Bodybuilding can be a wonderful endeavor. It can teach discipline, planning and engrain fantastic work ethics. It can breed confidence and improve self-esteem, not to mention create a healthy body.
Bodybuilding is probably the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth! Yet even with all these benefits, bodybuilding can be a source of discouragement and even depression for many aspiring lifters. This is a result of what I call the "Unfair Comparison."
After picking up any magazine or surfing the web, a bodybuilder is confronted with images of athletes so far beyond his/her current state of development that it breeds a sense of failure. They wonder what they are doing wrong, what they should do differently, or worse, if they should give up.
This frustration can lead to unhealthy habits. A person in this mental state is easily influenced, and big companies realize this. Supplement companies spend fortunes on ad layouts as big as small books to hook people just like our disgruntled Average Joe.
The flashy images and catchy phrases play on his already hyped up emotions and bang, he throws down his money on the quick fix. Trainers and authors also get in on the scam by promoting workouts that would kill an elephant.
Suddenly the Average Joe finds himself neglecting other aspects of his life to make time for three-hour workouts and a supplement budget that prevents any extracurricular activities. If you have ever skipped spring break because you would miss workouts or because you need to put that traveling money into the latest wonder supplement, you know this insanity.
I realize that most budding lifters recognize that most of the bodybuilders featured in magazine are avid drug users. People aren't stupid. But they are victims of saturation.
This saturation is the constant bombardment of images of folks who possess great bodies - most of them who don't necessarily look like pro bodybuilders, but nonetheless have physiques that exceed those of Mr. America winners a few decades ago, which are everywhere. They are not just athletes; they are TV and movie stars, and their pictures surround us.
It is this massive number of individuals who are really fooling the public; they are also enhanced, just not to the degree of the pro bodybuilder. These images have slowly pervaded our society to the point that the Average Joe now takes them for granted, and assumes they are just the product of hard work.
LiftRite Video Series Episode 5: Measuring Body Parts!
Watch The Video - 04:43
These are people that are promoting the silent ignorance that poisons the lifters who are down, who are often young and impressionable. He or she understands that the Mr. Olympia contestants are not naturally built, but do not understand why so many seemingly typical people look so much better than they do. After all the back breaking work in the gym, the Average Joe feels his body should at least be somewhere between the movie star and Mr. Olympia.
It is time for a return of sanity to the realm of physical fitness. This can be accomplished with knowledge. The Average Joe needs a means of Fair Comparison.
He or she needs to understand that there is no means of legitimate comparison between a natural lifter and even those slightly enhanced. Yes, the drugs make that much of a difference. What is scary is this question: If the drugs make that much of a difference in your physique, what affect are they having upon your health? That is a question that cannot be fully answered at this time.
What can be addressed is the means of measuring the progress of natural lifters versus other natural lifters in an unbiased, mathematical fashion. This information has been available for decades but has been lost in the marketing shuffle; now you can utilize it to accurately gauge your own progress.
Measure Your Progress
The best way to accurately determine your state of development is with the simple tape measure. It isn't perfect, but it can tell you all you need to know. Bodybuilding magazines abound with claims of twenty inch arms and thirty inch thighs, most of which are bogus, leading to confusion and frustration.
The chart below will present the truth. The numbers below will look puny in comparison to the claims of drug using athletes but they are real. These are remarkably accurate averages compiled from measurements of thousands of individuals.
They represent optimal development in highly trained natural athletes and should be respected. Most men will never attain these numbers without years of hard work but they are realistic goals. Note that each measurement is based from wrist girth, which should be obtained at its smallest point (all units are in inches).i
These are top measurements, remember. After looking at these numbers, our Average Joe suddenly feels a lot better about himself. And he should. Few things are more deserving of respect than a person who has committed the time and effort to building a natural physique to its maximum.
One last point to clarify: I don't care about any of the people displayed anywhere who are obviously enhanced. What I do care about is the well being of so many lifters who feel terrible about themselves after being compared to the images they see so often. They shouldn't feel negative toward themselves; to the contrary they should feel a sense of pride that only comes from a job well done.
They should realize that the numbers listed above represent actual hard work which they are responsible for, not some chemical. It is time for sanity to return to this game, perhaps starting with the information presented here.
Print Your Own Body Part Measurement Log here
- McCallum, John. The Complete Keys to Progress.
- Dennis B. Weiss. http://dennisbweis.com/charts.html.
- i. McCallum, John. Pages 256-257.