Finding Your Physical Inspiration
When I first set out to lose my baby fat and create my dream body back in 1999, I modified a photograph of Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg to have my head on his body. Creepy? Maybe. But I put the picture everywhere: on my bathroom mirror, my computer desktop — I even made a sticker and put the image on the back of my drivers license!
Back then I was 189 pounds and 29 percent body fat. Today, I weighed in at 215 pounds and 12 percent body fat. That means I’ve lost 29 pounds of fat. My body may not look exactly like Mark Wahlberg’s — but it is astoundingly closer than I ever could have dreamed back in ’99. There’s something to be said for the power of visualization.
When I used to meet with a client for the first time, one of my initial questions was “what kind of body do you want?” People usually answered by saying, “well I’d like to get rid of my spare tire” or “I’d like to be bigger” or “I want to (fill in the blank).”
The problem with most of these responses is that they’re not measurable. For every “spare tire” a person loses, another “smaller” one, inevitably, appears. And what does getting “bigger” mean, exactly? How does a person know when they’ve gotten “big enough?”
So instead of faulting the answer, I have learned to adapt my question. Now I ask prospective clients: “Can you think of a celebrity whose body most closely matches the one you’d like to achieve?” When I ask the question that way, the answers pour out: Brad Pitt, Jerry O’Connell, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Kate Winslet. It’s really quite amazing!
I too turn to physiques for inspiration. I’ve put a few of them here for you to see. The first one, at the top, is Brady Quinn, from the University of Notre Dame football team. The second is bodybuilder John Kesler. These guys have totally different “looks” and levels of muscularity, but basically the same frame.
An example of the body type I USED to go after is that of Nick Lachey. But—the most important thing when choosing an “aspirational” body is that you are realistic. A friend once told me that it was pointless for me to idolize the bodies of guys who are 5′ 9″ (the “gymnast” type) when I myself am 6′ 3″ — and he
guided me toward body types which more closely approximated that of my own.
I don’t care that it may seem vain to have aspirations when it comes to my body. There are moments during hard exercise when having a visual reminder of what I’m trying to achieve makes the difference between failure and triumph. Again and again, these photographs and images have been a key to my physical transformation.
Even though I’m better at picking inspiring bodies to model my own after, I often need to take a dose of reality. Ultimately, you can only work within your genetic blueprint. So these days, I remind myself (and you!) that the best goal is to work HARD to OPTIMIZE your genetic build.
In other words: Be the best version of yourself you can be.