Often times we hear of certain ailments, both minor and major, that afflict our members of the iron fraternity. These ailments can range from something as simple as irritating elbow pain when pressing to completely torn and shredded muscles when we push past our limits. One affliction you rarely hear about and is not commonly shared amongst our members is Muscle Dysmorphia. What is muscle dysmorphia you ask? Well it’s the lack of mental clarity and recognition of a well-developed physique. When someone who is muscular looks into the mirror and sees a reflection less than what they really are, that’s muscle dysmorphia. Here are five signs that may determine whether or not you have this problem.
**note: I am not a doctor nor do I have the right to diagnose anything of serious nature. This article is purely for entertainment value only.
It’s common practice worldwide for bodybuilders and also the general public to try on clothes to see how they fit on them. That’s nothing out of the ordinary. Here’s when we start to get into problems; when a 250lb bodybuilder puts on a certain shirt and determines that for whatever reason (whether it be the cut, style etc.) that particular shirt makes them look small. It hides the development of the delts or lowers the height of their traps, doesn’t have sleeves tight enough to show off upper arm size or hangs like a tarp relinquishing any and all muscular shape. When someone who is 250lbs of well-built muscle thinks this, there’s a problem. How can anyone of that size look small, regardless of their height? If you are one of these people, you suffer from muscle dysmorphia.
Watch any bodybuilder alive for an extended period of time and I guarantee you will eventually catch them checking themselves out in either a mirror or something else that casts a reflection. Often times you will see this occur when in a parking lot. There’s a great reason for this; the reflection cast in the window or side panel of a car makes you look huge! It’s exactly what you have always envisioned and hoped you would eventually look like. So why are we constantly looking for glimpses of ourselves in the mirror or other reflective material such as window panes and even sunglasses? For confirmation that we look as good as we think (hope) we do.Once again, another great example of muscle dysmorphic insecurity shining through and guiding our journey.
How long do your workouts usually last? An hour, hour and a half, two hours, more? How many sets of biceps curls do you actually think it takes for growth to occur? There’s such a thing as overdoing it and those of us out there who have that unrealistic viewpoint of what we actually look like will succumb to the marathon workout. The hope is that the more we do, the quicker we will see results. This idea has led countless trainers to spend undue time in the gym when they would have been better served by going home, eating and the going to sleep. The endless pursuit of instant muscle gratification often is the reason for the downfall of their efforts.
Feeling puny and weak is the last thing a bodybuilder ever wants to experience and if you know anything about this game you understand how important nutrition is to the whole process. With that said there are foods out there that are more calorie rich than others (both good and bad) and having this option available to some will cause a case of overeating when trying to remedy the problem of looking small. Calories in will far supersede calories out causing for rapid gains in weight and a significant increase in body fat. Depending upon which foods you have chosen to meet your macronutrient ratio needs, you will either be setting yourself up for success or failure. Bodybuilders who suffer from muscle dysmorphia will eat anything you tell them to if instant gains are guaranteed. This unwarranted approach is bad practice and just overall a bad idea.
Supplement store owners love the dysmorphic bodybuilder. Why you ask? Well because they are the ones willing to buy anything and everything that promises to pack on additional mass. It’s literally like supplement grocery shopping watching these people in action. Now we’ve all been duped before when it comes to sports supplementation and the results that were guaranteed never came to fruition. We either took the loss, learned from it and became much more discerning about our future purchases or decided we didn’t even need that type of product after all. On the flip side, the dysmorphic bodybuilder would decide they weren’t taking enough of the product and simply go buy more; and then throw in a few more bottles of the latest and greatest product on the market.
All jokes aside, there are people out there who actually do live their lives this way. Try training with a bunch of pros and then see how you feel about yourself. Talk about insecurity. Here’s the thing; being unsatisfied with your physique to a certain degree is probably a good thing. It will be one of the driving forces that keeps you training hard and sticking with your diet. When it gets to a point where you let it run your life and you go through a dozen different looks with your wardrobe prior to heading off to the gym, you then have to realize there’s a significant problem in place. My advice is to be happy with what you’ve built but always want a little more for yourself. Remember, everyone has a unique set of genetics which will lead to a unique physique when developed.
Spend less time worrying about what others will think of you, what you wished you looked like and more time on setting and achieving the goals that will ultimately lead you to your desired physique.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, ENDEVR Athlete, SKECHERS Brand Ambassador, Sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.
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