Workout Journal – 4/12/17 – Glamour Muscles

Ok, I’ll admit it. I dig it when my arms look good.

Seriously, I’m just vain enough to care more about having muscle definition in my arms and shoulders than I do about how fit I actually am.

This is not a good thing.

See, there’s a handful of exercises that genuinely develop physical capability – as in the ability to do useful stuff with your body.

  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Dips

Add in some running and you’ve basically got it. Curls are largely a useless exercise from a functional standpoint. Presses are marginal. One of the reasons an overhead press is difficult is that mechanically speaking human beings were not really designed to push stuff straight up over our heads. If you really think about it you’ll have a hard time coming up with a thing a pre-industrial human would do that involve pushing a heavy thing over his or her head.

But what do we modern humans covet? Ripped biceps and round shoulders. Why? Because we’re silly.

I also suspect it’s because working those muscles is satisfying. It feels like you’re doing a lot. I mean, my biceps and shoulders are already sore from tonight’s Shoulders & Arms workout and I only finished it up about two hours ago. And mid-workout I could see progress – not really – but biceps get pumped easily, and when I can see that vein across the front of my biceps I feel like a stud. Of course it’s temporary. My arms will look normal in the morning.

So, why do it?

Well, here’s the thing. Not every workout needs to be scientifically and functionally sound. For one, I don’t want to do pull-ups and push-ups and squats and lunges all the time. If I tried I’d get bummed. If I could discipline myself to do 90 minutes of yoga four times a week I’d probably be waaaay fitter and more physically capable, but there’s approximately zero chance of me growing the mental toughness necessary to make that happen.

Working what Tony calls “the glamour muscles” makes me feel good. I feel accomplished, and I love that I can progress relatively along to add more weight each time I do the workout. And it’s not utterly worthless. An hour of Shoulders & Arms done with challenging weights burns over 500 calories. That’s none too shabby.

More importantly, it gives me something to look forward to each week, which helps me stick to the program. And when I do all the other workouts and mind my nutrition… voila! My arms look pretty nice.

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