Theme of the Week: Insane Narcissism at Bodypower Expo, Self-Reflection on My Body Goals, & Being Owned by My Obsessive Perfectionism
Interesting week and thought provoking for me. Lots of self reflection, as I got exposed to inspiring, concerning and disappointing traits of both myself and others. Let me fill you in…
As part of the vocation and to suss out the mood/messaging/competition etc in my space, I headed up to Birmingham on Saturday to check out the Bodypower Fitness Expo that attracted a record breaking 100K+ people in 3 days.
In the Gym, I’m feeling really good at the moment – starting to increase my time efficiency, be less distracted and hit a new Back Squat PB of 140Kg for 5 (4+ sets). It’s on AdapNation Instagram, if you’re interested. 😉
I’ve also been working on cementing the foundations of the Perfect Day & Week that I designed last just recently (see W18 Body & Mind Journal for a teaser, with a full piece coming out shortly). Some lessons learned though, as my default obsessive behaviour to keep improving something flared up this week – causing me to be considerably derailed from my overall productivity plans, by pouring hours of attention and focus on two tasks! D’oh – I hope to learn and improve.
The Annual Bodypower Expo, Birmingham – Narcissism Hell!
If you’re in the fitness space or a keen enthusiast, you’ll absolutely know about this event. Ten years ago, it attracted 8,000 people, with a focus on the diehard weightlifters who were typically heavier set and focussed on getting massive and strong. Fast forward to today, and it attracts 100,000+ people. Meteoric rise in popularity, in large fuelled by the accessibility of strength training for men and women, CrossFit, Barbell training and absolutely Social Media.
It Was Great…
It was great to see so much hype and interest in fitness and having fit bodies. Hey, much better to see that proactivity than the rising epidemic proportions of Obesity and Chronic Diseases. Plus, for me, it was reassuring to see whilst it is still a niche, the niche of fitness/health enthusiasts is growing exponentially – good for business!b👍
But (and it’s a BIG But!)…
However, I was kinda sickened by the whole thing. I had not prepared myself for what was the worse case of narcissism, ego and peacocking I could ever imagine. Damn, if this was a snapshot of what we would all become, I would want to move planets! It’s hard to describe it – maybe some of the pics below help. Basically, 80%+ of the attendees were in gym gear – women in tight Gymshark gear or guys in vests (or worse walking around without tops). Why?! They weren’t going to have a workout!
The women were caked in makeup. The guys were walking around flexing their biceps. It wreaked of vulnerability, fake confidence and a huge need for attention. It’s like most people there thought they were going to get scouted, pick up a sponsorship deal and get a million instagram followers. Then there were all the Physique competitors that looked fatigued, ill and a little desperate to be liked – all looking tangoed with bronzer and focused solely on themselves. Honestly, it was kinda pathetic and deeply worrying. 😔
Companies Fuelling the Ego
From a trade perspective, it was just as bad. Almost all the booths/stands where selling protein powders and shakes. I was gobsmacked by how many protein companies there were. The reality is, Protein powder and supplements do shit for your physique on their own – they just help fill the holes in your diet if your training intensely and, for example, you don’t eat enough protein whole foods. However, there was a sense that this next new Protein shake or cookie was going to make you jacked. BS!
The ‘Athletes’ – Mega-Stardom Status
I am being somewhat unfair to air quote these guys as being athletes. Many of the guys and girls clearly work incredibly hard and are great at what they do to have the bodies they have. They are at the top of their game, being able to master movement, training and nutrition to get their physiques (albeit some absolutely take drugs). But, for the most part, I would not associate them as athletes. They are not competing to win a performance and/or skill contest. They are training to get 20,000 likes on instagram, sell more programmes/Protein and get sponsorship deals.
Look, I have respect for anyone who creates wealth and opportunity for themselves. I continue to get inspired and happy for those who created their own luck and fortune – even if their value to the world is less pure and/or somewhat lacking. Good for them for making it happen.
The ‘Athletes’ – But, Where Have All Your Muscles Gone?!
What was really eye opening was that some of these guys, the ones which have massive, vascular and shredded physiques on Instagram looked kinda average in the flesh. Of course, standing up next to them I would look tiny, but they didn’t look impressive for the most part. Where was the rock hard biceps, all the veins, the incredible definition and the sheer size you see online? The reality is, being photoshoot ready is a near impossible thing to maintain both from a food intake, nutrition, training and water intake standpoint. Plus, and probably the most important, without the right lighting, grease on your skin, tensed posing, perfect angles and photo ‘enhancements’, these guys and gals just look kinda normal. Especially clothed. That begs the question – is it worth all the effort?…
Amongst the Noise, There Was Some Valuable Signal
Don’t get me wrong. There were a couple of valuable brands selling an honest, informative and realistic message, but very very few. That said, there was also a relatively strong line up of industry leaders contributing to an education track over the three days – both presentation and physical demonstrations. Some good stuff.
In Summary – Concerning… But Personally Encouraging
It was concerning and encouraging. Concerning in terms of how the industry plus social media is fuelling an increased level of narcissism – in it’s own right it is becoming an epidemic in our modern society, Encouraging inasmuch as the interest for fitness and health is exploding, within an already $80bn industry, and there is little in the way of balance between physique and mental and nutritional vitality. The current trajectory of this industry will make more people depressed than happy, and therefore there is absolutely an opportunity to offer a different, more holistic and healthier message which adds value and creates true fulfilment whilst being the best you you can be, physique and all.
So, What Does This Mean For Me & My Body Goals?
Let’s be straight – this is a weekly blog on my progress to building my best body possible, but it’s equally a window into how I am developing my mind and controlling my productivity in general. As a reminder, my Body Goals were described in detail and visually at the beginning of the year in An Intro — Steve’s Body ‘Journey’ and 2018 Goals.
So how do I feel after having a visceral reaction last weekend and having complete conviction that these people were not who I wanted to be identified as?
I’ve given that some thought. Here’s where I am at:
#1 – Having A Well-Performing & Good Looking Body Is STILL Important To Me
I’d be lying if I said anything different. As stated previous, I am absolutely NOT developing my body for others or to be liked/accepted. I am doing this for myself. A sense of achievement and ownership of outcomes. Time and time again you see entrepreneurs and successful people have a strong physical training component of their lives. It creates more energy and strength mentally and physically, and brings longevity.
Having a body I am proud of is satisfying, and is part of the mix of me feeling that I am owning my happiness and health. So, I won’t be hanging up the weight belt just yet…
#2 – I Love A Target, Purposefully Calculated Action & Achieving Bold Goals
This is clearly why I’ve enjoyed the success I have in my selling career. I love a bold goal to chase – i.e. I Iive for the pursuit and the process. To be maniacal in the pursuit – put in more effort, brainpower and finesse than most and you get rewarded accordingly. This is just how I am built. The goals as outlined in An Intro — Steve’s Body ‘Journey’ and 2018 Goals still have meaning to me, but this is less to do with promoting AdapNation (albeit it will help to a degree), but more that it is a bold goal to achieve naturally. It will require dedication, consistency, strength of mind, a focus on nutrition and recovery, and a level of increased intensity that gets me going.
#3 – I’m NOT willing to put in the effort and sacrifice to be Perfect!
There are a couple issues with my Body Goals though. Even if I can pull off this look in a photoshoot, there is NO WAY I will look like this normally. Am I happy with the ‘normal’ side of what this physique would look like when not in greased-up posing mode? Secondly, there is a good chance I can get 80-90% towards my goal in terms of measurements and aesthetics. But, it may be that to get 100%, I will need to make so many social and nutritional sacrifices that it would make me emotionally beaten uo and lacking the energy to perform in life.
That is a redline for me – I am not gearing up for a one-off photoshoot. I want a sustainable physique I am proud of, that is an expression of my dedication and work ethic. I don’t want to mess up so many other areas of my life in the pursuit of ‘perfect’. No way.
#4 – Physique Is Just One Of My Passions To Optimise. There’s A Much Bigger Picture For Me
As hopefully it is becoming clear through the direction of AdapNation, physique is not my only goal in life. Far from it!
In a nutshell, I want to thrive as a human being, love the life I have with my family, and make the biggest positive impact I can on others – supporting them to live an their best life too. That means I have Wellness Goals, Mindset Goals, Family Goals, Business Goals and Impact Goals… all on top of my Physique Goals. The beauty with turning up rain or shine and training in the Gym, is that it has massive carryover mentally to all my other goals.
I Want My Cake & To Eat It!
I know, it can sound like I want my cake and eat it. DAMN RIGHT! I don’t agree with the notion that I have to choose which of these goals I wish to attain. I absolutely know that there is no such thing as balance if you want to create greatness – some things need to be temporarily de-prioritised in order to achieve big things. Think about serial entrepreneurs, Olympic Athletes, Sports stars – they make a ton of social, family and development sacrifices to focus on their One Thing.
That said, you can choose to be fulfilled and organise your mind and time to attend to the things that matter most to you right now, with only a small drop in ultimate potential. That’s my goal in life – live a fulfilled life with no regrets and making the biggest positive impact I am capable of, whilst not trying to compete and compare myself to others’ success.
Focus For This Week
In terms of Fitness, Nutrition, Wellness and Body Goals, here’s my focus for this week:
- Cementing the Perfect Day/Week Routine – A carry on from last week. These new rules and habits are still so fresh. I need to stay focussed on making them habitual.
- Prioritising Downtime – This always gets punted when my mind gets full and the list build up. I’m losing out on moments with my family, and adding unnecessary stress.
- Building in Posing/Flexing in between my sets – There is some suggested merit to squeezing the target muscle for 10-15s between sets for extra fibre recruitment and fatigue. I’ll be playing around with this.
I’ll let you know how I get on next week… 🙂
Follow Steve’s Body & Mind Progress Journal as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer, and please keep me honest to the above.