The fitness industry is worth a whopping collective $159 Billion and there are tons of workout plans, supplements, gyms, and other physical improvement programs that are all trying to get you living your best life. On paper that last bit sounds fantastic: who doesn't want to be ripped, muscular, and looking all sorts of buff and beautiful?
And if you've ever looked at a fitness/health/supplement ad, or heck, watched a movie or TV show during a specific shirtless scene, or scrolled through social media, you'll see images of people sporting rock hard abs, vascularity for days, and definition that look like they could've come out of a comic book.
And while there are definitely ways to attain that level of definition while still sporting a nice amount of mass, it's common knowledge that those bodybuilding competition levels of "cut-up-ness" aren't really healthy to rock in the long term. Tons of actors and professional physique showcases have talked about the lengths they go to in order to show off as much muscle mass as possible.
Henry Cavill said he dehydrated himself for three days prior to shooting his bath scene in The Witcher and Benedict Cumberbatch, in preparation for a shirtless scene in Dr. Strange said that while he worked out and ate clean for months, dehydration was the name of the game for showing off his upper torso: he ate Skittles and drank black coffee to help "shrink wrap" the skin around his muscle fibers.
And now a former fitness model, Ben Carpenter is going viral for honestly discussing what his body went through as he toiled to keep his body fat percentage in the single digits. In a now viral TikTok video he posted under his handle @bdccarpenter, he points to a photo of himself looking ridiculously cut up and proclaiming that: "This isn't fitness."
He said that being lean "f**king sucks" and that he was "exhausted all the time" was "perpetually hungry" and felt the need to consume enough caffeine to "resurrect a dead Rhino."
On top of all that, he said that his "libido vanished," but he would receive countless compliments from strangers who were impressed with just how lean he was. He pointed out the irony of folks "aspiring to have [his] physique" despite the fact that he would get winded from "jogging up the stairs" or he'd get a cramp in his back muscle simply from wiping his but.
He went on to blast the fitness industry for shilling the idea that the pinnacle of fitness looked like an unhealthy body fat percentage that made people, at least the TikToker in question, feel like garbage all of the time.
For him, it started out when he was a teenager: he'd see those bodies in and think to himself: "I've got to look like that" so that they end up "sacrificing their health for aesthetics."
And while he said that he's got no issue with people attaining low-levels of body fat, or bodybuilders training for aesthetics, he also thinks that they need to be more transparent about the harm their bodies are subjected to as a result.
He caps off his message by saying: "I would love it if we could stop pretending that being shredded to the bone was the epitome of fitness...I think our industry is doing a f**king terrible job of conveying what health and fitness actually look like."
And of course, there are going to be some folks who are more genetically pre-disposed to looking more "cut-up" than others. Even The Rock has admitted to undergoing cosmetic procedures to get rid of bodyfat around his chest area because no matter how much he worked out, there were still areas of his body where fat deposits were stored.
What do you think? Have you ever entered a "cutting" phase and ended up feeling way worse than you did prior to cutting down your bodyfat percentage?