Okay I will freely admit to not only being a Type A plus-plus personality, probably with a touch of ADD and OCD, I'm a little narcissistic to boot. I mean come on, we're all athletic. We monitor what we eat, run/bike/swim/lift our asses off (figuratively and literally!) and all you have to do is pick up any magazine that supports our poison...err..umm..sport of choice and right there on the cover or within the pages of said magazine is some well built, little-to no body fat man or women showing off the body we all want.
And of course...we're gonna compare ourselves to them. Fine, if you won't admit it I will. I compare myself to them. I don't understand why monitoring what goes into my body, trying to optimize performance while reducing fat (and I'll admit, restricting calories) AND training this much does not result in some Greek God inspired, could be chiseled in marble set of abs for me like Ms. Dara Torres here. (Who, by the way I have met and is one of the coolest, most approachable famous people I've ever known and one of my heroes. If there's anyone you should aspire to be when you grow up its her but that's for another time...)
I mean really, is it so wrong that I WANT those abs?! Add in that I'm 38 and was afraid of my advanced age and never having had a 6 pack surely doomed me to be soft around the middle forever and you see my neurosis. I resigned myself to making the golf analogy of "drive for show and put for dough". If hitting the long ball on the golf course wows everybody but mastering the short game makes you a "true" golfer then certainly I could transpose this to meaning that you may look great when you take off that shirt but being able to generate high power numbers makes you the "true" athlete. Right? Right? I will say right now that I know there are plenty of people who have the shredded body and STILL generate power/speed/win events (like Dara). This was just what I would tell myself to make it all better as I cried quietly and desperately want a slice of bread.
So...I took my quest to Twitter (it is really the greatest thing ever) and posed my question out loud. Nicole, a USAT certified coach, from NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness decided to take my query. She was nice enough to do some research, and post her take on the matter over on her blog, which you can check it here. I can't thank her enough for taking the time to post an answer and hopefully you'll learn a little something like I did. I'd love to chat more but I have to replace all my breads and pasta with veggies and beans and then spend the next few hours doing some cardio.