Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lifting the Weight

I am learning to manage the work/recovery cycle.

I intended to take yesterday off, but when I looked at the workout I had planned, I could see that none of my sore muscles were the ones I would be focusing on, so I went on to the gym after work.

Yesterday was all about the Bench Press. This is and arm curls are most teenage boy's favorite lifts because they turn your chest and arms into babe magnets. They are great exercises when integrated into a more comprehensive workout plan. On their own, they pretty much just make the parts you see in the mirror look good when you're shaving.

Here's 8 time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman ("Light Weight!", "Yeah, Buddy!") showing you how the big boys do it.

Ronnie is a great champion and a real character. He hoots and hollers when he works out and seems to have a lot of fun training. His story is inspiring. He competed for many years, always a top finisher, but almost never a winner in big time bodybuilding before finally winning Olympia for the first time in 1998. One of the most famous parts of his schtick in the gym is this quote:
Everybody wanna be a bodybuilder, but don't nobody wanna lift no heavy-ass weight!
I was talking with Mrs. P about that yesterday. It struck me as a really profound observation. In a world where you buy a pill to make you thin or a car to make you sexy - where you can borrow money you haven't earned yet to by things you'll never really need - where the mantra often seems to be "if it's too hard, don't do it". You want to be rich? Buy a lottery ticket. Want something you can't afford? Use the Visa card. Want to be happy? Pay a shrink. It's refreshing to be reminded by someone who knows that you can't make your dreams happen if you aren't willing to do the work.

To me, "lifting the heavy-ass weight" isn't just hoisting hundreds of pounds of iron up and down. It's the actor who spends hours perfecting an accent or a cook who works for years to get a sauce just right. It's the student who starts cramming the first week of class, not the week before finals. It's the husband who stays and learns how to love his family. Lifting the heavy-ass weight is doing what it takes to be good at what you love.

I don't expect I'll ever look like Ronnie Coleman. I am way to vain about my hair to wear that look, But I take him to the gym with me when I go. He reminds me to laugh between sets, to refuse to give up, and to keep on lifting the heavy-ass weight.

Yeah, Buddy!


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