What’s the difference between a champion athlete and an actor who spends eight weeks training to look like a superhero onscreen?
It’s certainly not easy, but building a physique that lends the appearance of high-performance is pretty simple when compared to the decades of dedicated work it takes to rise to the top in a competitive sport or athletic event.
When you look at the bodies of high-performance athletes, you see that there’s a wide range of physiques.
What they have in common isn’t an idealized physique.
It’s the specific combination of strength, mobility, control, power, and other attributes they need for their respective sports. These combinations allow them to build skills–the ability of the athlete to control his or her body to perform the precise actions that will lead to victory while improvising under pressure.
Of course, you may not be a competitive athlete.
But the distinction between focusing solely on looking “the part” vs. training for skills and performance still applies. The latter results in knowing your body can handle what you want and need it to handle, while the former has a much more limited impact on your overall life.
In this article, we’ll talk about what it means to have a “gold medal body,” and how aiming for that can help you move better, feel better, and gain real control over your body.
What Does GMB Fitness Stand For: Why “Gold Medal Bodies”?
People ask us all the time what GMB stands for. Here are some of our favorite options:
- Gyrating Manatee Booties
- Give Me Bacon
- Grab My Banana
- Giant Meat Balls (we’ve even got a t-shirt for this one!)
Unfortunately, we can’t turn back time and name our company Giant Meat Balls (sad face). As you’ve probably guessed by now, it really stands for: Gold Medal Bodies.
Why would we choose that name? Because of what it represents:
1. Consistent Effort Over Time
You can’t win a gold medal for anything without clocking many hours of training and practice.
For regular, non-Olympians, the key takeaway isn’t the number of hours (how many of us can actually train that way?), but the dedicated and consistent effort athletes put in. That is what’s going to add up to achieving your goals.
When your primary focus is consistent effort, it automatically means you will be choosing activities and approaches that are sustainable and that you enjoy. Because if you don’t enjoy it, or you’re training in a way that’s going to burn you out quickly, you’re not going to be consistent with it. And without consistent effort, you’ll never get where you want to go.
So, that’s one important idea the gold medal represents.
2. Being the “Best” at What You Need to Be
For Olympic athletes (or anyone competing for medals), achieving a gold medal represents being the best at one thing.
But you rely on your body to do a lot more than just one thing each day, so for non-champions like us, being our personal best means having the capability and the ability to move through our world with ease and confidence.
With that foundation, you can go after whatever goals you may have. Achieving that level of confidence in your body to be able to work toward any goal? That’s gold medal worthy!
Form Follows Function
Having a gold medal body doesn’t mean having ripped abs or guns you need a permit for. Of course, it can include that Hollywood bod if that’s important to you, but that’s not what a gold medal body means.
In fact, very few of those athletes you see with ripped physiques actually train specifically for that.
When someone trains to perform at a top level in a particular sport, her body will adapt to support that activity. That’s why athletes in a given sport will have similar physiques the vast majority of the time (think: sprinter’s build vs. distance runner’s build).
The same is true for all of us regular folk.
Yes, you can train and eat to look a certain way–it is possible, and Hollywood is a great sample of that. But for most people, that’s not a sustainable lifestyle. Instead, if you focus on your function and capabilities, over time your body will adapt to what you need from it.
You – Yes, You! – Can Have a Gold Medal Body
A “gold medal body” is a body that can do what’s needed in whatever context you’re living in. It’s a body that responds to your needs and allows you to express your will physically. It’s a combination of both capability and ability that’s yours to command as needed.
When the physical attributes of strength, speed, endurance, etc. are harnessed to your intent in skillful movement, that’s what we call physical autonomy.
Can a busy dad with a little pudge around his middle have a gold medal body? Damn straight. If he’s built the skills and attributes he needs to avoid aches and pains, have the freedom of knowing his body can absorb the daily demands he places on it, and be there for the people who rely on him, that sounds like a gold medal body to me.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look a certain way, and often that’s a by-product of working toward a “gold medal body,” but appearances won’t help you do what you want to do, they’ll only help you look the way you want to look.
And a gold medal body is a body of action and ability, not of any particular physique.
Our free Strength & Mobility Kickstart will help you start to build a foundation for your gold medal body.