Big guy. Husky. Big Dog. For my fellow larger-sized brethren out there, these titles probably sound all-too-familiar, am I right gentlemen? While women traditionally have had to battle body shaming and deal with the never-ending pressure to somehow “measure up” to Madison Avenue’s depiction of the “ideal” female body type, men also have been struggling to keep up with a ridiculous standard staring back at them from the covers of men’s fitness magazines and advertisements.
In a world full of blockbuster movies featuring Marvel Comic superheroes and magazines and billboards full of male models with perfectly proportioned physiques hawking everything from cologne to fast cars to designer suits, the message the “Average Joe” hears is loud and clear; 6-pack abs, broad chests and big biceps rule! Dad Bods be damned. Now, to make matters worse, let’s factor in advancing years and the natural slowing of the metabolism and an inevitable dip in Male Testosterone and the hope of ever getting or maintaining an uber-fit state becomes even more dicey. Getting and staying lean and powerful physically is tough at any age, but for the man over 40?… 50?… 60?!!
I know very intimately the stigma of being labeled the “big guy” even though by many standards I am really not THAT big. Yet, compared to the national average I suppose I am. The average adult American male is 5 feet 9.1 inches tall, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while the average adult American male (20 years and older) is 195.7 pounds, according to the CDC.
I measure in at exactly 6′ tall and my bodyweight from age 20 to 59 years of age has been all over the map, ranging from as low as 195 to as high at 282 pounds! My average weight over the past few years seems to be about 240 pounds, give or take a few. While this could be considered big compared to the current National average, I happen to have a handful of buddies who are 6′ 3″ to 6′ 5″ and touch 300 lbs, all ex-high school or college-level athletes. Compared to them, I feel very small indeed. Nonetheless, alongside the typical male model with their 175 -180 pound frame, size 40 jacket and 32″ waist, I am most definitely a big guy.
Body Types: Ectomorph / Mesomorph / Endomorph
Most of us have seen at some point graphics that depict the three classic body-type categories of the male physique.
ECTOMORPH: An ectomorph tends to be thin, and struggles to gain weight as either body fat or muscle. They can eat piles of food and stay looking the same, even when gaining muscular weight is their biggest goal. People who battle to gain muscle are often known as “hard gainers.”
MESOMORPH: The mesomorph has a middle-of-the-road build that takes the best of both worlds. They tend to have wide shoulders, a narrow waist, relatively thin joints, and round muscle bellies. In short, if you’re a mesomorph, you have a natural tendency to be fit and relatively muscular.
ENDOMORPH: The endomorph tends to gain weight and keep it on. Their build is a little wider than an ectomorph or mesomorph, with a thick ribcage, wide hips, and shorter limbs. They may have more muscle than either of the other body types, but they often struggle to gain it without significant amounts of accompanying body fat.
Me? My body type is almost certainly 3/4 Endomorph with a bit of Mesomorph genetics thrown in. This has been both a blessing and curse as I’ve tried to get and stay fit throughout my adult life. On the one hand, I tend to be able to gain and build muscle fairly easily. Unfortunately, I also can put on excess fat even more easily! Middle age has only made the struggle harder with a slowing metabolism and years of working as a desk jockey under my belt!
Learning to Love my Body… Finally.
Time for full transparency. I have hated my body my entire adult life. Body Dysmorphia? I am very familiar with it. Many out there may be able to relate to my struggle; Avoiding full-length mirrors like the plague… Dreading having to shop for clothes, (even though I love great men’s fashion)… Avoiding having my picture taken except from the chest up… And NEVER, EVER taking my shirt off in public at the local swimming pool.
But here’s the thing, at what point in life do we finally cut ourselves some slack and realize that the clock is ticking and if we don’t make peace with our bodies, when will we? With my 60th birthday just days away as I sit here and write this, I knew that it was now or never for me to make peace with myself and finally begin to love and accept ALL of me, lumps and all.
Think about it. If we’re lucky, we will get a chance to age and grow old. My goal is to go one step further and age well! And so, approximately 7 weeks ago I decided to start a journey of physical renewal and transformation, following the Arbonne Healthy Eating plan and kicking Ass in the gym! But what this really boils down to is I began a journey to finally learn to love myself, once and for all. Could I finally lose the weight and keep it off? We shall see. Is it still possible to build new muscle, even at the age of 60? The early reports are in and the body I now am beginning to see looking back at me in the bathroom mirror says YES IT IS POSSIBLE! IT IS HAPPENING!
Seven weeks into my journey and I am down 13 pounds. My energy levels are up, my pant size has gone from a size 40 waist to size 36 and my long lost muscles feel tighter and fuller and a slowly increasing bench press is proof positive my strength is on the rise. Where will this journey take me? Time will tell but one thing is for sure, for the first time in my life I am FINALLY beginning to look in the mirror and am making peace with the aging, slightly less pudgy man staring back at me. I wish this feeling for each and every one of my fellow, middle-aged brothers and I cannot urge you enough; Try the Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living Challenge, work hard in the gym and give it your best effort. WE CAN ALL LIVE OUR BEST LIFE… WE DESERVE IT!