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Symmetry and Aesthetics: A Beginner’s Guide to a Compelling Physique

Symmetry and Aesthetics: A Beginner’s Guide to a Compelling Physique

There are fundamental principles that have been proven to help create a healthier, stronger, and more symmetrical physique. Follow these core methods and watch – over time – as your body improves significantly.

What is Symmetry in the Human Physique?

Symmetry is what occurs when the musculature of a human physique appears proportionally developed – the back is as strong as the chest, and the legs are as strong as the arms.

Symmetry also refers to cohesive mobility in the human physique, when there is flexibility in the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments without any “sticky spots” that would pull awkwardly on the body and create postural imbalance (for example, “texting slouch”).

What are Aesthetics in the Human Physique?

Aesthetics is a term used in fitness to describe the process of obtaining a more ideal body composition – the ratio of a body’s fat to muscle.

While symmetry refers more often to the scientific and objective side of muscular and postural balance, aesthetics more often refers to the subjective and artistic side of physical beauty and a compelling human physique.

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Gender Differences for Symmetry and Aesthetics in the Human Physique

There are small differences in how to pursue symmetry and aesthetics based on gender.

For example, women generally look healthier with a slightly higher percent of body fat (and indeed, their hormones require it). Also, many women have wider hips which can look even more attractive when balanced with shoulder development.

However, though there are different approaches and goals between the genders when pursuing symmetry and aesthetics, those differences are not as significant as many believe. Fundamentally, the approach and the goals are quite close.

4 Steps to a New and Improved Physique

What follows are four steps toward creating a symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing physique that is healthy and strong.

Step One: Schedule Your Week Like a Cross-Trainer

It’s time to plan your new fitness regimen.

A common mistake many aspiring athletes make during this step is to over-focus on one aspect of exercise. They do mostly cardio, or mostly yoga, or mostly weight-training. But for optimum wellness, you need all three of those each week.

match exercises with health and physique goals

Flexibility for the Physique

What you do for flexibility depends on your age and your job.

If you have a desk job, or sit or drive a lot, you will require extra flexibility maneuvers to counteract a sedentary lifestyle.

Many underestimate how sedentary they actually are. It’s a peculiarity of living with modern technology.

People think of themselves as active because their minds are active, but sedentary refers not to your mind but to your physique, and how much natural movement the body undertakes during a typical day.

Think of flexibility as the foundation upon which all of your other fitness is successfully built.

One flexibility session each week might be all you need:

  • yoga session
  • swimming laps
  • pilates
  • or, mobility drills on the mat before your workout.

TIP: decide which of these you’re going to do, and build it into your schedule.

Cardio for the Physique

If you want to be a healthy human, your heart and lungs must be strong. That can mean doing each of these types of cardio once per week:

  • steady-state cardio
  • sprints or anaerobic drills.

TIP: resist the temptation to only do one type of cardio. Mix it up – you’ll get better results that way. For steady-state, go for an outdoor run sometimes, or do the rower, bike, or climber. For anaerobic, you can do sprints on the treadmill indoors during inclement weather – but in nice weather, you can go to the park (or beach) and do cone drills or the speed ladder.

Weight-Training for the Physique

Longevity is the pursuit of a healthy lifespan. One key to longevity is to prevent the muscle loss that otherwise comes with age.

Weight-training is the solution.

According to Dr. Terry Wahls, strength training generates the most benefits in nerve growth factors, so it’s a good idea to make weight-lifting a priority. It will help improve your mood, protect your brain, and lessen your risk of getting diseases – including heart problems, diabetes, obesity, and even dementia.

Weight-training can be done with dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, gym machines, and more.

To achieve a symmetrical and aesthetic physique, you’ll want to weight-train at least twice a week, or up to four times a week – depending on your goals.

mature athlete over fifty during sprints workout
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Step Two: Learn Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep

A healthy physique is mostly made in the kitchen (even more than in the gym).

By adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, your life will change for the better.

On an anti-inflammatory diet you will:

  • build muscle tone
  • shrink body fat
  • evaporate brain fog
  • improve joint health (your knees, ankles, hips, lower back, wrists, elbows, and neck will all feel better and move better)
  • tighten your waistline
  • and, even your skin and hair will improve.

The trick to succeeding long-term with an anti-inflammatory diet is to get organized.

You’ll probably want to do a big grocery-shopping run on the same day each week.

If you’re going to do meal prep, it might be helpful to choose which day of the week you’ll typically do it.

Meal prep is the process of creating dishes ahead of schedule so you can enjoy pre-prepared meals throughout the rest of the week. This increases your chances of sticking to your plan.

Step Three: Adopt a New Mindset

A positive attitude is what helps new habits “stick.”

As you undertake this new goal of creating symmetry and aesthetics in your physique, be playful and nerdy about it – as if it’s a big, fun experiment.

When you encounter a problem, focus on it only long enough to find a solution – then, get back on track.

If you keep a sense of humor operating in the background at all times, it will really help.

Step Four: Program Your Workouts Ahead of Time

Don’t just show up at the gym and “wing it.” That’s kid-stuff-amateur-hour.

Arrive to your workout knowing what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it.

Dane Findley age 54 helps others achieve stellar wellness and a healthier physique.
Dane earned a masters degree in Counseling Depth Psychology from Pacific Graduate Institute. His past professional adventures include being a Therapist and Discharge Planner at a Dual-Diagnosis Hospital Inpatient Treatment Program, Digital Marketing Director for a real estate brokerage, and decades spent as a professional fitness and Pilates trainer. Today, Dane is a Healthy-Lifestyle Advocate and he curates the popular Quality of Life Newsletter – a free weekly update for creative types who want to increase their daily joy. Currently, he’s facilitating the new online course “Silver and Strong: How to Get Fantastically Fit After Age 50,” which helps people learn to eat for lean strength. Click-through for details.

How to Plan Your Workouts Brilliantly

For many people, their least-favorite part of exercising is not the doing of it, it’s the planning of it – what trainers call “programming.”

You can use this site to help with your fitness programming – it’s loaded with exercise ideas and complete workouts:

mature couple muscle group health goals

How to Match Exercises with Your Health Goals

When programming your workouts, remember to plan your bodywork symmetrically. This means:

  • Train your legs as much as your arms.
  • Train your back as much as your chest.
  • Don’t forget to train glutes and lower-abdominals often.

Most people work their arms and chest more than their back and legs, which creates poor posture and a funny-looking physique. Also, many don’t train their lower abdominals and glutes enough, which eventually creates a weak core, poor pelvic placement, and lower-back issues.

The human body adapts to patterns quickly, especially resistance and movement patterns. Yet, many people do the same exercises over and over again – the same exercises at the same tempo using the same weights and the same equipment.

The problem with doing the same exercises is that the body stops responding. Sure, you’re still burning some calories. But you’re no longer improving the shape, definition, tone, or size of the muscles as quickly as you could be.

Blow some fresh air into your workouts! Use the list provided.

TIP: look at yourself objectively in the mirror – front, side, and back – and identify one muscle group that is under-developed compared to the others. Train that muscle group twice a week until it catches up.

Notes

These workouts – and the exercises they contain – are applicable to both women and men. They can be modified to accommodate any fitness level. Consult with your own medical doctor before making any significant changes to your movement or dietary habits.

Another tool you might find helpful is Pinterest, which now makes it much easier to program your workouts.

On the Pinterest visual-discovery engine, you can save images and videos onto Boards and Sections – to help you remember those interesting new exercises the next time you workout.

Prioritize Your Physique Ahead of Time

By having your new exercises readily available, you don’t have to stop what you’re doing mid-workout to figure out what’s next – and therefore letting your heart rate drop and your psychological momentum fizzle out.

If you’re a seasoned athlete, Pinterest may be just the thing to blow some fresh air into stale workouts.

Or, if you’ve been inactive for a while, Pinterest can help you get motivated so you can return to the positive habit of habitual exercise.

What you must not do is neglect what is still possible for you. A downward spiral into immobility does not have to be your fate. Movement begets movement, and energy expidenture can, if done correctly, result in more energy, not less. Lack of mobility only leads to immobility.”

 –Terry Wahls, M.D.

If you’re not already exercising regularly, it’s essential to begin participating in new workouts.

Ideally, your new exercise programming should possess mobility drills (to keep joints supple), flexibility stretches (for shortened muscles), balance training, strength movements to develop muscle, cardiovascular and lung conditioning to better your endurance, and once in a while include an anaerobic sprint workout to take your performance up to the next level and keep your metabolism from becoming complacent.

Consider making each of those above categories a Board on your Pinterest profile.

 

Pin this article to look at again later:

Couple matches exercises to their health goals to improve the phsyique.

How I Use Pinterest for Programming My Workouts

Pinterest is a discovery engine that you access on your desktop browser or using the phone app.

You type in what you’re curious about, “How to Cook Turkey Bacon in the Oven,” or “How to Make my Glutes Firmer,” or “Best Way to Clean My Garage,” or whatever is on your mind. Pinterest responds with an array of photographs and videos – some will answer your questions directly while others (and this is the fun, addicting part) take you in inspiring new directions that are indirectly related to your query.

At that point, you can either click on the image for greater detail, or you can save it to one of your Boards to look at later – or both.

Mature couple doing workouts planned on Pinterest for physique improvement.
It’s not that I hate programming, it’s just that it takes so much time – time that I’d rather spend actually working out. Since Pinterest launched its Sections feature, programming my workouts has become not only easier but a lot more fun.

Pinterest even lets you take things one step further by letting you create subcategories within your Board – what Pinterest calls Sections.

You can make your Pinterest Boards public if you want (though Board Sections are always private).

I’m on Pinterest sharing all my favorite exercises, recipes, and wellness tips – from both my site and others. You can follow here.

I have a Board called Exercises For Legs, and another called High-Intensity Interval Training Ideas and another called Mobility Solutions.

Dane Findley's workouts using Pinterest discovery engine for physique improvement.
The discovery engine makes it simple to save videos and images onto Boards and Sections – to help you remember interesting exercises the next time you’re working out. Here is my Upper Body Workout Board and you can also see my private subcategories – or “Sections” which makes planning workouts for major muscle groups even easier. (This particular board has almost 268,000 followers – so apparently viewers are finding it helpful.)

I also have a board called Upper Body Workout, and that board has many sections within it – chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and core.

When I’m browsing my Pinterest feed and see an intriguing new exercise for adding definition to the back of my upper arms, I can save that image (and corresponding article) into the Triceps section of my Upper Body Workout Board. Then later that week at the gym, I just open up that section on my phone and I’m ready-to-go. Easy peasy.

Similarly, if I’m browsing a fitness website online – such as this one – you can bookmark the article into one of your Pinterest Boards or Sections (either using the Pinterest Browser Button or a Pinterest Social-Share Button).

There are other fitness apps and social networking sites that provide you with ideas for workouts (or allow you to find others’ ideas) – but so far Pinterest is the easiest and most enjoyable way I’ve found to do it.

  • Are you intrigued at the idea of using Pinterest for programming your own workouts?
  • Do you like the idea of being able to program a workout that meets the unique needs of your current fitness level, joint immobility, or muscular imbalances?

If your try programming a new workout for yourself using Pinterest, I encourage you to let me know how it goes.



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  • Dane Findley

    Dane Findley

    Happy people over the age of 50 are relevant – and essential to a well-functioning culture. I help others achieve robust health so that they can look and feel better than they ever have before – with lean muscle, supple joints, and a trim waistline.

    I believe the second half of your lifespan should be the best half.

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