The pursuit of a balanced, toned and refined physique can feel like trying to find the Holy Grail. For some it may not happen, for others it may have happened but doesn’t seem like it to them. The thing is, seeing yourself through somebody else’s eyes is difficult, especially when you’re striving for that ultimate physique. To others you’ll look fit, healthy and well muscled, but in your eyes (even if you’re the biggest guy/lady on earth) you’ll still see a flaw in your physique in one way or another. So during the years it will take to achieve a great body, start getting used to not feeling satisfied…in fact, start learning to be satisfied with NEVER being satisfied. Embrace the fact that you won’t be satisfied with your physique, but with this accept that your physique is still pretty darn good, and that this dissatisfaction you feel is the fuel in your bodybuilding fire!
Body image is a preoccupation that plagues bodybuilding, it pretty much sums up what it’s all about. After all, the point of a competitive bodybuilder or fitness model is to exhibit their body on stage, expressing it’s marketability and demonstrating what an ultimate physique is all about! Many will contest and say that bodybuilding is about self fulfilment etc etc, and I hear that, but ultimately it all stems back to the acquisition of a great physique or body image.
The Adonis Complex
The problem with ‘body image’ is that it’s entirely subjective, meaning one person may perceive their body to be far inferior to another, even though there is very little difference between the two. This obsessive preoccupation with body image and inability to feel satisfied is in many ways similar to anaorexia nervosa (and I do not make these comparisons loosely). In the same way a man or women can convince themselves that they are utterly fat, a bodybuilder, or even just a weight training enthusiast can also view themselves as disturbingly small. Chances are that these people are not fat, nor are they small, but rather their outlook on their body is so dismissive of the reality that it drives them to dissatisfaction, and NEVER feeling satisfied! The irrational failure to feel satisfied with one’s own physique is so common in today’s fitness booming society, so much so that this preoccupation now has a title…it’s known as muscle dysmporphia AKA The Adonis complex (based on the Greek God of beauty and desire).
It’s futile trying to tell someone with the Adonis complex that they ‘look fine’, or are ‘looking great as they are’…it simply doesn’t work this way. I’m no psychologist but I know the recovery process is a complex one, it has to come from the individual and cannot be forced onto someone. In the world of fitness, particularly bodybuilding, the acquisition of that perfect body may never happen…I’ve learnt to accept that, but believe me, I WILL acquire a pretty darn good body during that journey. Will I be satisfied with this, no…but does that bother me…no again. When it comes to bodybuilding, I’m satisfied to never be satisfied (it's not me in the pic by the way).