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The Silver Screen Physique and Why You Should Be Wary of It

11/02/2019

A year ago, Lep Fitness recommended two keys to achieving fitness goals. They are counselling and self-development, and they are extremely useful in any health and fitness quest.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to be wary of the physiques you see on the silver screen. Movies, whether fair to say or not, romanticise a certain image of the human body — chiselled, thin, curves in all the right places, and pretty much near-perfect.

The Silver Screen Physique and Why You Should Be Wary of It
Ripped, muscular bodies everywhere

These idealised physiques are most frequently seen in superhero movies, like last year’s Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.

There’ll be even more this year, including the much-hyped Avengers: Endgame and the reboot of Hellboy. From the heroes to the villains, the body types you see are perfect. Now, these physiques are not actually impossible to achieve. There are even so-called superhero workouts that promise a ripped body, with publications like Men’s Health providing routines inspired by onscreen heroes.

There is, for instance, the Batman workout, Captain America’s six-pack circuit, and Thor’s “godly” bulk-up regime. Along with these workouts are strict diets because working out isn’t the only secret to a superhero body.

Esquire contributor Jamie Carson tried the Thor way for a week, working out and eating like Chris Hemsworth. The results were encouraging, with Carson’s upper body showing improved definition, his shoulders rounding out, and his abs starting to show just a little bit. Four to five more months of doing the same and Carson might be well on his way to looking like Thor.

Therein lies the rub. These superhero bodies aren’t exactly sustainable, especially for the everyday man — the one who needs to work for a living and has no access to the world’s best around-the-clock trainers, nutritionists, chefs, and supplements.

A peek at the Thor workout

When you become enamoured with the physiques you see in movies, the tendency is to aim for that romanticised body type. What happens then, generally, is that you’ll try hard for a few weeks. But when you don’t start seeing results, there’s a good chance you’ll be discouraged by the punishing regime. Ultimately, you’ll find yourself right back to where you started, aiming for the near impossible once more, then failing again, and again.

It is not made any easier by the fact that it is hard to avoid seeing these romanticised physiques as they are quite commonplace. If you are interested in any form of pop culture you are likely to see body types similar to Thor and Captain America across film, TV, and in music videos.

Even games will most likely feature a hero with a chiselled body. While the Super Heroes game on digital platform Sandlot is not related to any official comic book label, it still retains the same elements of the genre, including characters with perfect physiques.

Therefore the motivation to have six-pack abs and well-defined muscles is everywhere, unconsciously influencing us. An article on superhero bodies from Healthline notes that this obsession in turn increases the pressure on people to achieve these fabulous physiques, and is actually counterproductive.

The tendency is you’ll hold yourself hostage to an unrealistic goal, and that will make things even more difficult, to the point that working out and eating right becomes more of a burden than a positive lifestyle.

Now, that’s not to say it’s wrong to set lofty goals, or to find fitspiration from superheroes. But you ought to temper your expectations, and be open to setting smaller, more attainable goals. Those smaller goals may eventually lead you to the body and fitness level you desire.

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