I’d love to be 6’2 and 180 pounds. A lighter shade of swole, if you will.

But chances are pretty good that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

For me, part of working out is stress-relief. As a freelancer work is alway feast or famine and there’s precisely 0% stability in what I do. It’s hard. Working out provides that steadiness that I need as a human being, and it’s something I have more control over.

That said, yeah, I work out because I want to look good. Broader shoulders, a big ole muscular chest with a pair of bulging biceps to match. Maybe a Brazilian booty, and nice calves.

I work in an industry where images of models are everywhere, where the people I work with and meet are oftentimes gorgeous and perfect looking. And sometimes this can alter your concept of  “normal,” so you have to take a step back and reassess.

I could beat myself up because I don’t look like the models… but I’m too scrawny for that… kidding! (couldn’t resist) But really, I could get down on myself because I’m never going to be that 6’2” barrel chested model type. Or I could just get over that notion, and really focus on becoming the best version of myself.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a fantasy version of ourselves we’re always seeking to achieve. Dreams and ideas are literally what keep me going.

But at the same time, it’s important to be self-aware and keep a healthy dose of reality in your back pocket, just as a reminder of what things really are like. Things like how far you’ve come at the gym, what your best features are (as a photographer I can tell you — everyone has something beautiful about them), things you’re good at. It’s important to focus on those every now and again, too.

A little bit of self love is critical to success at the gym. You can beat yourself up and always compare yourself to others, but really, that’s not the point — getting yourself to the best you can be should be your focus.

But you kind of have to love yourself to that point, not force yourself there.

Photo courtesy Kristin Booker for Giafrese

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