. If it’s in your genes to come close to that because your body type is similar, then okay, you may get close. We can look to those who have attained their ideal, as inspiration for our own journey, but we’ll never be able to have exactly what they have. Employing the methods they have used we can get exactly what we have.

And the funny thing aboutGabrielle that, is it means that the only ideal is, in fact, striving for your ideal. The “physical ideal” is constantly trying to be narrowed down and peg-holed. Yet it can’t, because we are so diverse. Adam’s blog posts were such great examples of that in both the voting choices presented and the plethora of varied responses from the participants. We all have such varied tastes and therein shows the beauty we see throughout that variety. Which means the ideal lies within each of us, and by striving for it, we add to the value of it’s ever expanding definition.

Dare To Evolve,




6 responses

2 07 2009
Adam Steer - Better's Better

Great post Shane! Very insightful and spot on.


2 07 2009

Thanks Adam:). Your post got some gears rolling, which is a great testament to being able to draw reflection, discussion and (hopefully;) action out of those who read. Keep it up!

Take Care,

4 07 2009

It seems to me that when you are striving for the “way you appear” ideal, that the issue is about getting others to see you and say, “Wow”, and then want to be with you because of your attractive body. And when they get with the ideal body, they aren’t really with the true self, they are just with a beautiful body. With time the beautiful body fades and so does the attraction.

When I see how my grandson, Will, acts, he seems to have a more appropriate model. To develop the strength in his arms and legs he does 50-100 reps of climbing up on a chair each day regardless if anyone is around to see him. So I have to ask myself, Would I do 2 hour run, or keep playing sport if I didn’t have the chance of someone looking at me and saying, “Wow, Richard, you are almost 60 and you are still playing at such a great level with people half your age.” Well, I must admit, that Will is much further ahead on this issue than me. The lure of looking good in other’s eyes is really strong.

8 07 2009

Very well put Richard! Thanks for sharing. May you run many more miles without anyone noticing, and then noticing, in awe, for that very reason:).

All the best,

11 10 2010
Kung Fu Kid

Very cool points there. There’s a great scene in Fightclub where Brad Pitt and Edward Norton get onto a bus. Brad points to a picture of a Calvin Klein Male Underwear model and asks “Is that what a man looks like?”

Plus you only have to look at the Olympics – athletes in their prime and while the 100m sprinters and swimmers have ‘the perfect physique’ … for their sport. Not so for shotput, weight lifting, distance running.

Partially from genetic reasons and partially from different training regiemes .. they’re all perfect for their sport.

25 10 2010

Great insight. This all really has to make us reconsider how we ask “Are we fit?” When it should be “What are we fit for?”

Thanks for sharing:)

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