I had a question that was a bit disturbing that I’ll share today. 

A prospective client — a nice, smart, fit guy — filled out my coaching application and then followed up with a series of questions.

He included pics of a handsome physique model, saying he loved the guy’s look and wanted it to be his end result so he could pursue modelling, which to me read like he wanted to look like him—right down to skin tone and waist-shoulder ratio.

Now, it’s perfectly okay to say, “This person’s physique inspires me,” or, “I love this guy’s proportions,” or even, “I have a similar frame, I’d like to look like that.” 

But it’s not wise or even right (at least to me) to think that even with a similar structure, great training, and years of hard work that we can ever become something we’re not meant to be.

Sounds judgmental on my part, but I worry about the mental health implications of not calling out (or tacitly endorsing) that line of thinking.

I know this line of thinking is pretty common because I’ve seen many similar comments before. It’s frustrating, because I know that this isn’t even really about aesthetics or anything like that.

Still of brad pitt in fight club

Ah yes, the example par excellence of this line of thinking.

For the most part, an aesthetic physique is a pleasing combination of a decent amount of muscle and very little bodyfat. You can control those things, and that means you can create a unique, aesthetic physique that is 100% “yours.”

But the amount of muscle and bodyfat we have is basically all we control, save for the spray tan and teeth whitening. How it all “fits together” is largely genetic. Sure, you can spend too much time on chest and ignore your legs, but you can’t change your structure.

Your structure is yours. You can’t change it; you can just add muscle to it. A muscle can only grow. And with apologies to Team Biceps Peak, you can’t change a muscle’s shape, either.

So I replied with, “I can only help you be the best you can be,” and while it sounds like a lame slogan from an after-school special, it’s the truth. 

A good coaching plan + hard work + sustained dedication can make you something special. (Add a willing doctor and a pharmacy and you can be, well, “special on steroids.”)

But it can’t make you into someone else.

I signed off by saying to be careful, that if any coach says they can help accomplish his goals that he should turn around and run.

But I also know that someone has probably already taken his money. 

– Coach Bryan