Body image – cultural brainwashing

Look at this picture:

gijoefigureThis is the “evolution” of the GI Joe action figure from the sixties to the latest iteration. From an average Joe, to a well toned Joe, passing trough the bodybuilder Joe and ending in the extreme Joe.

This was all good if it was a all about the toy, the problem is that the toy is a reflection of the society. And is not only the toy, but also in movies, advertising, sport and general media. There you go, the collective cultural brainwashing of a dis-formed body image as a society imposed goal.

I say dis-formed because (for the 99,99% of us mortals) it’s either unachievable, or achievable trough unhealthy options, long term unsustainable, and just non functional bulky body. In the information age, is rather sad to see most of young guys at the gym training hard for bulk and mass, not for health or functional gains.

Now you mix this set of mind, with the fast pace “I want it now”, there is no time to loose, Internet age, modern world. A time that hard work, wait for results, seed, feed and wait to grow are all old-school. And is the perfect formula for substance abuse. First things first, protein supplements in form of powders, bars, gels. This is a $11.5 billion (USA data only) industry in 2012 and could well deserve a post on its own… then you figure out that the big guy holding the can is using other stuff: steroids, human growth hormone, insulin, etc…

Come on, why not do it? Most of the cool guys at Fast and Furious do it, Rocky did it, Conan did it and was California governor, and even a couple of the big guys at the gym do it. And they look somehow alike GI Joe extreme, and it’s cool, and big is better, and they get the anorexic girls, and they are popular, and, and, and…

At the information age, smart and well educated persons are willing to risk their health in the name of this cultural imposed body image model. In my opinion (well, this is my blog) is just time to break this non-sense, to start an awareness campaign, kind of the anti anorectic girl campaign in the 90s. To promote an healthy and achievable body image and stop this collective brainwash backed up by the supplements industry.

Personally i choose life. I’m more and more into crossfit exercises, functional lifts with compound movements, own body weight exercises, catabolic anabolic balance, deep breathing and relaxing. Will trade, anytime, anywhere the superficial muscle grow for long term balanced core strength.

Exercice program – 12 weeks

After a major disruption in life… I’m starting again to take care of my body, some jogging (pain free!!), some gym, and a bit of open water swimming and surfing.  I think our body is one of our greatest treasures and should be well cared for. Besides, the physical is the the first pillar of a solid human foundation. The four pillars are: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. As they are all chained together, when you work and improve one, it has a positive impact on the others too.
So now is the perfect opportunity to set a goal, and my goal is to keep the current weight (about 75Kgs) but to lower my body fat percentage. By the scientific method of seeing pictures of bodies with different percentages and comparing with myself, i can’t be far from the 25% percent. So the goal is around 15% body fat percentage.

The Exercise Program

Disclaimer, this is my own program. I spent some time experimenting what works for me and what doesn’t. Also, it addresses lots of personal variables, as time, more vs less crowded equipments at the gym, available items, hate of abdominal crunches, etc… you can take some ideas, but beware I’m not in any way an exercise expert, so don’t do anything that can hurt your health.

Weekly Program: 4 sessions (running, swimming, 2 times at gym). The order is irrelevant, and can change from week to week.

1 – A 10k, easy sub 60m run. But with some sprints to put the heart in high revs to burn off the accumulated particulate (actually the purpose of the sprints is to become more efficient runner by working above the lactate threshold). This is the primary cardio workout.

2 – A 45m swimming session in the pool. Just to swim non-stop at an easy pace. This is the main stretch, balance and relaxing training session. It also activates the muscles that can be left behind in the gym.

3 – A couple sessions in the gym. Maximum 50m each session.

Day 1
5m warmup: easy rowing/ciclyng and joints rotations

Shoulders (light weight as warmup follow-up)
Lateral Raise DB – 2×10 (lateral deltoid)
Alternating Front Raise DB – 2×10 (anterior deltoid)

Bench Press 3 sets of 12,10 and 8
Incline bench press, 3 sets of 12,10 and 8
Flies, 3 sets of 12,10,8 reps or
Dips, 3×10

CGBP EZBar 4×10
French Press 4×10

Myotatic Crunch and
Superset of 3×10

Day 2
5m warmup: easy rowing/ciclyng and joints rotations

Shoulders (light weight as warmup follow-up)
Lateral Raise DB – 2×10 (lateral deltoid)
Rear Lateral Raise DB – 2×10 (posterior deltoid)

Cable pulldown 12,10,8
Pull-ups 15 (in many sets has needed)
Seated rows 12,10,8
Deadlifts 3×10

Stand Up or Seated Curl 4×10
EZ Bar Curl 4×10 or
Preacher BB Curl 4×10
Hammer DB Curl 3×10

Myotatic Crunch and
Superset of 3×10

Actually the hidden and true goal, is to stick with this the 12 weeks. To have the strength and discipline to follow this calendar (even in the no good mood days, brain off days, rainy days, etc). In every way, with or without visible results, it will build a stronger version of myself by doing it. So help me God.

W1: R G2 G1 S24
W2: R G2 G1 S40
W3: R G2 G1 S10 (Xmas Week)
W4: G2 R G1 S26 (New Year Week)
W5: G2 G1 R S30
W6: G2 G1 S30 R
W7: G2 S24 G1

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.

David Herbert Lawrence