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When I first got into the whole “fitness” thing I was all about getting the “look.” 

Then I realized that I could not bench press 2 plates, I couldn’t Squat 2 plates and my deadlift was at poverty levels. I remember attempting my very first 3 plate deadlift and feeling like it was going to snap me in half. But I sure did have that sexy v-taper, right babe? 

I’m here to convince you that you should choose performance over aesthetics. Strength over looks. Functional training over cosmetics. 

Why? 

Your Results Actually Mean Something 

I’m going to put it bluntly. I hate vanity. 

I’ll admit that when I first started out I want to get shoulders so wide I couldn’t fit through door frames. I wanted boulder shoulders and an invisible waist but none of that means anything. 

I definitely wasn’t going to get up on somebody’s stage in some speedos so what’s the use?

When I started training for performance I felt a certain level of satisfaction from being “real world strong.”

When I was training bodybuilding style while working for UPS, I started avoiding doing “real work.”

The man who once had no issue pulling up a 120 pound anchor on the belt was calling the supervisors saying: 

“Hey, yeah this is unsafe for one person to lift alone, can I get some help over here?”(in my preppy voice)

The size of my balls started to shrink. And no, I wasn’t taking any drugs. I was just becoming a weak shell of my former self.

Ever since I started training strictly for strength and overall performance, I have a reinvigorated attitude toward physical work. Now I’m not avoiding helping friends move into their new apartments, or move bookshelves or help the old man across the hall carry his bags in in one trip — one trip only, baby!

Say Goodbye To Body Dysmorphic Disorder 

When you are constantly body focused in regards to aesthetics, you start to zero in on your flaws. 

You might even start to make up flaws that aren’t even there. 

The human body is not perfect looking. Trying to get your body to look like some self imposed image or some guy on juice on a poster is not natural. 

Soon, nothing will ever be good enough for you. You will get those boulder shoulders and flawless front double bicep but then you remember your calves are small. And they will never grow. 

…They will never grow. If they are actually small you will then over exaggerate them. This is no way to live. Focus on performance. Fuck all that pretty boy aesthetic stuff. 

Your Training Has Direction 

When you are training strictly for aesthetics, you end up getting lost. I mean, you train for this “look,” then you want to surpass that “look” but like Dom Mazzetti once said: 

“No matter what, you’ll never be bigger than your own reflection when you have a pump.” 

Dom Mazzetti

When you’re training for performance, you plan out all your training up to about 6 months to a year in advance. You know where you are going. You have a definite goal in mind. The process to that goal is actually much more fulfilling than the goal itself. 

When I was going for my first ever 4 plate deadlift, it was an arduous but fulfilling task. I never thought I would be able to deadlift 405 pounds for 3 reps. 

I use to be this skinny, wiry kid. Weak as fuck too. 

But I soon found direction. I mapped out the route to my destination by designing my own programs methodically and got to work. 

You Look Good Anyway

A strong body is a good looking body. When you focus on performance, you also end up developing an aesthetic physique anyway. 

If you program properly you will actually meet some minor aesthetic goals, especially during your hypertrophy blocks. 

Your hypertrophy blocks are a great opportunity to “bring” up lagging parts in addition to using this time for maximizing muscle size. 

But, remember, performance should always be at the forefront. 

I mean, you can do whatever you want. Just saying tho. 

You Can Eat Like A Normal Person 

Carrying around chicken breast and broccoli during a prep must be one of the most annoying things. 

Though I haven’t done it, I can only imagine. 

I’m a true believer in bonding through food. And when you’re prepping for a show, this can be difficult time for you when it comes to holiday season. 

If you’re not close-knit with friends and family in this way then disregard. 

When you’re obsessed with aesthetics, you’re obsessed with food. This is not healthy. Fitness should be about being your best self, not self flagellation and that’s where obsession with aesthetics will bring a lot of people who go this route. 

When you’re performance driven, you don’t run these risks. You can approach eating in a straightforward fashion. Just eat. See what your performance is like then adjust. This will become second nature after awhile. 

You’ll also be allowed to carb up for a big day at the gym without tracking your macros. 

So go crazy on that ice cream!…joking, or am I? 

Your Ego Gets A Boost

There’s no greater feeling than doing a 10 rep set with someone’s 1 rep max. 

I’m not typically an ego driven lifter but when I get to a point in my program when I’m just playing around with peoples 1 rep maxes and they SEE me do it…pure satisfaction. 

For example, I was repping out a massive max effort deadlift set with 325LBS one day and this one guy just looked back with hate. 

So, what I’m trying to say is — if you haven’t noticed by now is, training for performance far supersedes training for aesthetics. 

That’s it. Case closed. 

Your friend,

-Anthony Boyd

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