How Did You Shift Your Focus From Appearance?

Hey, fellas – thank you for reading! I’m new to this category. I’m not 35 yet (29), but I figure this is the place to find wisdom. Sorry if I’m not allowed around here, I’ll see myself out :slight_smile:

I have a long log on the T Replacement forum, and it’s centered on appearance. I’ve been focused on the look of my body for a long time.

However, with my first child on the way, I want to evolve to set a good example for him. I’d love to learn to focus on more important targets, like mobility and performance, teaching him exercise is something you do because you love your body. As long as you’re healthy, the look of your body isn’t that important, yet it’s been front-and-center on my mind for too long.

Is there anything in particular that helped you de-emphasize the mirror? Thank you in advance for any help!

What makes you think we’ve de-emphasized the mirror? :rofl:


First of all, congrats! I’m 35, and my son is four. I share a very similar mindset. I’ve been focusing much more on overall health for the past four years. I’ve just made an honest effort to improve my mobility and performance (although I always leaned my training into hockey and mountain biking).

I definitely battled some body image demons in my younger years, and oddly enough, what I see in the mirror now is better than even those hyper-focused days.

I wouldn’t say that you need to do anything in particular. It sounds like you have a reasonable mindset, and that will guide you.

I don’t know that I helped much, but I also just realized this is my first post in this forum since turning 35. :joy:

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I think it’s personal motivation. I cared about appearance in Highschool. Then I started lifting for Strongman and strength. It feels better to not be 10% body fat. It mattered more to me that I could DO something, or lift something, than whether or not I LOOKED like I could. It is how i was raised though. Being able to DO was worth a lot more than looking a certain way. It also just so happens that I feel a lot better in general around 20% bodyfat than 10%.


To be honest… there wasn’t such a separation between appearance and performance ( specifically strength) back when some of us started. Most guys wanted to look and be the part.


Haha! Well, obviously you guys still look amazing. I just imagine more veteran lifters have a much better perspective on it all. So much wisdom comes with age - grateful for that.

It’s funny - I hear this a lot. Once people stop obsessing over the mirror, they end up looking better. Whether it’s objectively true or not is irrelevant - if you feel you look better, that’s what matters!

Great to hear about your evolution, brother. Playing sports seems like a good move. I’d love to get back into basketball.

Is there anything in particular that got you into this or helped guide you during the early days? I really love both of these domains, but I’ve never tried them out in earnest. If I were to get into strength, I’d have to do a ton of work on my mechanics to be safe - which probably means I should do it :slight_smile:

I think that’s the case for most lifters. Many of us (myself the worst offender) are fueled by insecurities. But some evolve (like yourself!).

I didn’t so much evolved… I burned myself out on the pure bodybuilding when I was younger.

You have an awesome look now, man — that “dad no one would F with” look. I love the “not shredded, not concerned” mentality. Goals!

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:laughing: its called i got old… and being worried about being cut all to hell faded after my bodybuilding phase. Just a heads up im old enough to be your dad. :smirk: now I do feel old.


I found more satisfaction in lifting something heavy, and was honestly more impressed by it than physique. When you see a Strongman standing with a BBer, the size difference is a bit unbelievable. I of course went overboard and got too fat for a while before circling back to reasonable. Go to a local contest, once the pandemic lets up, and enjoy yourself. Highland Games are a blast too. BBing shows, in person, just didn’t do it for me.


Hi bkb333,

Congratulations! Appearantly talking excercise transition following parenthood here. Many interesting (and true) statements being made in this post.

Being 46 years old, having excercised regularly since age 16 (mostly bodybuilding), I have undergone two phases of de-mirroring, awarding me with more enjoyable results and self image.

First time was 10 years ago following a back injury, which made it counterproductive to lift weights. I then progressed to grouptraining two-three times weekly (bodypump type classes) for about 5 years, with the occasional gymsession as the body healed. Bodypump can be rewarding when building up to greater load being used, and allowing yourself a short break here and there during a song/musclegroup.

More recently (about a year ago) I wanted to return to a regular gym regimen, after some years of irregular training as a result of family life and work (responsibility that is). Firstly, I considered how much time I could allow for excercise? In my case, twice weekly on a regular basis. Secondly, I considered which type of training could provide me with as much result (strength/hypertrophy) as possible within that limited time frame?

My research brought me into HIT territory, starting out with Dr Ellington Darden’s book “The new High Intensity Training”. See his forum here on T-nation. My results speak for themselves. I am in almost as good shape as in my younger years of training - still progressing. Also, I spend 1/3 of the time I used to spend in the gym (for many years, using the regular High Volume Training approach) allowing me time for the other duties in life. You may try this approach for a couple of months, and decide for yourself if it’s a way to go - but in my case it answered many questions.

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I’m curious how it faded. Was it a gradual thing? Or did you just wake up one day and say, “wow, I really don’t care about that very much anymore”?

What were the BF %s you’d ascribe to overboard and reasonable? I see myself in the future being OK around 20-25%. Right now I hover 10-12%.

I hit probably 25-27%. I am trying to shed a little Covid fat right now (too big a lag between gyms closing and me deciding they would be off limits for a quite a while). 20% is nice, even maybe 17%, but things hurt more at lower %.

I’m so glad I had a home gym. I started going to a normal gym about a month ago — it’s been so good to be lifting around other people again! — but the basement setup was so clutch during that window. I would’ve lost my mind.

Are we talking about actually trying to look better or just admiring ourselves? lol

If admiring then I suggest doing what people with addictions do and have been doing since the dawn of time. Pretending there is no problem then carrying out your dirty little secret in private.

Just the usual stuff, an extra few minutes during a bathroom break or after a shower to look at yourself. Catch a glance in your rearview mirror or when walking past a particularly reflective shopfront. And no-one can take away your bedroom mirrors so you can always have a few minutes in your post-coutis glow.

Ok a little more detail since I’m pretty lazy on my replies…

I have been lifting on and off since the late 80’s. Like several in my generation and more specifically in my area. We were heavily influence by the likes of Arnold… Lou Ferrigno along with several pro wrestlers from that era.


stan and lou

Davy boy

road warriours

As you probably can guess… my original motivation starting out was a combination of size and strength . While being lets say shredded wasnt a priority. Until I got more wrapped up into bodybuilding.

To answer your question it was a gradual thing… I am by nature very OCD so I went ape shit and just submerged myself into it. The whole nine yards the magazines… the lifting the eating ( offer me a can of tuna or a eat white and ill smack you) Along with the people I hanged with. In retrospect it wasnt healthy at the time for my mental well being. Finally it became something I felt I had to do and not something I wanted to do. So grandly lifted less often eat more like a human being until I just took a break from it.

Now dont get me wrong im not completely not worried about my Appearance… as long as im not a complete fat hog ( almost there) and look more physically impressive compared to most men my age in my neck of the woods im good. I have toyed with the notion of leaning up and dawning some trunks in the past … but some little voice in my head asked " WHAT ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID !?"