Former NFL punter Steve Weatherford, who won Super Bowl XLVI with the New York Giants, is famous for his shredded physique and outspoken personality on social media.
On Tuesday, those two things crashed, as Weatherford blew the whistle on the many different ways his body image is manipulated for shirtless cover shots.
Via Weatherford's verified Instagram account:
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Getting "Likes" or "Comments" is encouraging, but that's not why I share my achievements. My hope is that some kid following my journey on social media finds inspiration. In today's society, things like social media have become outlets displaying unobtainable perfection. Was I in the best shape of my life for this cover photo shoot? Yeah, probably, but for kids out there thinking I look like this everyday of my life.... It's wrong. I manipulated my diet, cut carbs completely out for 7 days; in addition to dehydrating myself to look like this for only 3 hours. And a lot of the time Photoshop is involved. I did this shoot with one of the best fitness photographers in world. The "King of Covers" @jasonellisphoto and we used optimal lighting to make me look even more lean and striated. My point to this is that you can't take everything for face value. Everyone has a backstory and mine is no different. My fascination with fitness started at a young age. I was 14, and I remember looking at a @muscle_and_fitness cover and wishing I could look like that one day. I would cut out the different pictures and put them on my wall and lift the wal-mart weights I got for Christmas from my parents. I was 108 lbs and one of the skinniest kids in school, I hated being skinny, hated being weak, I wanted to be the ALPHA male when I walked into the room. After 19 years on this journey to improve my strength, athleticism, and physique I think it's time someone shares the REALITY of this industry. It's not about comparing yourself to someone else. These magazine covers are all smoke and mirrors, they aren't realistic. They are a highlight, and often times not 100% real. I guess what I'm trying to get across is... Don't compare your successes to someone else's. Be your best self. Be the best version of you, not the second best version of someone else. Don't compare your chapter 4 to someone else's chapter 20. PLEASE TAG someone that may benefit from my story
A photo posted by Steve Weatherford (@weatherford5) on
Weatherford said the photo above required seven days of a carb-free diet, three days of dehydration, perfect lighting and even some photoshop. However, most people don't realize all that before they like, comment or share the final result.
After years of viral posts, Weatherford said it's time to explain the "smoke and mirrors" of his bodybuilding experience.
Via his Instagram:
After 19 years on this journey to improve my strength, athleticism, and physique I think it's time someone shares the REALITY of this industry. It's not about comparing yourself to someone else. These magazine covers are all smoke and mirrors, they aren't realistic. They are a highlight, and often times not 100% real.
Weatherford played 10 seasons in the NFL, including just one game for the New York Jets in 2015. The 215-pound punter averaged 44.5 yards per punt with a career long attempt of 71 yards, so it's certainly not all "smoke and mirrors" when it comes to his strength.