You are more than a muscle

The impossible search for the perfect body

You are more than a muscle

The gym can be a very intimidating place for the casual exerciser, full of gym junkies with buff fit bodies and muscular testosterone-fuelled men pumping iron. For some it is their temple, their go to place when they want to switch off from the day’s endeavours or to vent the built-up frustrations that they hold in the body. It can become a place of addiction, an obsession that takes over their every waking moment, the constant pull of the body beautiful.

For others it can be a place filled with trepidation of insecurity of whether they will be judged or ridiculed for not having that attained physique many strive for.

The perception of exercise is drummed into us from an early age: at school it’s a huge part of the curriculum and yes, we do need to get school kids moving and exercising as it’s a vital part of their health and wellbeing. The problem for me is when competitive sport kicks in – where the only ones that get the accolades are those that are faster, more agile and can win – so from an early age the beauty of movement to support the body to develop and become stronger becomes a competition not only for sporting prowess but also for popularity.

No wonder as we get older we find exercise a put off or a bit of an effort; the constant not being enough in sport drains us of any motivation which has been bludgeoned out of us due to the imprints left from our earlier younger days of not being the best or seen to be the best in a chosen sport. These imprints are carried with us into our developing years.

Additionally, so much pressure to look good is fed to us constantly via social media, what we view on the numerous TV shows and what is constantly represented by celebrity bodies.

So the gym becomes a playground for intimidation for not having the same type of body as those that are driven by their own personal fears of not looking good – for not being admired or accepted in their formed social groups.

But is this true?

Are we setting ourselves up constantly to be something that we are not designed to be?

Do we have a forced perception of the perfect body?

Does a so-called perfect body make us happy?

Yes, it may get you noticed and admired but what is the admiration directed at; is it the true natural beauty and magnificence you are?

Is it directed at the love you hold others in, or is it just admiration based on the outer appearance, which in itself can be laced with jealousy and judgement?

Those that seek only recognition for the perfect body are themselves sat in the comparison of others.

Such a game we play with each other based on nothing but the outer appearance of a well-toned muscular body.

Personally I have felt all the above – that feeling of embarrassment of not having a six-pack or defined muscular arms, I certainly wanted that… I wanted to look awesome on the beach to be noticed and admired – but every time I would make any gains on the perfect body, I always stopped. I never attained the level of perfection I saw in others. So I would give up and sit miserably and rejected on my sun lounger as I admired all those that to me were perfect.

What a poisonous energy that is; a poisonous energy to which I said yes to make myself constantly feel less than everybody else.

When we let go of that projection of the perfect-ness we ‘think’ we should be – the need to be accepted as something that has worth – we start to unravel the whole game we have willingly played into.

Perfection cannot be attained even if our perception of the outer reflects otherwise.

From this realisation we can truly embrace our unique flavour of who we are and exercise in the knowing of that; it then becomes a beautiful honouring of not only the body but a deep atonement within ourselves.

Exercise is so important not only for us to feel vibrant, it allows us to truly feel the vibrancy of our body in full. We should embrace our bodies no matter the shape, size or strength: all this will be taken care of as the body responds beautifully when we first respond to it.

Embrace what is being shown by every movement and all will be revealed. We do not need to feel intimidated by others who are in the obsession of the perfect body for you already have this, it’s just calling out to you to love and nurture it and in turn your body will love and nurture you back.

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  • By Andrew Allen

  • Photography: Iris Pohl, Photographer and Videographer

    Iris Pohl is an expert in capturing images with a natural light style. Little to no time is needed for photoshop editing and the 'original' moment captured to represent your brand and remain in its authenticity.