New Year’s eve. The time for resolutions. Of course “resolutions” is a misnomer. Pretty much everyone has a resolution of the same type: lose weight, or the more extreme version “get ripped”.
Our society lauds the sculpted body, especially those that used to be obese, the “ripped again”. They star in late-night advertisements, adorn the walls of the local gym, and their selfies dominate our social media feeds. In heralding them as models of human spirit we ignore the reality: these people have a problem with exercise, which we ought discourage through “fit-shaming”.
Now, if your bizarrely toned body is in aid of a physical job or your love of sports, great. If you’re trying be a bit healthier rather than a Spartan specimen of human perfection, all the best.
However, if you want to have rock hard abs and gigantic arms, just because, you’re a weirdo.
People do not just get ripped. It requires extraordinary commitment. You have to build the muscles with regular weight lifting. Then you have to drop the fat with extreme cardio (possibly an hour a day) and a serious low calorie diet (no sugar, no beer, no fun).
Spending endless hours exercising in a world with so many amazing books to read, art to see, natural wonders to absorb, people to meet, and delicacies to try is not a sign of health but rather a sign of sickness.
About now the ripped people (if they even had time in between work outs to read this far) are objecting: but being strong is useful! This is true. Being strong can be useful. Strong quads means we can stand-up, a core means we can hold ourselves upright. But I’ve never heard any medical practitioner equate being ripped as necessary to good health.
I’m sure you can do incredible things, like lifting furniture above your head, which might be useful if someone ever challenges you to a furniture lifting competition. I’m sure you can plank for hours, which will come in handy when your family needs a park bench in a pinch. But lets face it, your high definition six-pack and associated extras are mainly fashion accessories.
It would be remiss of me to omit one of the main uses of abs: scoring with the opposite sex. For men and women fit and healthy people are attractive.