Podcast - Bodybuilding: Health vs. Aesthetic
Updated: Oct 14
In this episode, I talk about bodybuilding and my idea of what bodybuilding means.
Please listen below, and drop a comment if you have anything to add.
Episode: Bodybuilding: Health vs Aesthetic
The following is a transcript from Dr Okojie’s Movement is Medicine podcast. Book your appointment with Doctor O today.
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Movement is Medicine podcast. I'm your host, Doctor Okojie.
On today's episode, I want to focus on bodybuilding and my idea of that, and what that means, and kind of my philosophy about that. Being a personal trainer, teaching yoga teaching group exercise classes, being a physician being in the anti-aging world, the number one thing that I've seen both males and females is people want to look a certain way: aesthetics is king! It's a billion-dollar industry- people will take pills, topicals, inject themselves, do extreme types of workouts , all to look a certain way. And what I found is that most people, my clientele is range between 30 and 60, most people who come in, especially in the Personal Training and Fitness world, they want to lose fat first, as you might imagine. But it's often in a particular area of their body.
So for example, I'll have a guy come in and he's like, over in, let's say, he's 50 years old, over the past five to 10 years I put on you know, this spare tire, this fat, this adiposity around the midsection. And he wants to lose that, and I'll ask them, you know, what are you doing, you know. He says, “I eat right, I'm doing paleo. I've been doing keto I drink water exercise three to four times a day, I go to bed on time, you know, I have all my normal life stresses, but I don't get it, I just shouldn't have this fat around my midsection, I just got, I just want to lose it. I do 1000 crunches a day I bought this plan; I bought that plan”. And it's not working for them. And what I've come to realize is that this is a very typical type of patient or client. And what I've come to realize is that's bodybuilding.
When people want to have a particular aesthetic, for whatever reason, and it's targeted. That's by definition, what a bodybuilder is. People who compete in bodybuilding or know anything about bodybuilding know that these folks spend a ridiculous amount of time energy and money on trying to gain a particular aesthetic. They want the long head of the tricep to show a particular way when they move their arm and the way the light hits it. They want all four of their quadricep muscles to be prominent and visible. They want every single muscle of the rectus abdominus to have dominance to be poking out when the light hits it. That's bodybuilding.
And I think what I've come to realize, and I think what most people are starting to realize that it takes a lot of time, energy and focus to get that aesthetic. This is totally separate from health and longevity and quality of life. Because you lift up your shirt and I can see your eight pack: that that is that's not a direct correlation to how healthy you are. A great number of these people who come in and want to lose fat in that particular area, I'll run their bloodwork and it looks great. They they're not pre diabetic, they're not diabetic, their lipid panel looks great, the thyroid is functioning properly, their iron levels are good, they don't have any infection going on. The red blood count is great. You know, all their hormones are in line, everything looks good. They just want to look a particular way.
Again, nothing to do with their actual health, nothing to do with whether or not they're going to live long, and whether or not their physiology is functioning properly. It's just a particular aesthetic. And I believe that this is a product of the times that we're living in. You know, we all have a crazy amount of screen time with social media and Netflix and looking at movie stars and actors. And now, internet stars and social media stars, who are always putting their best self forward. Who are always spending 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes, even an hour, preparing their photoshoot before they're presented in front of the world.
I think that many people who present themselves on social media, it's just that: it's just a presentation, it's just a show. It's not what they really look like. Every single person who you see on social media with their six pack or eight pack, they're posing, they're flexing. Every single thigh or nice butt that you see, the lighting in the in the cameras are angled in a certain way to not reveal their cellulite or their spider veins, their or their varicose veins. It's all a show. We're not saying these people when they first wake up in the morning when they have the eye boogers in and their breath stinks, you know, and they have that they have that gut because they drink a little bit too much after a game, anything like that. We just see them in a perfect way. And we kind of hold them up as a standard of what to look like.
So then when someone comes to see me and all their blood work is feeling good, or all their blood work is looking good. And they're feeling relatively well. But they say “Hey, Doc, you know, how do I lose this? Can I take some hormones to lose this I want to take an injection to lose this belly fat”? There's nothing wrong with that. But I just think a clear distinction has to be made between health and an aesthetic. And like I said, that's bodybuilding.
So back to my client, the 50 year old guy who wants to lose that five to 10 pounds around his midsection, and his bloodwork look looks good and he's healthy. He's just kind of obsessed about this. He has to go into that bodybuilding mindset. He has to diet a particular way he has to, he has to drink water at certain times he has to do a particular type of exercise increases intensity and sustain that for a long time. Because again, it has nothing to do with his health. He's trying to paint a picture. Just think of it as a painter, a painter has a canvas and a paintbrush, a bodybuilder has their body is the canvas, and bands and weights and Smith machines is their paintbrush.
So in order to achieve that perfect body, that perfect aesthetic, with no fat showing, and you know, looking as ripped as possible, your mindset has to change, you have to go into that bodybuilding type of mindset. And I think oftentimes, we get caught up in seeing these beautiful, nice-looking aesthetics and thinking that that's related to health. Oftentimes, people who have the aesthetics tend not to be as healthy because the diet and the physical activity that they're doing to achieve that is not sustainable. And oftentimes, it's putting a lot of unneeded pressure on their organs. There's nothing wrong with it, they're getting their desired outcome, their desired effect. But that's separate from their health and their physiology.
So, I just kind of want to put that out there. For anybody who's listening. 99% of the people in the world, don't walk around with a six pack. 99% of the people in the world, male and female have stretch marks somewhere. A great number of people have cellulite, a great number of people have spider veins, or sun damage, or photoaging just due to living. I mean, that's part of being human. If you don't want those things, then go into that bodybuilding mindset, that bodybuilding my mind frame. Again, nothing wrong with it, you're just trying to achieve a desired aesthetic. But I would encourage everyone to make a clear distinction in their mind between a particular type of aesthetic that I saw on social media, and me actually being healthy.
Because the people who live the longest in the world weren't Instagram models! They're not going to be former bodybuilders. They're not going to be people who walked around at 50 and 60 years old with six packs. They had some fat around their body, they had some sun damage. But again, there's other parts to living long, there's other parts to being healthy. There are other parts to maintaining optimal physiology. And oftentimes, the way you look in front of your Samsung, or your Apple phone is not related to that.
So just a word of encouragement out there to everyone. You know, it's hard work and it can be challenging, certainly with the age that we live in. But just understand that most people around you aren't perfect, you're not going to have this perfect look. And I say the word perfect, and I put up the air quotes because we're changing something that's not even really real. It's not anything that's attainable, and more appropriately, it's not something that's sustainable.
And again, if you're trying to live a long, healthy life, the foundations of health are always going to be key: fruits, vegetables, healthy relationships, speaking your truth, drinking water, physical activity, and proper rest. That should be the foundation to any and everything that you do with regard to your health. And if that means you have an extra five or 10 pounds around your midsection and you live longer, I would venture to say that most people would take that as opposed to doing extreme dieting and extreme fitness and putting a lot of undue stress on themselves mentally and physically to attain a particular aesthetic.
So yeah, just a word of encouragement. I hope this helped. And tune in for the next episode of the Movement is Medicine podcast. Once again, I'm your host, Doctor Okojie. Reach out and listen to my podcast on anywhere podcasts can be heard and check out my Instagram.
I'm Doctor Okojie, okojiewellness.com is the website and talk to you guys next time!