BEFORE I get to the content of this article, I have to make an admission of guilt … and how it changed the way I look at people on TV, the movies and the internet.
I am a product of the early 1990s’ martial arts and action-movie scene, and at the time, JCVD (Jean Claude Van Damme) was “The Rock” of the action genre. I was fascinated by JCVD’s physique, his moves, and of course, and his trademark splits! It was kind strange at the time that whenever I tried his moves against my sparring partners, I almost always got taken down! It worked in “Bloodsport,” right?
It was JCVD (and Bruce Lee) who got me into the martial arts and developed my work ethic for sports, and I wanted to be just like my heroes, look like them, and accomplish what I saw in the movies … that’s the admission of guilt part.
Looking back, I can reflect on a lot of good things that came out mimicking my heroes’ eating habits, routines and life philosophies. But I was also setting myself up for failure, mainly because I was always examining these people’s best moments and making them snapshots of my own personal goals. Hollywood makes it very appealing to be moved, to be inspired, and many times, to be fooled!
We know that what we see in the movies is most likely unrealistic, sensationalized, sexy and entertaining … but it doesn’t stop many people, especially young people, from trying to be like their heroes. What we see on screen is not what real people actually do. What we see on YouTube and the movies are moments in time — edited and selected for best presentation.
Even when a video appears to be candid, you are still seeing people in their best moments who are accomplishing incredible tasks or performances. The power of Hollywood editing is within reach even for the amateur these days, so it is easy to capture those video moments in a sensational way. Our culture responds, in some ways quite naively, to a sensational story, especially if we can relate with the characters we see on the screen.
What we often need to realize is that it is the sole profession of these actors, even YouTubers, to present a magnificent portrayal of action sequences, attractive bodies and even mesmerizing stage presence that leads the viewers into believing, or “buying in” to the movie or video. Actors often spend weeks to months physically and mentally preparing for a role, often at the sacrifice of personal time and relationships. They are surrounded by professional coaches from whatever discipline they are studying and training for, and have access to the follow-up medical care or supervision that keeps them within a safety net while extensively manipulating their diet and exercise routines. It’s quite a stressful undertaking!
I’m not suggesting we dump our heroes and role models by any means. We need inspiration, we need motivation at times, but we also need to remember we are each different. Real people live with real responsibilities, families, relationships and expectations. Follow your Hollywood and YouTube heroes sensibly. Be inspired, be moved — but don’t be fooled!
Dr. Adrian Pujayana has been providing drug-free solutions for health and wellness to adults, athletes, and youth since 2000 through his private practice at Family Chiropractic Center of South Pasadena, a place for strength training and nutrition based health care. For comments or questions, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.