During the summer, sometimes you come across a step-by-step plan for getting the perfect beach body. Step one: Put on a swimsuit. Step Two: Have a beachy body. This is it. To underscore this message, Luca, 21, is standing on the beach in his swimming trunks. Since his teenage years, he’s felt pressured to look muscular, but he’s learned to ignore beauty ideals. “I put a cream on the black dots every day.”
For a new series, NINA went to the Belgian coast. We photographed men and women and talked to them about everything they like about themselves. The message should be clear: m, v or x, big or small, size 34 or 54, it doesn’t matter, because everyone deserves to be a beach model.
At first glance, Luca (21 years old) looks typical macho. In his short red swim shorts, he’s reminiscent of ‘Baywatch’ muscle firmness, while he’s basically a shy guy. Someone who is hard to get out of his words and blushes when we ask him what he likes most about his body. “Um… my back, I think?” (a smile)
“It’s crazy to be bragging about yourself,” he says, somewhat unsure. “Definitely about that specific part of the body like my back. But it’s strong and well trained, and I’m proud of that. Same goes for my legs. My legs are beautiful: solid and muscular.”
When I’m feeling down, I go to the gym. This is the perfect place for me to let go of all stress and clear my mind.
With his tight biceps, triceps, and six-pack muscles, Luca appears like a true fitness boy. “That’s right,” he said himself. “I first got into the gym four months ago, and I’ve tasted it ever since. I love lifting weights, it’s a strong sport where I have to lift heavy barbells.” However, his main motivation is not to work on his appearance, says Luca. He lifts weights to maintain his mental health. “It just becomes a reaction – when I get frustrated, I go to the gym. This is the perfect place for me to release all the stress and clear my mind for a while.”
“Plus, I am a person who loves challenges and likes to push myself. There are limits that have to be pushed.” Therefore, his great passion lies not in weightlifting, but elsewhere. It says “in MTB”. “I’ve been a mountain biking addict for years. I do it for the excitement, the adrenaline. And for the group vibe: every year we go on vacation with our regular group of friends for mountain biking. Last year, for example, we went to the French Alps With nine guys. Talk about an unforgettable trip.”
However, his hobby is not without danger. Some time ago, Luca had a painful fall. “My jump went wrong. I hit several trees and ended up falling on rocks. So yeah, now I’m stuck with an ugly scar on my shoulder. On the other hand, it reminds me of MTB, which is kind of a representation of what I like to do. That’s how I do it.” I’m trying to put that into perspective.”
As a kid I was comfortable with my own skin, but since the age of 15 I’ve become more and more insecure.
“In general, I feel good with my appearance. Except for my arms, which were a bit skinny for me, especially in relation to the rest of my body,” says Luca. If we ask him to drape To take the photo, he does so with a little hesitation at first. But in the end, he has a big smile and his self-confidence is boosted.
“When I was a kid I was comfortable in my own skin. But since I was 15 I have become more insecure. Not only will you have a growth spurt and become a teenager, but at this age you will also start using social media. On Instagram etc. You only see fully trained people. Big, muscular and very handsome. And eventually you start to believe that’s the norm.”
“While women have been building up a body positive movement for years, it is still remarkably calm on the male side. However, we are also concerned with our appearance. Now I realize how foolish those beauty ideals are. In the entire world there are probably a few thousand people who They have an impressive body. The rest have minor flaws, but we should appreciate them, because they make you unique and beautiful.”
For Luca, sport is a way to de-stress, and that’s clear. In addition, he does not hate beauty products. “I’m very happy with my face. Especially in terms of the shape of my eyes, my plump lips, the curls in my cheeks. My cheekbones are there, but not much. The only pity I sometimes have black dots. That’s why I apply another acne cream and moisturizer every day to keep My skin is healthy, smooth and toned.”
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