Everyone wants to look better naked! Aesthetics are the foundation of most health and fitness goals. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but the majority of folks exercise in order to maintain and/or improve their appearance. Even the most die-hard, Kool-aid drinking, fire-breathing CrossFitters who live and die by “functional movements” really just want to maintain their physique.
Aesthetic-based goals are great. In many circumstances, the pursuit of greater aesthetics is the catalyst for more significant, meaningful change. Typically, as someone’s appearance improves so does his/her self-confidence, attitude, and demeanor. What was initially an effort to simply look better naked often becomes a mindset and lifestyle overhaul. It’s awesome!
There is one downside to aesthetic-based goals. The majority of folks do not understand what is required to achieve significant, and more importantly, sustainable results. Most people are under the impression that 2-3 half-assed training sessions per week and ordering the grilled nuggets from Chick-fil-A instead of the fried will be enough to generate substantial change. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that shit ain’t gonna work. In order to truly change your appearance, you have to modify your lifestyle, not just training or nutrition; the whole damn thing needs to change.
Aside from mindset (that’s an entirely different, but absolutely necessary conversation), nutrition is the foundation of health and fitness, especially for anyone interested in aesthetics. Nutrition is 80% of the process! The single hour of exercise, regardless if it is high-intensity or not, will never combat the remaining 16-18 hours of the day. If you want to lose weight or “get leaner”, you need to be in a caloric deficit, and if you want to increase muscle mass, your need to be in a caloric surplus. It’s really that simple. Eating well and living an active lifestyle are essential to achieving your health and fitness goals.
Exercise is important, but in reality, it’s only 5-10% of the process. Now, are there training methodologies that are more conducive to accelerating progress? Yes, absolutely. If you’re in pursuit of aesthetics (i.e. looking better naked), I firmly believe that CrossFit is the most efficient and effective program on the planet. However, as I stated in the beginning of the article, there are exceptions to every rule. If you’re a male or female interested in increasing lean muscle mass (i.e. hypertrophy), disregarding all other aspects of fitness (cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, power, speed, agility, etc.), split-routine training may be a more effective means at generating your desired physique. Hell, you may even select a hybrid program that incorporates both high-intensity interval training style workouts like CrossFit and bodybuilding split routines.
Regardless of the program or methodology, it’s essential that you understand what is required in order to achieve your aesthetic-based goals:
1. Nutrition – Eat real, nutrient dense foods and avoid excessive consumption of processed, refined carbohydrates
2. Patience – sustainability is the game
3. Consistency – train, eat, sleep, repeat
If you’re willing to commit to those three items, you will see the results that you’re pursuing.