The other day I was flipping through a fitness magazine and thinking to myself, “Man, I wish I looked like that guy, and that guy too… AND this guy!” We’ve all had that ideal physique that we strive for, and often time see it in magazine photoshoots. These images portray people with shredded abs, defined muscles everywhere you look, tan, smiling, and probably wearing too little clothing to really be working out in a gym. Well hate to break it to you guys, but 99% of the time these people don’t even come close to looking like that! And here’s what I mean…


  • Images in magazines tend to make you believe that the model looks like this 24/7, 365 days per year. But in reality, the majority of them only do a photoshoot after they’ve been dieting and and doing extra cardio for months to shred the excess fat. People you see in those photo’s are usually under 10% bodyfat, and that is simply not sustainable over a long period of time (unless you happen to be a genetic freak, which is possible, but not very common). Instead the magazine will tell you that this person got the way they did and can continue to look like that year round (false!) because they do workout X or Y, and take supplement X or Y, then proceed to try and sell you on the product!


  • On top of the extreme dieting that goes into preparing for a photoshoot, there are also ridiculous amount of changes that are made to pictures through photoshop, trick lighting, camera filters, spray tans, etc… This is well known to happen with nearly every photograph that ever makes it into a magazine, yet people somehow still think they can realistically achieve these “ideal” body types?! Photoshop has taken a lot of flak for changing some pictures so drastically that the person ends up looking nothing like themselves in the pictures. You can erase stretch marks, scars, acne, make hips wider, belly thinner, muscles bigger, tans tanner.. ok you get it. Lighting is manipulated to be directly overhead in every photograph because it casts better shadows on the person allowing for a more “defined” look. Take a look at the next fitness pictures you see, and think about where the light is coming from. Camera filters have the capability to make someone look more defined and tan, giving someone a “dirty gritty” look (darker filter which gives the appearance the person is actually dirty or sweaty) makes the muscles stick out much more than a regular photograph. And everyone knows that black and white works wonders for photographs lol.


  • On the topic of fitness photographs, lets talk a little about “before and after” photographs. Before I go ahead and claim that all of these are complete bullshit, please understand that I do know there are endless amazing transformations that people have made. However, its all too easy to manipulate these photos as well, and tons of people do! You’ll see crazy before and after pictures from people trying to sell a certain supplement or workout program and say to yourself, “Hell yea that looks awesome I want to lose 40 pounds in a month too!” But wait just a minute, back it up… first of all you have no way of knowing that their before picture was actually taken a month before the after picture! It could very well be from a year ago! Ever notice a lot of before and after pictures don’t even show the persons head?? On top of that, people will use all the same tricks that people in magazines use (photoshop, trick lighting, camera filters, spray tans, and even the “suck it in” approach). So before you head into anything believing those “before and after” pictures, just know that they’re quite possibly complete BS. Major change and lasting results come from years of hard work and dedication.


  • One more thing, you see the picture at the top of the page? All of those photo’s    were taken in ONE DAY, by a guy who wanted to prove how easy it was to fake the “before and after” shots. Goes to show how easy it can be for magazines with professional photographers and photoshoppers to manipulate the minds and the eyes of the reader!


Its really too bad that these images in magazines are the ones that give us “ideal” physiques.


First off, no one should believe the images you see in fitness magazines. Yes the models do look great, and yes they put in a lot of hard work to get to where they are. But those people also only look like that once or twice a year for their photoshoot. The rest of the year? They put a little bit of weight back on and don’t look nearly as cut or defined.


Second, no one should really strive to look like anyone else. You should just try day in and day out to continually better yourself. If you aren’t happy with the way you look, make a commitment to yourself and make a change. Chances are you won’t end up looking like the models in the pictures of magazines, but thats okay… 99% of the people in the world don’t either.


Until next time, keep it healthy!


Brian Lepine