It used to be that it was just teen women that had self image problems that lead them to unhealthy eating habits and health problems. That quest for the size 0 dress and anorexic-like thinness. Well its now official, teen men have joined their ranks. Thanks to the movies, TV, and ridiculous ads like those in my fitness hall of shame, teen guys feel inadequate because they are comparing themselves to the unobtainable.
“The ripped male bodies that grace our movie screens have boys thinking they’re inadequate. Research has shown that 25 percent of men with a healthy weight think that they are underweight. And a recent TODAY/AOL Body Image survey found that men worry about their appearance more than they do about their health, family, relationships or professional success. Fifty-three percent of men said they felt insecure about their appearance at least once a week.”
Time Magazine. Thats some pretty scary stuff!
This is exactly what I have been talking about all these years. Its why I constantly stress how gaining muscle is a *very* slow process. Its why my fitness hall of shame exists, to show that these rapid muscle-gain products and programs are scams. People desperately want to believe that they can gain 60 pounds muscle in a year like the ads, and National Enquirer style articles about movie star workouts tell them. For nearly a decade people have been battling me and making fun of my “most people can only gain 10 pounds of muscle a year” message. This research shows why I have always stressed so strongly what realistic bodybuilding expectations are. If teens had realistic expectations then they would realize that there is almost no way that they will look like the Gymshark crew using natural bodybuilding before they are 20 and they wouldn’t mentally beat themselves up for being a “loser” when they can’t achieve it. Few men can look like the Gymshark crew naturally without decades of lifting weights, and its even less likely that look like that as a teen.
This research just published in JAMA this month comes to the following conclusion:
High concerns with muscularity are relatively common among adolescent boys and young men. Males with these concerns who use potentially unhealthy products to improve their physique are at increased risk of adverse outcomes but may not be recognized by their health care providers as having a weight-related disorder because of the sex-specific presentation.
Teens who have unrealistic expectations for their physiques often turn to illegal performance enhancing drugs because they are a “hardgainer” or they end up with self-image problems because they are a “loser”. There really should be a law…
- You don’t have “bad genetics”.
- You are not a “hardgainer”
- You are not “underweight”
- YOU ARE NORMAL, you just have unrealistic expectations!