Right now, anyone who wants to change his/her physical appearance through calisthenics can find solid information about it online. It is not a secret anymore. You just google “how to lose fat”, “how to get results with calisthenics” or “how to build muscle with calisthenics” and you find the steps you need to take.
But still, the majority of people don’t get the results they want. You may be in this situation or you may know somebody who is. Also, many individuals start a training routine for a couple of months and then they quit. Or, they stick to a diet for a short period of time, lose some body fat and then they gain it all back quickly.
So the question pops up: Why? Why these people don’t go all the way to achieve the physique they wanted to achieve? What stopped them? It’s not because of lack of information or lack of time. It’s not even lack of motivation. You may say it’s the lack of discipline, effort and so on. But what is the source of all these apparent causes for failure?
The source of failure is self-image. The way you see yourself.
When we start a training program and a diet we want to look in a certain way. This is the first reason. And it’s normal to do so. Some of us are fat and want to lose weight, some are skinny and want to build muscle. And most of us want both. I certainly wanted both when I started working out.
When we start a fitness program we have in our mind an image of how we would like to look. Six pack abs, wide back, pumped chest, big arms and so on. You know what I’m talking about. So how the self-image disrupts this process and messes up the whole thing?
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Well, the self-image focuses on two aspects: the belief and habits. If you don’t believe that you can achieve your dream physique, you won’t achieve it. And if you don’t have the habits to help you get you there, you won’t get there. “That sounds so simple and cliché”, you might say. It sounds simple, but it’s not.
You see, confidence can be defined as having an attitude that you achieved something before you actually achieved it. It’s the same in the fitness area. You need to see yourself looking the way you want to look for you to take the necessary steps to successfully get there. And the necessary steps are taken by inculcating habits that can take you to your goals.
We are habitual beings. We become what we practice. And our self-image is “cemented” in our subconscious mind. If you’ve been overweight all your life, you will think like an overweight person. Until you change the way you think. Through changing your self-image. If you don’t change it, the self-image will drag you back to where you started. That’s why so many people gain back all the fat they lost. And that’s why for so many guys it’s difficult to train hard and consistently so that they put the muscle mass they want to. They don’t see themselves as being muscular.
Of course, there are people that have amazing results and are an example for anybody. But they are the exceptions. Most of us are dealing with the self-image problem.
I certainly did struggle with it when I started training and dieting. I was never overweight. But I was skinny. What I wanted was to get six pack abs and put on 6 pounds of muscle. So my goal was nothing extraordinary. For me to get a six pack meant I needed to lose 5 pounds of fat. A piece of cake, you might say! But while I was getting closer to my goal, I started getting lazy with my diet and having more cheat days that I intended to. As soon as I was seeing results, something pulled me back. It was the same with building muscle. I had been skinny all my life and I always looked up to the guys that were muscular and strong. I wanted to be like them.
In the last one and a half year, training in the old school calisthenics way, I built the muscle mass that I dreamt about. But it took me some time to not see myself as skinny anymore, even when all the people around me noticed the improvements in my physique.
Now, I can really say that my self-image has changed. I no longer see myself as being skinny and weak and my six-pack is there. No matter what other people think or say about it, I have learned that the worst thing you can do is compare yourself with others. Nowadays, I compare myself with the old me and find that the old me is unrecognizable in front of my new self.
So how you change your self-image so that you start getting the results you want?
By doing mainly two things: visualize yourself having the results you want and implementing the habits that take you there.
Keep telling yourself why you are doing this and what you need to get there and imagine yourself being there. If you want an athletic physique, visualize how you would look with an athletic physique. Surround yourself with pictures of individuals who look the way you want to look like. Look at them every single day. Keep reminding yourself of the goal you set for yourself.
Step two: put in the work. Train hard and consistently, stick to your diet. These two steps go together. You visualize yourself first and then start taking the necessary steps. It will not be easy but these new habits through repeated practice become part of you. Now you can become the person that you want to be.
This works in any domain; relationships, money, fitness, every one of them. If you don’t see yourself as earning more money you won’t earn more money. If you don’t see yourself as having a relationship with a beautiful and awesome girl, you won’t attract that kind of girl. You will sabotage yourself and find excuses for why it is not going to work.
I’ve been there. I know how it feels. But now I firmly believe that if you can imagine something, then it becomes possible to achieve it.
You need courage, confidence and a plan. Just look at yourself in the mirror and assure yourself that you can do it. And see what happens then!
Images by: RG&B
Proof Read: Winner Nehra