Everywhere you look on the shelves in magazines, or on social media, all you see are these perfect bodies- people with perfect proportion, size, abs, muscle rippedness and definition. Whether you know it or not, images such as these seep in subconsciously. In fact, that is exactly what they are meant to do- persuade, influence, advertise, and sell. And they do indeed. Compelling photos of perfect looking people certainly attract buyers.
But is this the right perception that should be so widespread and worshiped when it comes to true health, fitness, and wellness? What you don’t see behind all the sensational imagery is what really goes on behind those seemingly perfect bodies- injections, illegal pills, hgh, and harmful supplements, all of which are not “truly” what living healthy and fit are all about.
This is important because it has an impact on culture- not just the culture of the industry, but on the culture of society. We live in a very superficially based culture- a culture in which what you look like is more important than anything, even if it meant taking drugs, pills, and hgh to do so. In other words, even if it meant “cheating” and harming your body.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this kind of approach is exactly the opposite of what “health and fitness” are all about.
It’s a culture of “quick fixes” that often lead to long term regrets. It’s doubtful the regret sinks in right away. In fact, many drug abusers probably have no regrets in the moment while gaining the perfect body, being on the cover of magazines, gaining fame and recognition, etc. But the message they are sending to society is one that should be scrutinized and one that definitely should not be followed and is not truly representative of health and fitness, which is what they are selling.
In addition, they are actually taking away jobs and earnings from many professionals who do not resort to cheating and illegal, harmful drug use. In this sense, it is exactly like pro sports- the most achieving person gets paid the most amount of money, wins the starting position, gets the accolades, etc.. The players who don’t earn less, get less credit, and are not as well known.
It leads to the Ryan Braun and Lance Armstrong of the sports industries, the Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, and others- people who shoot illegal drugs to win the award, the trophy, or the prestige and glory, which leads to more money and credit, while the others who don’t or didn’t cheat, and don’t have the bombastic exaggerated numbers, are barely existent, or credited. You would wonder who would win and gain the credit, or perform the best, if the field were leveled and noone truly cheated or used PED’s.
It is like that in the fitness industry and bodybuilding/figure world. There is no doubt that the fitness world is a good thing- it produces good habits, active living, inspiring others to exercise, and champion caliber athletes who inspire others to be the best they can be. But you have to wonder, much like with other sports, if deception is the accurate depiction to spread this message.
Back in the early 1900s, while bodybuilding was still in its’ infant stages, you rarely saw overly-enhanced bodies that appeared too good to be real. But in the same sense, that is why they were better-they were natural and more aesthetic. You could tell the people who graced covers and magazines really earned their results through pure dedication, hard work, and natural strategies. This was bodybuilding and fitness at its’ finest, in pure form, and probably more inspirational and for the better as a result.
You could go as far as to say it’s a lot of false advertising, and you would probably be mostly right- those bodies aren’t the way they are by anything natural, probably not the supplements they’re promoting, and no, you definitely have no shot of obtaining a physique like that even if you spent hours a day and years in the gym- unless you took steroids or drugs.
But it’s more than that. It’s deception. And this spreads the wrong message because there is nothing deceptive about the truly natural benefits of weightlifting, nutrition dieting, living active, and exercise, living a fitness lifestyle. Most of the best results are internal or more abstract- better quality of life, more energy, increased longevity, increased brain power, prevention of common sedentary lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, increased mood, improved strength, improved feeling of well being, and a nice slim, toned body you won’t be afraid to show off at the beach.
Unfortunately, the fitness industry continues to promote and sell perfectly artificially enhanced bodies, and in the process, depicts the wrong idea to society. If not only glamorizing cheating, they also prevent good, honest hardworking athletes and professionals from gracing covers, and sharing their wisdom- wisdom that comes from doing it naturally. In this, the truth gets buried in the superficial, and what was once born of a solid message of the benefits of exercise and weightlifting becomes a corrupted and polluted version of the original purpose.
It’s amazing what might be when imagining what the sports and fitness industries would be like without steroids. Perhaps, a lot more “real”. Here’s a website elaborating the difference between simple steroids and legal steroids in great detail.
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