"I am Jack's raging bile duct."
“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
“The first rule of Fight Club is: You don’t talk about Fight Club.”
I knew you’d get it from the last one. The year was 1999. The film was apparently a bit of a flop in the cinemas. I thought it was awesome. The other thing that was awesome was Tyler Durden’s physique. This guy was SHREDDED! Couple that with being a character that had the swagger of a rock star whilst forcing modern life to take a long hard look in the mirror, and you’ve got the makings of a legend.
The 70s had given us Kung Fu movies. The 80s gave us Conan, Rocky(s), Predator and Kickboxer. Hollywood had got on the juice!
The 90s still hung on a little bit to the steroid generation from Hollywood, but they were getting old. Bruce Willis was tough, but not necessarily buff.
The Matrix gave us some amazing effects and martial arts, and then, from out of nowhere came Brad Pitt as the ridiculously cool Tyler Durden. We hadn’t seen a six-pack like that since Enter the Dragon.
If you google “fight club physique”, you get over one million hits. If you ask any male aged 20 – 40 if they enjoyed Fight Club, it’s usually a resounding yes..
So, where am I going with this seemingly homoerotic blog?
I’m throwing open to discussion the reasons why people train much harder, smarter and with better results now than they did twenty years ago. I’ve got a few other ideas which I’ll post up next week, but I’ve been holding onto the Fight Club theory for a while.
I call them the Men’s Health Generation. Kids that grew up with this new, attainable (unlike Arnold’s) image of physical perfection thrust at them every day, whether it was a Men’s Health cover, MTV, or a character in a movie. Guys aged 20-30 make up the bulk of a gym’s clientele in the evening between 5 and 7pm, and they’re training like beasts. They’re eating right, cycling their workouts, and training like pros.
Whether Fight Club was the first exposure of the current generation to the results of extreme discipline diet and training, we can’t say for sure. But it definitely had an effect, and we’re seeing results in the gym every day.
I’m 33 now. I grew up wanting to be Slash. I used to practice ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ every night till I had it perfect.
If I was 12 in 1999, I might have grown up wanting to be Tyler Durden. I’d be 25 now.
If you look back at some stills from the film now- they don’t look that amazing. He’s actually only about 11.5 stone at 5’11’’. I’ll offer you two explanations…
1) Tyler Durden was SO cool, your memory of his whole persona is blended into this ripped, tough, funny guy.
2) The standard of physique we’re used to now is that much higher- professional fitness models that are literally paid to train and diet- that Durden just comes up as average.
But that doesn’t matter. Because he’s the original. Where it all started.