T Nation

Lack of Self-Criticism


Hi! That's my first thread here. I've been following these forums for two months now and have to say they are excellent.

There is one thing that I can't really understand though - the lack of self-criticism of some people. Reading some posts in the beginners forum I sometimes wonder about the standards people use to judge themselves.

Let's take an average beginner - 5'8 - 6'0, 140-180lbs or over 180lbs with more body fat (very rough estimation, just to give an idea). Of course the person can be shorter or taller, but the proportions are the same.

And now, such person would:
1) want to cut for summer
2) say they don't want to get bigger -they're already pretty big
3) worry about their genetic potential
4) claim their right arm is substantialy bigger than the left
5) reinvent the diet&training wheel again and again
6) wonder why stronger winds blow him away.

I'm a beginner myself. I made some progress in the last 6 months I'm happy with. But when I look at myself in the mirror I always say 'Nowhere near... Need looong time till it looks the way I want.'

And now I just wonder - how can other beginners think differently? Do some people live in a complete isolation? Have you ever seen someone with big muscles? What makes you think you're 'the man' already? Look at some people at this site, look at some big dudes in your gym... How do you compare to them? Come on people, sober up from your fucking illusions.


Well, many of the beginners here are around 15-17 years old. That means they are in high school. That means they shop at Abercrombie and Fitch. That means what they think is an ideal body is a cut up 6'0 180 pound bitch model with his shirt off to show his killer abz and nice chest separation.

This is obviously an exaggeration and oversimplification but I think you get my point.

Also, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing...


My theory is that this is the generation that went through school during the time that developmental psychologists decided that it was more important to build "self-esteem" than to teach stuff like reading comprehension, writing, and math.

And at home, their parents felt that there was never any child in the history of humanity as special and wonderful as their child.


True. Then they put on T-shirts and get lost in the crowd.


Later on, as adults, you get people who are unable to cope with any situation that involves stress, having work ethic, persistency, etc.


Thorax, good first post. Not everyone has the same goals out of the starting gate. Shit, some people don't even run in the same race. Ever. Some people change directions/distance mid-race. I think your phrase "lack of self-criticism" is a little off. I interpret what you're trying to say as lack of physical self-awareness compared to others. A lot of people aren't aware of themselves until it's pointed out continuously by others.

If a kid is continuously told that he looks good/is strong/is awesome and it's reinforced over and over before being introduced into the real world (mind you I'm using the example of a sheltered naive kid) he'll start to believe it and develop a sort of distorted self-image about himself that's been reinforced.

Put it this way: take someone and put them in a room where there are no windows or mirrors. Feed him crap and don't let him work out but provide him with very controlled mental stimulation that reinforces his own ego. Repeat for 18 years and you'll have what you're complaining about. Release this person into the real world where their preconceived self-image is challenged. This person will either refuse to accept reality and seek out people who will reinforce his preconceived self-image, accept reality and try to change/ better himself to realize the preconceived image forced upon him, accept reality and continue being what he is with no attempt to achieve the preconceived image, or buckle under the realization he's not as awesome as he was led to believe.

Now, this is oversimplified obviously, but you get the gist of it.


That's what I exactly meant. For example: you check your arms, you see sth moves beneath the skin and you think 'I'm a beast indeed.' But compared to whom? Your sedentary friend? Your girlfriend? Younger brother? Your aesthetic image in the mirror?

I think some people have lowered their standards: 'small' means 'decent' now, 'decent' is already 'big', 'big' is truly an 'elite'.

Which brings us back to the way in which many have been brought-up: protection and reassurance at all cost.


That's my example in a nut shell. It's sad that some kids are raised with no sense of the world. They're fed a completely biased perspective and sheltered from anything that could "hurt them." That type of rearing only produces a person that isn't capable of coping with reality and need the reinforcement that they are the alpha and the omega; they're the best when in reality they're just another schmo with no desire to improve on what they already have or do not have.


They didn't watch enough Arnold growing up is the reason.

Mongol King: "Conan, what is best in life?"
Arnie: "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women."


Look im a teenager myself and i know you;re probably refering to the post i made earlier lol, about cutting for the summer , but you gotta understand that short term goals are needed too, and if you look crap (too much bf %) you start to lose motivation etc. I dont trying to go from 10%to 6% becauase the abz will pop out relaxed, but i mean when you start hitting the 14-15% range you cant just keep saying.. dw i look crap now but in 5 years ill be huge and ripped!

Idk in my opinion it would be better to do a small cut, remmeber if you're 150 at 14% bf you only need to cut like 5-6LB to be at 10, i honestly dunt know how long that takes but after that you can continue on bulking until you hit a BF % to high for your liking. This but no means is advice to anybody, just MY opinion and i know ill get flamed to no end for this lol, but whatever!

I feel the same way as you, looking in the mirror even though ive made progress i still think that i have a looooooooong way to go to the ideal physique but you can't just ignore the present time and always think ahead. Remember that on this forum if you're 5"8, 155 ripped, you're NOTHING , you're just a small guy who need to stop cutting and worrying about abz and start BULKING till you;re atleast 200lb or whatever.

But lol in reality as sad as it sounds a 5"8 ripped 155lb person is considered a pretty good physique amongst even other teens that workout because they dont get even just there! they are either really fat, or skinny-fat and amongst them 155lb Ripped looks GOOD, even though its pathetic amongst people who really work out.

Anyway as i said.. and im going to get flamed for this .. :L
I go to a gym where there are heaps of teens aswell as me


I do not look like crap and I don not plan on looking like crap. I carry some fat but I consider it a moderate amount. I judge myself by the mirror. I chose to use 15% in my profile to show that I'm in the middle - not fatty, not cut. Anyway, NONE of the people I meet everyday would say I look like crap.

Bulk, cut, bulk, cut... Within one year probably? Doesn't make sense. You'll never give your body a chance too grow. Chances are you'll be skinny-fat at the end.

Well, I'm not a teenager anymore. I deal with mature, big-titted homo sapiens females and it takes sth more than abs to impress them I quess.

Thanks for responding!. We're here to discuss things, right?


Yeah sorry i wasnt actually talking about you at all when i said looking like crap, i was just talking in general and maybe in my case! Don;t take it like i said you look like crap becuase you put 15% of BF in your avatar, i didnt even know that until now lOL!

I don;t think u'd end up skinny fat, lets just take my case..say things go well and i gain 15lb of mass (8-10 muscle, rest fat) in the next 3-4 months so id be 165, then id cut to about 155-158 at 10%, and start again till i reach 14 or so fat. No matter what you;ll look better 155 at 10% then 160 at 15% IMO.

For me it's would be like some motivation and maybe to evaluate progress as its kinda hard with extra fat on you. Plus some people look much better than others at 15%, just like at any bodyfat.

Anyway as i said it's just my opinion and since im still a novice (and i you are aswell since you did say you consider yourself a beginner) you wont be sure until you try it for yourself, maybe you have but I haven't yet lol so when i do maybe my opinion will change.. who knows!

I said that stuff about teens because i think you were referring to me and maybe teens in general about this, and lol some of the girls are meet are big titted aswell :wink: lols.

Yeah and thanks for not flaming me lol im sure the rest will and yeah, we are discussing lol, if you go into the bodybuilding forum and just READ the threads there if you havnet already you'd probably see most people agree with you aswell lol, its just my opinion.


1) Numbers like 165lbs are still insignificant first of all.
2) It's hard to keep those 10 lbs of muscle when cutting.
3) Why waste time and effort with frequent cutting periods? It's better to modify your diet and cardio accordingly all along. That's what you want to do I think. We can talk about 'cutting' only after a few years of working out and gaining some muscle mass. Then you decide to give your body a final 'edge' once and for all.

Anyway, I did not meant this to be another bulk&cut thread.

BTW, if their tits started to grow already, chances are they'll pay attention not only to your abs but to your arms, legs, torso and your back as well :slightly_smiling:


hahah yeah lol i agree but cutting makes your arms chest and back look better, atleast in the average peoples( and girls :wink:] eyes aswell lol! defined=TANK apprntly hahah :slightly_smiling:


I personally think the A&F guys that spam the forums are just typical teenagers who are just fucking impatient and dont get the concept of 'you only get out, what you put in' effort wise. Hence rather than put in the effort and sort themselves out, they just make lame ass excuses and rationalize everything to make it sound like its not their fault.

Kinda like certain obese people. But personally, i never see any improvment that i would call worthy, on myself after seeing some of the beastly people on these boards. What keeps me going is if im like this now (190 ish lbs) imagine what itll be like when im 20. But as i think it was Stu mentioned one of the real common traits in all the vets on this site is consistency.


Another example of low standards: slender,slim = defined now

Do you want to say that people over 200lbs have no chance of being defined?? Defined means having muscles first and then low body fat.

If the only thing you have is low body fat, then you're not defined - you're simply skinny.


Granted. But it also stops you from being comfortable with what you already have and keeps you aware of what is really big.

No doubt about that.


Ye i agree, i think my wording was a tad fail. I meant it in a good way as in the constant reminder that you arent really big is a good motivator for you to push yourself even more.


if you get your diet right, you won't have to cut every other cycle. you can maintain 10% ish bf, bust your ass in the gym and monitor skinfold fluctuations(to asses any fat gains) and just keep growing. If you need to look good for the beach or whatever you can do a little cut for a few weeks.

In reality, you can gain I think 2 pounds of muscle a month, and that;'s if your young and train hard. So if you lifted for 2 months, then fucked up your "cutting" by losing those 4 pounds of muscle, where are you now? Back at square one. My advice is lift big, eat clean and grow AS MUCH AS YOU CAN when you're young. Otherwise, when growth is harder to come by later, your just gonna look like a skinny bastard when you drop fat.

Just my 2 cents.


2 a month? lol i hope not! i started at 119 pounds late last december! lol