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Misc. Aesthetics: Lessons from a Bodybuilder
Guest Post with BowTiedHeifer
It’s no secret that pretty privilege is real.
While beauty standards may change over time, humans are simply wired to trust and make allowances for others they find attractive.
Anyone that’s been both conventionally unattractive and attractive at different times in their adult life will tell you firsthand: life is better when you’re not ugly.
In the context of aesthetics, the greatest gains you’ll ever see in the way people treat you will come from perfecting your physique.
Beautiful skin and hair do subconsciously signal health and fertility, but none of that matters if people deem you as incompetent at first glance.
Perhaps this sounds unfair, but I don’t bother arguing theoretically about how things “should be”.
It makes more sense to just take uncomfortable truths at face value and optimize my life around them.
No one ever became less attractive by reducing their body fat percentage and increasing their muscle mass (within reason).
First, understand that being attractive is a choice.
I distill this concept down to the following mental model:
Body composition (healthy body fat percentage, v-taper or hourglass figure)
Fertility markers (clear skin, thick hair)
EQ (power, status, confidence, frame, understanding of social dynamics)
This post centers around the first point.
If skincare is my butter, hypertrophy is my bread.
She’ll take over from here!
I already touched base on my entry into bodybuilding in this post
I wrote for Ox’s Substack, but for those of you who haven’t read it, I have been utilizing hypertrophy in my training for nearly 4 years.
I was and always have been an “active” individual - sports were everything to me pretty much until I left for college. That’s when my priorities changed a bit and I lost any kind of motivation to work out.
Before I met Ox, I wasn’t exactly interested in lifting weights and I had no idea what progressive overload was... Instead, I was an avid partier, ate pretty crappy (my excuses - full-time college & working in service industry), and I pretty much only did cardio with *some* calisthenics around 4-5x a week.
I’m very grateful that I was blessed with good genetics, otherwise I don’t think I would’ve found a Greek Statue of a husband out in the wild… (Like Fawn said, pretty privilege is REAL and that’s pretty much what scored me a date with Ox in the first place). My lifestyle was enough for me at the time and worked for awhile, but I wasn’t living a sustainable way by any means, and it eventually caught up with me - I was skinny fat for lack of better words.
Now with Ox being the jacked Chad he is, he gave me a good bit of tough love and motivated me to get in the gym, lift weights, take nutrition seriously and make some significant lifestyle changes. I was happy to listen to him - everyone listens to the biggest guy in the room.
This isn’t to say Ox didn’t like me how I was, he definitely did, but we both knew I had potential to be much more than what I brought to the table. If I was going to be his wife, I had to take better care of myself.
Why I Started Weightlifting
Anytime I get the question “why do you do this?” My answer always changes a bit. I don’t think you have to have ONE reason to be in the gym - why you started may not be the same reason why you still go.
Over time I fell in love with myself—not that I didn’t already love myself, like I said, I was blessed with good genetics—but through bodybuilding, sculpting my body into what it is now, I grew a deeper appreciation for myself.
I continue to stay in shape for many reasons - the one that trumps everything is my desire to have the best foundation for my future kids—carrying & growing them, but also for when they arrive.
I want my kids to have a strong dad AND mom - strong and in good health. Aside from this, I just like to look and feel good. There’s never been a day when I finished a workout and thought “yeah that sucked, this isn’t for me.” I always leave feeling 10x better than I did when I showed up.
Getting Into Competitive Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding has changed my perspective on many things - health & wellness, looks, and overall how people interact with me. People are nicer to you when you look good and take care of yourself. It’s contagious too, people will stop you in your tracks to ask “what do you do to look like this? How do I make myself look like you?” (Usually at the grocery store or somewhere like the beach…)
You get a lot of attention for just existing, and it’s a great feeling. You know that little muscle squeeze us women do to men? Yeah, that happens to us too. Other women will ask to touch your muscles, and some just go for it. (Sorry if you’re a normie and don’t like people touching you, maybe lifting weights isn’t for you).
It doesn’t just apply to physique either. When you take your physique seriously, it starts to overlap in every aspect of your life. You want to be the best version of yourself so - skincare (shoutout Fawn), hair care, more socialization (because you want people to see you more often), improved mental health… The list is endless.
Anyway, I never thought I’d see the day I’d sign myself up for a competition. I was not interested AT ALL. It took a pro-level competitor’s encouragement and a little nudge from Ox to make me consider stepping on a stage. But once I was convinced, I was giving 110% to this new chapter, a new challenge in my life.
It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t get easier as the weeks counted down either.. but it was so fulfilling when I finally did it. You grow a deeper appreciation for your body when you do something like this - powerlifting competitions, CrossFit Games, Bodybuilding Comps, Triathlons, all of it. We truly don’t know what we’re capable of until we test our limits. I think that's the most invigorating part about it all - you reach new heights in life that you never thought possible.
Bodybuilding gets a bad rep - “Oh they have eating disorders, body dysmorphia” OR “wow, you’re so vain! How do you waltz around with such a big ego?”
This is really far from the truth - any bodybuilder I’ve ever met wanted to see EVERYONE thrive, not just themselves. I had many people help me through prep with advice and encouragement (even people I was competing with).
As for the “body dysmorphia” and “eating disorder” comments… we’re literally just disciplined and want to eat for our goals. We don’t act like robots and pass up *every* opportunity to eat something we want or have an occasional drink with friends, but 9/10 it’s just lifestyle preference.
When you eat on a plan and cut alcohol, you feel 10x better than if you were to partake in junk. So yeah, I might be “vain” but I earned the right to be “vain” - reaching such a physique takes true discipline; therefore, I’m going to enjoy the temple I’ve created for myself.
I’m not all talk. Results speak for themselves.
How To Become More Attractive
*Note and understand that attractiveness is highly subjective - we are only as attractive as other people perceive us*
Obviously everyone has their own set of goals they set for themselves - the number one thing *most* people want out of the gym is to get hotter.
For both men AND women, having a lower body fat percentage is king, but more specifically - women like for men to have a nice V-taper and men like for women to have a nice hourglass figure.
Ideal Body Fat Percentages (optimal for fertility):
Men: ~ 9-12%
Developed Back (thickness and width)
Proportionate Triceps, Biceps & Forearms
Lastly, (very important) - nice leg development: quads, plus hammies AND glutes (the ladies like them too).
Women: ~ 19-22%
Some lat development
Thick glutes and legs
There are endless ways to achieve these characteristics - how you train is largely up to you and your preferences. If you don’t know where to start, Ox has tons of *example* programs to follow in his Substack. There, you’ll find frameworks of how to make your own programs (PPL, Upper/Lower, Full Body, etc).
As mentioned above, you want to train for your goals. This means if you want to grow, you need to be progressively overloading. If you want to lose excess body fat you’ll most likely add in some cardio along with your weights.
Diet will be just as important (if not more) as for whatever goal you’re trying to achieve will require a different formula. You want to shred? Caloric deficit. You like how you look right now - you’re *satisfied*? Caloric maintenance. Finally ready to bulk up and add size? Caloric surplus. How well you adhere to your plan will determine your results - with both training and diet.
You’ll also need to get optimal rest, so recovery (when our muscles grow the most) and quality sleep. “Beauty sleep” exists. The higher quality sleep you get, the better you will feel and the better you will recover (and grow).
You don’t need a quick fix fad-diet, magic pill, etc. etc. to obtain your ideal physique, but you need to be disciplined if you want to look great. Easy if you’re objective & apply basic principles, but if you’re soft.. you won’t get very far. We have a duty as humans to look as good as we can. After all, we aren’t the only ones looking at ourselves, other people have to look at us too.
Now that I have successfully competed in TWO!! Competitions and won both, qualified for Nationals, etc. I plan to take it a step further and compete at a National level competition within the next year (if I don’t get pregnant first *wink wink* @ Ox). I am far from ready, but after your first time competing AND winning, you get a taste of the thrill competitions bring you. You want to keep going back regardless of a win (even though that’s a plus).
I’m currently adding as much mass as I can before I start my next prep (deficit) and focusing on nailing & refining my routine. The experience is what I’m really looking forward to - you get to meet so many beautiful people, eat great food (post comp OFC), travel, and overall have a good time.
All that “suffering” is worth it in the end.
Check out my art website: bowtiedheifer.com I make pour paintings (fluid art) here.
I’m also an amateur graphic designer - if you have an idea, want a logo/pfp, etc. contact me @BowTiedHeifer (Twitter) OR email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s all for now! Happy Skincare!
Note: you can now book consultations with me! Check it out here or DM me on Twitter to book with ETH.