Vanity in Exercise: Bad or Good?
While training for aesthetics often gets a bad rap, it's not all doom and gloom if you want to train for function and still have an aesthetically pleasing look to your body
Much of human culture through the ages has been fascinated with the aesthetic of athleticism and peak physical fitness. But it's not just from a sociocultural level that we can appreciate the human form. From a biological understanding, tensegrity and connected movement is more appealing to look at because of its appeal to survival and organismic fitness. In other words, there's an intuitive understanding of what healthy people move and look like that is ingrained in our biologies.
While training for aesthetics often gets a bad rap, it's not all doom and gloom if you want to train for function and still have an aesthetically pleasing look to your body. We're here to tell you that having good aesthetic development is a part of being functional.
When done right, your training should give you both functionality and aesthetics. That's what Functional Patterns aims to do, and you can see the results we get as people's bodies change the more they practice FP. The truth is that training for vanity isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's when vanity is absent of a function that creates problems down the road.
Take the bicep for instance: there's many isolated exercises that focus on bicep development so that you can have big and aesthetically-pleasing biceps to flex with. The problem is that most people train their biceps with no regard to what function the bicep serves in human movement. The consequence is having big biceps, but with poor movement abilities, which can spell disaster as you age.
At Functional Patterns, you not only train your muscles to get big, you train them under their primary functions in foundational movements — connecting hypertrophic development to specific human functions. What this means in laymen's terms is that you get bigger muscles without getting slower, overly tight, and restricted in your movement capabilities.
Most people think when you do functional training that you automatically have to throw vanity and aesthetics out of the window. But few fail to realize that training for function creates healthier, more attractive people when done correctly.
In fact, symmetry itself may be correlated to increase longevity. This means as you correct your asymmetries on your body and in your movement, you 1) feel better, you 2) move better, you 3) live longer and more sustainably, and 4) you look better and age better.
At a basic level, on top of making you healthier by getting rid of your dysfunctions, making symmetrical gains in your training will increase your attractiveness. For those who decide to use Functional Patterns in their training, the above point is a major plus for people who want to still get the aesthetics without sacrificing their capacity for fluid and effortless movement.
The FP Big 4 of Standing, Walking, Running and Throwing is specifically oriented around addressing asymmetries in movement — making humans more symmetrical with their bodies through physical training. When you establish a baseline of functionality, you get healthy. And when you get healthy in a way that is relevant to your biology, you make aesthetic gains that correspond to optimal human function.
This is what makes FP such a powerful tool for training. You don't have to choose between moving well and looking good, you can and should get both in your training. If your current training isn't delivering on both, you should consider the system that is showing consistent results in gaining both: Functional Patterns.
Until next time, this is Functional Patterns reminding you to Train Intentionally, Not Habitually.