05 July 2016 – The Truth About Instagram & The Perfect Body Type

I’m going to be completely straightforward with our readers... I have never really had body issues. Sure, there are certain things about me that I’m not completely fond of: my nose is pointier than I would like it to be, my butt looks flat in tight jeans and with my broad shoulders, there are only a few types of dress that don’t make me look like the Hulk. But, I’ve never actively sought out diets to lose weight. I’ve always been skinny. When I was no longer skinny, I was lean and now I would definitely call myself muscular. It’s partly genetics combined with a lot of hard work. 

Maybe it is for this reason that I always struggle to understand when I hear the beautiful women that I work with regularly lament about not being able to get the perfect body, or asking about how they can fight against cellulite, or why they can’t seem to get visible abs.

Even more difficult for me to understand... it has come to my attention that women are no longer comparing themselves to the models in magazines (that was so 10 years ago, and everyone is familiar with photoshop and the power of airbrush now!). Instead, they’re comparing themselves to the photos posted on the completely spontaneous, real time, real life, auto-biographical social media tool of our day, Instagram.

Well kids, let me tell you…

The Truth About Instagram

I’m relatively new to Instagram, so like I said before, I was so shocked to hear from so many of my clients when they started to compare themselves to the photos of sports bra and booty short-clad gym goers, mid-sesh, glowing from just the perfect amount of sweat, but not enough sweat to muss their eye make-up. And even more shocked when they asked the question, "Why can’t I look like that??" So, I decided to do some research in to why you might not look like that. Guess what I found out? It’s because IT’S NOT ALWAYS REAL

It turns out, Instagram is our generation’s beauty magazine. The perfectly poised models in the glossy adverts have been replaced by seemingly everyday people, but just like in the beauty magazines, odds are high, they’re still trying to sell you something: the outfit they’re wearing, the diet they’re on, or the super duper supplements they’re taking. In Instagram photos, just like in the beauty magazines, you can adjust the angle of the camera, the angle of your body, and you can take the photo A BAJILLION times until you're perfectly happy with how you look. You can manipulate the time of day you take it, the lighting in the room, how far along you are in your workout, etc. To take it to the absolute extreme, I did a quick google search using the terms “apps to make you look skinny”, just to see what happened. WOWZA. From ‘Spring’, ’Make me Thin’ to ‘Body Plastic Surgery’ and every air-brushing, tan-giving, filter gallery in between.

Now, please don’t take this as me saying that every photo on Instagram is staged or re-touched. There are loads of athletes, body builders, and models out there, both male and female, who work very hard to be in the shape they’re in and far be it from me to say they shouldn’t celebrate the fruits of their labour via social media. Some of them write motivational posts that inspire their followers to train more and take better care of themselves, which I am all for; however, before you start comparing yourself to these people and potentially even putting yourself down, I beg of you, take these photos with a massive pinch of salt. Sometimes, there’s more to that semblance of perfection than meets the eye.

What is the perfect body type?

From left to right: Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Fittest Woman on Earth, 2014; Katrin Davidsdottir, Fittest Woman on Earth, 2015; Samantha Briggs, Fittest Woman on Earth, 2013

Check this little photo collage of the last three women who won the CrossFit Games. Some are short, some are taller. Some have chocolate block abs, and some have no visible abs at all. Some have jacked shoulders and quads for days, and some don’t. So which of these athletes, who are all at the very top of their game, have the perfect body type?

All of them. 

Jamie Hagiya, Fifth Place, 2016 California Regional, earning her first tripto the CrossFit Games.

First time Games competitor Jamie Hagiya said it herself perfectly:

My body does not look like all the other #crossfitgames female athletes with crazy ripped abs and zero body fat on their stomachs. I wish I could look like that, but I've come to the realization that this is my body. I work my ass off in training everyday. I eat clean for the most part, but am human and love to indulge in dessert every now and then. I'm in the best shape of my life and still don't have a six pack. Not even close to a 4 lol.
Some of it is genetics and the other part is I could eat less calories to try to look like everyone else. But the bottom line is I need to eat to perform. I can't worry about trying to look like a "Games" athlete because having a six pack doesn't always make for the best athlete.
So for anyone who thinks they need to look a certain way to be a Regionals or Games competitor, you don't. Stay on the grind and keep doing you!

She said it perfectly, but I want to expand upon it. Your body is your most useful tool and your most powerful weapon to get through this thing called life. Your body type is perfect FOR YOU if you can get from it what you want to achieve with your life, regardless of if you can count how many abs you have or not. BOOM.  

Coming up next time: The Myths behind the Muscles

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Strength/Aerobic Method: Box squat

A1) Every 2 minutes, for 14 minutes (7 sets), complete 3 reps
A2) Back squat: 3-5 x 10 @ 45%1RM @ tempo 2020, rest exactly 60 seconds between sets

B) Conditioning

2014 Regional Event 5

10 rounds for time of:
1 Legless rope climb, 15ft
Sprint, 200 ft