Let me start by speaking to those planning to compete in bodybuilding and/or physique based competition; you all should absolutely be working towards perfection to have any shot at success in your field. Now, for those of you NOT looking to compete, let’s chat.
Perfection in fitness is a complete and utter waste of time. It can never be reached, nor should it ever be reached. The actual act of trying to be perfect is a waste of time. Here is why: It. Is. Impossible. You can chase it all day, every day, and guess where you’ll end up? Far from perfect.
What does perfection look like fitness? Low Body Fat percentage, high skeletal muscle mass, perfectly balanced water content, balanced diet of fruits, veggies, meats, grains, all organic, all counted up to equal the exact amount of calories needed to meet your basal metabolic rate, and last, but certainly not least, 8 hours of sleep per night, uninterrupted, minimum. If you truly desire to have the perfect physical specimen of a body, please take time to look at this lovely article and infographic from Precision Nutrition, “The Cost of Getting Lean”, here.
That’s just chasing physical, outwardly perfection. Let’s talk overall perfection in MOVEMENT. This bit is for all my trainers and coaches out there. If you expect a movement to be PERFECT, meaning not a single shift, tilt, or grain of misfire anywhere, you’re full of yourself. Honestly. Perfection in movement is 100% unobtainable. Show me a dancer or gymnast and I’ll show you hypermobility leading to lack of stability. Show me a world class olympic sprinter and I’ll show you a forward lean that places stress in the low back. It’s just not worth the time. Here’s why…
YOUR IMPERFECTIONS ARE WHAT MAKE YOU AS GREAT AS YOU ARE.
No, I don’t mean that we’re all incredible little snowflakes. I mean that our imperfections create variability, which in turn creates RESILIENCY. Your fluctuations in your diet create an ability to fight off food borne illnesses, as well as create a flexible metabolism that can handle a night out on the town with friends. If you never look to put your system through that stress, then that stress can DECIMATE what you’re looking to accomplish. If you want to have a great diet, just look to make things abundantly green, nutrient dense, and stay in your caloric range.
The fact that you don’t move your hips all that symmetrically is why you don’t get injured playing ball with your friends or going for a long run. You’ve placed enough of a consistent stress on your body that you have found the healthy compensation needed to achieve what is necessary. Look at your favorite athlete and I can damn near guarantee you’re gonna find a physical trait that doesn’t line up with what you consider “Perfection”. But, the sum of the parts works itself out into something pretty impressive.
Now, let’s say you can’t touch your toes and you eat burgers everyday for lunch. Okay, let’s fix that. Yes, there are prerequisite skills needed in order to back squat, run a mile, and swing a kettlebell. I can agree with that. What I’m saying here is that we do not need to get so caught up in making sure that those prerequisite skills are perfect that we completely miss an opportunity to build strength and conditioning and live happy, awesome lives.
Stop chasing perfection. You’ll enjoy the result.