Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Definition of Beauty

I realized something important today ... not everyone has the same ideal of "beauty" as I do. Ok, that may seem like an obvious statement, but it's something I don't stop to think about very often. As I get more and more involved in the fitness and bodybuilding industry, I'm surrounded by more people who view beauty as I do - a strong, muscular physique. We encourage and support training hard and dieting strictly. We see nothing odd about going to the bathroom 15 times a day, drinking over a gallon of water each day, spending more than 2 hours at the gym every night, and packing our cooler with us everywhere we go. To us, that's "normal." But apparently to others, it's weird.

Today when a co-worker discovered that I train like a bodybuilder, she started asking me questions about different exercises. She patted the backs of her arms and asked how she could get rid of "the jiggle." When I asked if she had any dumbbells at home, she said she did, and then proceeded to demonstrate how she uses them by doing mimicking bicep curls. I told her that that exercise would build her biceps, and pointed to my biceps. She immediately shook her head and informed me that she didn't want to build that at all. She just didn't want her arms to jiggle. I was baffled that anyone would NOT want to train their biceps! Aren't biceps beautiful? Who wouldn't want them?!

She then pointed to her glute/hamstring tie-in and asked how she could tighten up that area. When she hit a yoga pose to demonstrate how she "trains" that area, I realized I was talking with someone whose lifestyle is completely foreign to me. It's been so long since I've talked with anyone who isn't intimately familiar with each muscle group and how to work them.

I showed her some glute kickbacks, and then suggested she buy a stretchy band and follow some of the exercises in the booklet that comes with it. When she later asked what exercises she could do for her ankles, and I suggested calf raises to build the calves to make her ankles appear smaller, she immediately rejected that idea. She had no interest in building any leg muscle. I was so confused. How could anyone NOT want to build muscle?? Who doesn't want to have shapely legs and arms??

And that's when I realized that I have a completely different view of "beautiful." I admire strong, muscular, yet shapely physiques. I admire people who work hard in the gym to get stronger, bigger, faster, leaner. To me, a strong, healthy physique says a lot about a person. It demonstrates a good work ethic, dedication, determination, and most of all, discipline. All traits that I admire and find beautiful.

I'm comfortable with my perspective of "beautiful," yet I can also respect other opinions. I know that not everyone finds muscles attractive, and while I don't understand it, I can respect their differing opinion. I was just caught off guard today by a different viewpoint, most likely because I've chosen to surround myself with people who hold similar views as I do.

My co-worker is excited about her new exercises to reduce jiggle, and I'm excited to hit the stage next weekend and display a strong, muscular, lean physique. Two different goals, two different ideals of "beautiful."


  1. I think we definitely tend to forget that those viewpoints exist out in the world because for the most part, we surround ourselves with people who share our vision of beauty. The lucky ones among us are exposed to people who, like you, can appreciate the alternate definition without disregarding it as wrong, misguided or stupid.

  2. I always think that way. If im looking at Oxygen mag for example in the lunch room...the women i eat with are like, eww...why would you want to look like that? And my response is, "i would die to look like that!" LOL!

    It amazes me how peoples perception of beauty can be so different! Im just glad mine is right ;) LOL!

  3. This is so true! I love your blog and would love to exchange links with you! My blog is Let me know what you think!! I added your link to my list!

    Amy Layne