Sharpen the body and the mind: our new slimming ideal reflects our deepest anxieties. In this warlike world where we have to accept insecurity, intensive sports activities, even quasi-military, are more and more popular. Would muscle be our salvation?
Rigor, discipline and an intensive effort! For a long time, we "tightened our belts" to lose weight. But to starve is to weaken! No question, by the times. Today, the drastic diet is no longer in the plate but in sports halls, on the web and in women's magazines. It is the muscle that makes thinness. The one that gives the body a literally palpable existence, according to Sarah, 45 years old and four kilos lost on cardio-muscular machines: "Doing sports is a solution to overweight.It invites to rediscover his body.When I do a scrub and that I feel my legs firm and sharp, I realize that he is transforming himself. " Thanks to the sport, not only the thinness is visible but it touches itself! "The women who feared to be hypertrophied realize that one can work one's musculature without being bodybuildée", remarks Jean-Christophe Blin, head of the coaches to L'Usine, a Parisian sports club that has been engulfed in the fashion of almost Herculean sport. With names in "pump" , "fast" , "challenge" or frankly military like "bootcamp" and "commando", new courses put the test the strength and fighting spirit, like the CrossFit, combining weightlifting, fitness and athletics. All on a breathtaking pace, following the principle of high-intensity interval training "fractional training of high intensity", which promises to melt the fat in less than half an hour.
To chase without break frog jumps and pumps (burpees) , lunges and squats , crawling ... "If I can do it, you can and if you do, I do it! " cries Rahim, who leads the "commando" course at L'Usine Beaubourg. At the exit, Isabelle, 40, says she is proud: "It defies our nerves, and I love working on this resistance." Masochistic? Not necessarily. Some "feel unable to reach the desired shape, so they entrust the" training "of their body to a coach adjutant who reminds them that they do not surpass themselves enough", notes the anthropologist Gilles Boëtsch 1 . "We do not feel abandoned," says Nadira, a 47-year-old active sports enthusiast who enrolled in the Lady Moving sports and diet program. Having accumulated ten kilos after the death of her mother, she begins to move and dares to say: "Life is full of hardships.I want to be tough in me, not to collapse. "This tenacity invites to tap into his most unsuspected resources.So, when his coach asked him to hit sandbags, Annie, 46, first been shaken in her femininity. " I thought, "I have to be violent. "Then I became aware of my strength and my anger, and I assumed this discharge of aggression. I realized that she gives me insurance. Now, I approach this exercise as a game, "she says," our anxiety-provoking society does not tolerate any relaxation of the body or the mind, so the quest for thinness becomes virile. " Hardness, strength and speed are male principles, while softness and gentleness refer to the feminine, reminds Gilles Boëtsch. But competition on the labor market is no longer only between men, so that men and women meet on a physical level: the first look after their look when the seconds acquire muscle power. "
For s 'appropriating one's body
It's about being the "creator of one's body, which goes from being a tool to being an" object "of work", adds psychologist Sophie Cheval 2 Like the sculptor with the clay, we model it by bodybuilding, bringing matter to certain areas while smoothing our disgraces, a way like any other to appropriate it, according to Caroline Doucet, a psychoanalyst in Rennes. " It does not make sense to have a body, she says. To feel this, we must try to reconcile the three dimensions that constitute it: imaginary (images of the body, which are transmitted much by social networks), symbolic (the discourse on the body, very focused on health) and real (the biological body and its impulses) "Alas, in the era of the dematerialization and the valorization of the intellectual qualities, it escapes us sometimes." I am "a head", says Annie, teacher-researcher in art history. Until now, I had the feeling of being only a very muscular brain. Today, my body exists. He's as big as my neurons, and I'm reunited. I always feel it with me: when I walk, when I eat ... " 1. Gilles Boëtsch co-edited the book
Dictionnaire du corps (CNRS editions) 2. Sophie Cheval is the author of
Belle autre! End the tyranny of the appearance (Armand Colin)