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animal eater's The art of reflection and perspective

animal eater

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The art of reflection and perspective

I don’t actually remember when it happened. This pursuit of getting bigger and stronger muscles. I do remember my big brother took me to see Pumping Iron when I was a young kid and of course I remember catching Conan the Barbarian in the Cinema. I was also impressed with the smaller dynamic Bruce Lee who didn’t have an inch to pinch anywhere. Time has marched on and I realize that I have been training for most of my life.

As a few grey hairs emerge, I want to share the following observations that I have made when it comes to strength training and how it impacts our lives, most specifically between our ears. At days end, that is where we live.

It is a cliché, the young man who is lacking in confidence physically gets a hold of his first muscle magazine and says to himself, “that will be me one day.” So the journey begins. He is off like a runaway train to sign up for a gym membership. In a few short months he will see and feel a difference. But as the months pass, he hits the proverbial wall and plateaus. He’s still 50 pounds off where he wants to be.

Time passes and now he realizes that he must make some changes. He starts to try every supplement under the sun along with whatever routine that Muscle and Fiction is selling this month. Maybe he sees a few more gains but he is still a long way from where he wants to be. Then the penny drops and he realizes that in order to get to the size he envisions and craves, he might have to break a few laws and play like the big boys play. And so the journey into anabolics begins. Initially, it is fantastic. Once again, boy wonder is growing like a weed. He has just added 18 pounds to his frame in a few months. The chicks are starting to take notice and he feels like even the blokes are giving him some new found respect. He is no longer Mr. Puniverse!

In the next several years it will be abundantly clear that boy wonder is now hooked on steroids. What built him up might in time break him down. We all come with our own blue print of genetics. Some can look at a weight and get bigger and stronger while others can slug away forever and see limited results. Likewise, some trainers’ genetics allow them to take obscene amounts of steroids and a treasure chest of other helpers with few side effects while the vast majority will run into some trouble sooner than later. High blood pressure, liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, gynecomastia, impotence, sterility, balding, and acne are all factors that may come into the picture in years to come. The biggest threat is those that use these drugs rarely have regular blood work and health checks done to monitor what is happening inside the body. I am not an anti steroid crusader who believes that they are evil and should be illegal. What I am against is being unmonitored and short sighted when using them. The decisions of an impulsive 25 year old can have dire consequences that may never be reversed, all in the name of getting huge. At some point he is going to have to use the art of reflection and perspective to realize the following points.

1. Millions of people lift weights but only a very select few will ever be Mr. Olympia. Hell, even Ronnie Coleman had to keep his job as a police officer for a few years after winning the title. The reality is almost nobody makes a living flexing their muscles.

2. Appreciate the gains and progress that you have made in the gym and realize that there is always going to be someone who is smaller/weaker and bigger/stronger than you. Understand that you are far more then your physical appearance. Instead of being consumed with getting enormous and ripped to the bone, focus on being strong, fit, and healthy.

3. Make sure that you don’t end up forever paying tomorrow for what you short sightedly bought today. If you are going to use anabolics and its’ counterparts, use the smallest amount possible to bring the best gains. How many people will get a good result with 300 mg of testosterone on a first cycle and then automatically double or triple their next cycle? Your long term health must be considered and valued along the way. Personally I think a person should reach the following criteria before even thinking of a first cycle.

a. Have several years of good basic training under their belt.
b. Understand and practice an intelligent eating plan
c. Have reached an absolute plateau whether it be age or training related
d. Be well researched and mature enough to handle potential side effects.

4.Identify the difference between want and need. It is fantastic to have enthusiasm in your pursuits. While you want to attain a certain stature, you need to be healthy if you are going to enjoy a long life.

5. Take as much time to develop your relationships as your muscles. The pursuit of muscle and strength involve many hours of solitude. I have known many a competitor whose connection with everything outside of training completely dissolves. Life is more rewarding and richer when they are shared with other people. Getting down to an absurdly low body fat at 230 pounds is fleeting; a good friend or family member is forever.

6. Make sure to enjoy the journey. The end result of your dedication is more satisfying when you enjoyed taking the steps along the way. I find it a bit disheartening when I meet someone with average (at best) genetics who is miserable when they are dieting for months on end and then miserable at the end when they have placed poorly. Make sure that your hobbies bring you MORE joy than sorrow.

7. Ask yourself what hurts more, the pain of sacrifice or the pain of regret. This is what our life comes down to. Every day we have to put this question to task and contemplate the result of our action or inaction.

It is also worth noting that when it comes to reflection and perspective that bodybuilding is an illusion. Don't get overly caught up with the persuit of size alone. Broad shoulders and a narrow waist will go a long way in having a great apperance.

These are the confession of a healthy 42 year old who still loves the iron to this day.
 

D BO

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Jan 24, 2009
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Very nice post, people should all be well informed before walking this long path and take every step needed for health, knowledge and the body of a greek god. Lots of times Less is more and more is Less.
 

Jello

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Nice write up Bro. Who'd you copy that from:eek:;)
 

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