Doesn't it always seem to you that the fitness influencers you follow on social media are always in great shape? Three hundred, sixty-five days a year, these men and women are pumping out perfect pictures. This is the illusion they feed the unknowing public. For those of you that aren’t necessarily tuned into the aesthetics/fitness world, I’ll let you know, they aren’t perfect all year round. When they are at peak shape for competition, or photo shoots, they shoot many pictures in different locations, wearing different clothing, to post all year. But this illusion brings people to believe that it’s doable, to always look “perfect”, and this notion leads them to failure. Failures that come in the form of body dysmorphia, harsh diets, workout routines way too far advanced and strenuous for their bodies, and pills and diet aids that are harmful to their systems. The aesthetics world is all an illusion, and it’s time you start learning how to create that illusion too.
It’s Monday at your local gym, you look around and see all the men doing what body part? The answer is most likely chest. The next day you come in, some of the same people are there, and they're probably training arms, or maybe, just maybe, shoulders or back. But Wednesday you show up and most likely, most of those people aren’t there at all. This is the normal falloff or progression if you will, of the gym week. For some reason a big chest and arms are what men think of when they think of aesthetics. Yes, both are important for a well-rounded physique, but won’t necessarily best help you create that illusion. The illusion that I’m alluding to is most often referred to as the “X Frame”. The X frame refers to a small waist, wide lats and delts, and a swooping set of quads. This X frame look best helps create a larger than life illusion when not only are you in your posing trunks, but when you’re fully clothed too. When you are looking straight on at someone, fully clothed, most likely arms and chest are not something that you’ll be able to notice. Now I’m not taking away from the importance of a big barrel chest, nor an impressive set of pythons, I’m merely saying that for the everyday man, putting more emphasis on these other body parts that are usually over looked, can be very beneficial. Taking time to widen out your frame will allow others to take more notice of your aesthetic changes. This will also help you fill out clothing with more of an aesthetic appeal. Use larger compound moves like bent over rows and wide grip pull ups to widen your lats and teres major. Use side laterals and heavy presses to develop your cannon ball delts. Deep squats, deep enough to reach posterior pelvic tilt and walking lunges will help build the upper quad, widening it from your hip and waist. And to the dismay of many men out there, doing your cardio will make your waist smaller and those other body parts look larger and wider. This also means not over eating, bulky amounts of food. There are times when a caloric surplus is needed, but for us everyday iron warriors trying to maintain a healthy, aesthetically appealing physique, a leaner diet will not only sustain healthy mass increases, but will keep our fat content lower too. All helping to create that X frame illusion.
Ladies, your ability to create the “illusion” is most likely being prohibited with the largest fear most female gym goers have, “I don’t want to get too bulky”. Ladies, the result you’re looking for in your work outs is "shape". Your shape will be hidden away without lifting weights. I’m not saying you need to come in, trying to set world’s strongest woman records. I’m saying you need to be training your legs, and glutes hard enough to grow. A nice set of legs, filling out your knew jeans, is just what the doctor ordered. Of course, the time you spend on your cardio is very important, but that will only create fat loss, it won’t create shape. Women, what are you looking for? In my experience, you want a round butt that falls into thin defined legs that creates the “gap”. Both of these need extensive leg training. Heavy squats, lunges, stiff legged dead lifts and hip thrusts will get you there. These exercises all hit the quads and/or hamstrings and are sure to wreck your glutes. The other important part of the illusion is your ability to pull off sleeveless shirts and tank tops. In my opinion you need to greatly target the triceps. I often hear women talk about their flabby arms. You can train this right out, using all three heads of your tricep to make a solid, "non-flappy", set of arms. Next, you need to widen your upper back or teres major to create enough muscularity to not show fat roll-over in tube or tank tops, as well as your sports bra, if you so choose to show that off as well. Use exercises like pull ups, pull downs, seated rows, and straight arm pull downs/overs to create a wider, more muscular back. Lastly, while wearing this sleeveless shirts, you want nice defined lines that lead to your hair line from your already nicely developed triceps and back. Your delts, more specifically your rear delts will aid in this. Using bent over lateral motions and upright rowing motions will target your rear delts and help create a more sexy, aesthetic appeal.
We aren’t all competitive fitness athletes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of the tricks and tools of the trade. Using your brain to make your body look more pleasing in your everyday clothing will also lead you to looking better in the nude. I know this may seem to many the slower route, but unless you’re a stripper or something, most people aren’t going to be seeing you in the nude, and those that due, are most likely dedicated enough to you to know the path you’re taking is the path best suited to your long term success. Thank you for reading and as always, keep working hard.