Monday, April 14, 2008

The Weight Training Dogma...Hardcore or Hard Work?

I was reading an article last week titled, The Muffin Top Manifesto, by Susan Finley, an RKC out of South Carolina. The article was about the constant battle Americans are constantly fighting with fat loss. (By the way, Obesity is the 2nd leading preventable cause of death in America, just behind smoking) She made a comment that got me thinking that "Hard Work" could be an interchangeable term with the unfavorable term "Hardcore," (in the context of training) and I started thinking how this related to me and my training. Here ya go...

The Weight Training Dogma…Hardcore or Hard Work?

When I finished my undergrad I began lifting at a local commercial gym. Even though I was never very strong or powerful, I’ve had a label placed on me as the guy who did the hardcore workouts or was too hardcore to talk to. The more time and effort I put into the gym, my lifts became stronger and heavier. My workouts became more structured and pragmatic. I started putting a lot of mental energy into my quest for strength. Is this what hardcore is? I believe all I did was unconsciously implement a lifelong value system that I happened to learn while growing up on a cotton farm…Hard Work. Farming is extremely hard work. The time, money and energy invested in a crop is at times difficult to fathom, and all for a result and reward that can be wiped away by the next dark cloud in the sky. Training, much like farming, can yield results that will be stolen from you in an instant. But instead of being visited by a hail storm, you’re visited by an injury that keeps you from your goals for weeks or even months.

I really enjoyed what I was doing while training, achieving results that I could see and feel, and pushing towards the genetic potential that God blessed me with. But why have I seen such a constant barrage of negativity towards the way I train by average people? Do they truly understand how much I’ve invested in this activity society dubs “working out?” I don’t feel that I’m hardcore at all. I work hard. I use kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, giant tires, sleds, sledge hammers, pipes, over sized rubber bands, my own body weight and anything else I can get my hands on to achieve my goals. Sometimes the goal is specific, sometimes not, but the underlying goal of pushing my physical and mental abilities will always stay constant.

Many of us take for granted the simple physical abilities that we are blessed with. Even if you think weight training is “hardcore,” step back and think how you are using your abilities and how hard you work to push yourself to reach your potential. It’s honestly just a matter of a cognizant decision to make yourself the best you can be with what God gave you. Take the first step, and just get up and do something….anything. Studies have shown it takes six weeks to form a habit. Let us make working hard on our bodies a “habit” that we keep for the rest of our lives!

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