Aesthetics Over Health? Is Looking Good More Important Than Feeling Good?
Think about the most recent goal that you have made for yourself in relation to your fitness. Was it an internal goal or an external goal?
Being a fitness consultant and personal trainer, I find, more often than not, most individuals have goals that are directly related to their looks. They pay no mind to their internal health.
Why is this?
Have our aesthetics become such a large area of focus that we completely set our health on the back burner? Is it possible to make both internal and external goals that work with one another, and even help the progression of each other?
I find this scenario to be most prevalent within the bodybuilding community. Although, with social media booming and images of “dream fitness bodies” being every other post you see, the general population is falling into the “aesthetics over health” sector as well.
Better to Look Good Than to Feel Good?
Pushing our bodies to the absolute limits. Achieving a body fat percentage that challenges our biological functions and can cause damage to many systems within our bodies including productive, digestive, circulatory and endocrine system.
If you knew that achieving this goal could potentially cause dysfunction within these systems, would you stay on course with achieving said goal? I say, keep the goal but check your process and plan.
In creating health and fitness goals, having an aesthetic body is absolutely OK. As a health professional I encourage many to make this a priority. But don’t lose sight of other goals that should be a part of your aesthetic goal.
So here are a few check points to keep in mind when goal setting within your fitness:
How important is this goal to you, and what is its purpose?
Establish your why. What is the reason why you set this specific goal? What sparked you or inspired you to set it? In relation to other key areas in your life, where does its importance lie?
Your physical being is more than just what you see. So while big arms, a tight midsection and lean legs may be on your list of things to accomplish, remember to set other physical goals as well:
- Energy level
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Mental focus
The list could go on. These are just a few to mention, that all will help to achieve your aesthetic goal as well.
Establish a strong health baseline
Scheduling appointments for a routine physical, comprehensive blood work panel, and even a physical fitness test are all great ways to create your current overall health baseline. There are many programs out there designed to achieve aesthetic goals, but they may hinder progression in the above health areas.
Be sure to check in on your baseline throughout your program. Just as you would your weight loss or body fat percentage, checking your overall health baseline is just as important if not more.
Are your goals maintainable?
When you create your goal, be it aesthetics or not, is this goal something you would like to maintain for a long duration? Or is it solely for an event, like a wedding, competition, reunion, summer time, etc.?
If aesthetics is your goal, be sure to recognize that maintenance of some goals is NOT healthy. A great example of this is those who compete in bodybuilding competitions. I plan to write a separate article on in more detail, discussing the internal health affects, both pros and cons, that some programs may place on one’s body during their competition prep.
Achieving a body fat percentage that is below the athletic range and below your “normal” can cause hormonal imbalances, as well as disruptions within your nervous and muscular systems.
Now, say an individual desires to maintain this low body fat percentage for an extended period of time. Not only will this drag out the duration of hormonal imbalances within his/her body, but then maintenance of this body fat percentgar will require continuation on his/her prep routine to a certain extent if not fully.
So, in looking at goals and progress maintenance, ask yourself a few questions:
- Is this healthy to maintain internally for my body?
- Am I ok with continuing this regimen for an extended period of time?
- Are the sacrifices that I will be making to maintain this goal important to me?
Remember too, goals that are healthy for you inside and out are maintainable!
Surprise! Aesthetics will come
Shocker, when we actually do put internal health first, the appealing aesthetics we may desire will follow.
To think that if we actually take care of our bodies from the inside out, that we may just be able to achieve those strong limbs and flat tummies. Our bodies are smarter than you think.
When we do not feed it well, it will not perform as well. When we do not rest enough, it will not repair efficiently. When we shock it and do crazy deprivation diets and loads of cardio to it, it will rebel and teach you a lesson.
So don’t complicate it. Treat your body right, learn what works for your body type and begin to achieve results that will actually last a lifetime.
Are aesthetic and health goals able to coincide with one another? 100% yes!
A bigger question is: Are you able to truly look at your said fitness goals from all angles and take each part of yourself into consideration when setting, establishing a program and achieving your goals? It will take some work and you’ll have to be patient, but your body and mind will thank you for the rest of your life.