The Swimmer's Body Illusion: Don't Waste Time Comparing Yourself To Others

Train like me, look like me. Much of the wealth generated by the multi-billion dollar fitness industry relies upon this simple sales pitch.

The trouble is…. it doesn’t work like that.

The fitness models selling these dreams have perfect bodies, first and foremost, because of their genetics. Not because of their particular brand of training.

Back in my rugby days I remember wanting to get Jonah Lomu big.

Hit the gym. Ate loads. Failed miserably :-(

It was never going to happen!

This common mix-up of cause and effect has been termed the swimmer’s body illusion by author Nassem Taleb.

Elite swimmers don’t have great bodies solely because of their training. They are elite swimmers because they have great bodies for swimming.

Same goes for most other Olympic athletes, catwalk models and physique competitors.

Skeleton size, limb lengths, body proportions, muscle attachments, tendon lengths. These are all examples of factors, outside of your control, which influence how your body looks and performs.

No amount (or type) of exercise will change them.

Bit doom and gloom but none of this diminishes the thoroughly worthwhile pursuit of trying to improve your own fitness through exercise.

You can achieve great things.

Just be realistic about your limits. Ignore the marketing BS.

And most importantly…. don’t waste time comparing yourself to others.