LOOKING GOOD IN PICTURES VS. LOOKING GOOD IN REAL LIFE
Alec Enkiri | 2/12/21
Today I want to talk about the elephant in the room. A topic that I think is pretty important, but is rarely ever addressed, and that is looking good in pictures vs. looking good in real life because the two things don't necessarily actually reconcile all the time. And I have experience on both ends of the spectrum here, so I wanted to give you guys some of my thoughts because I think it's important to just put this kind of stuff out there. It really kind of struck me the other day - I was having a conversation with one of my long term clients and he was asking me about how realistic it was to attain a particular physique, a very lean physique, of a guy that he follows on social media. And he was asking me if it could be done drug free.
Now, the guy he was inquiring about wasn't carrying an insane amount of muscle mass or anything like that, but he was really, really lean. So basically I gave my client my honest opinion, and what I told him was that it was certainly possible to attain that physique naturally, but that it would be very difficult to maintain it for an extended period of time, and in the long run the things that you would be required to do to maintain it WITHOUT DRUGS would drastically impede performance and greatly impede your gains. And the reason I know this, and the reason I can say this with confidence, is because what he was inquiring about is a level of leanness that I myself have attained on multiple occasions and maintained for probably longer than I should have.
Lean and mean back in 2012!
And when I mentioned that, that I know this can be done, that this physique can be attained drug free because I myself have done it, my client responded by telling me that that was what initially brought him my way in the first place! Which is kind of ironic. He saw pictures of me when I was shredded and that made him want to hire me...and I'm glad it did because he's a great client and I absolutely love working with him.
The great irony here, of course is that he first saw me when I was shredded, and it made him want to hire me because he thought it meant I was physically impressive, but I'm much more physically impressive NOW...even though I don't look nearly as impressive in pictures. That is irony in its finest form! Yeah, I looked good in front of the camera back then and it even was helpful for me to look that way for my business, but the fact of the matter is, in reality, I was a straight up little bitch. I weighed a buck 50 nothing, I had actually LOST significant amounts of muscle mass from when I was in my mid 20's, I was smaller, I was weaker, I was far less powerful, and, in my now retrospective opinion, I was not physically imposing or physically impressive at that size and level of leanness in real life.
And again in 2018.
But this time even leaner.
I looked great on camera though! All natty. Peeled to the fucking bone. Probably what, 7, 8% body fat? Veins popping out all over the place and shit. Kind of looked like Brad Pitt in fight club - super lean and only mildly muscular. Again, looks great on camera, but NOT impressive or jacked in person. You couldn't really even tell that I lifted until I took my shirt off, and even then I still looked like a string bean if I didn't have a pump because that's what happens when a natural person stays that lean for an extended period of time. The muscles get flat because the body is in a state of chronic depletion.
Contrast that with right now and I'm about 170lbs most mornings. I've spent the last year, basically 2020 quarantine, building back up some of the size I used to have, and this current body weight matches the most I've ever weighed in the past, but I'm also fairly confident that this is the most lean mass that I've ever carried at this particular body weight.
Now, I'm not nearly as lean, bodyfat % wise, as I was in 2018 and 2019 - not even fucking close! And on camera if you put the two pictures side by side I almost even look like a fatty now. But in reality, I'm not...I'm just not sub 10% bodyfat anymore. I don't look as good in front of the camera now because my waist is a little bit bigger and I'm not peeled to the bone anymore. The cuts aren't there, and the cuts are what really show through on camera because there is no actual perspective. Put these two guys side by side in separate pictures and I'm choosing the dude on the left all day long because he looks better. He's fit and he just looks like a goddamn fitness professional.
BUT - and this is a big butt - put these two guys side by side in real life and I'm choosing the motherfucker on the right EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. because that dude is jacked, strong, powerful, and physically imposing. That dude just looks like he can kick your ass and actually looks like he lifts weights, and is actually a more formidable overall athlete as well. In fact, the only things the dude on the left can do better than the dude on the right are look good in pictures and jump a little bit higher just because he's so much fucking lighter. But the dude on the right can run just as fast if not faster, lift much bigger weights, and hit you a whole hell of a lot harder than the dude on the left. In person he also looks much more impressive, much more physically imposing, much bigger and more muscular, and, in my opinion, just flat out looks BETTER in real life than the skinnier, leaner version of the same dude.
The motherfucker on the right.
So I guess what I'm saying is, do you just want to look ripped on camera year round so that you can post pointless selfies to Instagram and get a bunch of adulation from random dudes? OR do you want to look good in real life? Do you want to actually be jacked and be physically adept and be physically impressive when the camera turns off? Because you won't get there if you're stuck in the mindset that you need to look ripped for the camera 365 days a year.
And you absolutely cannot trust your favorite influencer here either, so don't fucking come at me and say "but ALEC so and so is JACKED and RIPPED and they look like that year round!"
But there's one problem: your favorite influencer is NOT natural. Their physiology is not the same as yours. They can be jacked, and ripped, and not be a flat fucking string bean, and they can maintain that condition year round because they have the help of drugs. If you're reading this you most likely don't have the help of drugs so you can't expect to have that result because that result is not congruent with normal human physiology. And the problems with trying to force that result are myriad: performance suffers, i.e. you become weaker and less powerful and possibly even mess up your hormonal balance; muscle mass begins to atrophy, i.e. you hinder your long term gainzz; it's simply not a long term sustainable path; you look like a little bitch who doesn't even lift; and lastly, and perhaps most importantly of all...who the fuck even cares what you like in pictures?
You're not a model. You're a lifter. Or you're an athlete. Or you're just a dude who wants to become a fucking beast. And the pathway to that destination is NOT paved with shreddedness 24-7, 365. It's paved by maintaining healthy levels of body fat that keeps your body in an anabolic state and allows you to optimally build muscle, strength, and power, and consistently recover from intense training sessions. And it just so happens that on a natural trainee that particular look also actually looks A LOT better and more impressive in person as opposed to in pictures.
So now, I choose to look good in real life because that path is the path towards my true goals, and if you share those goals then you should also act accordingly.