Friday, July 10, 2020

Something to Think About - Bradley J. Steiner (1973)

As I have pointed out before, a very serious mistake that some young (nd some not so young) people often make when they take up weight training is to literally devote themselves to exercise. 

They live in the gym. Or they spend all of their spare time locked up in their garage or bedroom, endlessly doing set after set of exercises. They build their lives around their workouts, and, perversely, their weight training becomes an obsession, rather than an enjoyable addition to their lives.

Big arms become more important than girls. Adding five pounds to their squat becomes more vital than selecting a career, and acquiring a new piece of exercise equipment takes the place of getting a new suit of clothes.

Now let me state most emphatically that I believe anyone who wishes to make lifting his entire life is entitled to do so. He has every right to consider muscles and strength more important than anything else, and to structrure his existence so that no time is spent away from the barbell, if he can help it. But my time well spent in the Iron Game has persuaded me, for one, that this sort of extremist attitude is a mistake. And I hope - because I am convinced that I am correct - that I  can influence many young people today to adopt a less obsessive attitude and philosophy towards lifting and building muscles than is generally encouraged in mos bodybuilding publications. 

For one thing, remember that life is very short. We live for, say 70 to 80 years on average, and, honestly now, do you think that's a long time? Even if a human being lived two or three times that span of life he would still not live long enough to experience and enjoy and learn about everything there is to know. Therefore, consider how much he foregoes when he cuts and restricts his life's activities. 

Yes - this applies even when he does so with regard to a very complex and challenging field, like art or medicine, or writing or science. But how much more does he restrict himself when tennis or baseball or weightlifting or stamp collecting becomes his core interest? 

It's something to seriously ponder. 

A person who lifts for two hours a day, six days a week, and spends say a half hour traveling to and from the gym, uses up THIRTY TWO AND ONE HALF DAYS OF HIS LIFE EACH YEAR ON HIS LIFTING ALONE. 

That, my friends is more than a solid month of life, 24 hours per day, all night and day, every single year.

Perhaps that is a bit much, no? 

By all means, if lifting means that much to you, spend the time. It may be a good investment. It is, after all, YOUR life. But at least think it over carefully, and get a clear idea of what you're doing. It's a free trip, in other words, but it's a long, long journey.

Now, the goal of bodybuilding (i.e., strength, health and a well-formed, fit body) is not, properly, an end in itself. 

The advantage of being fit, healthy and strong is that it enables one to better enjoy the goods, values and pleasures of human existence. Love and sex are greatly enhanced by a well built, powerfully fit body. Creative work becomes more pleasurable to do and enjoy, the fruits of one's labors can be more thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed because one is in a condition to LIVE. 

To invest a few hours each week in developing one's body is surely wise. But to spend all one's time doing nothing but training is something like running on a treadmill - where are you getting? And what for?

There is every reason to believe that a lot of training does NOT produce better results than a lesser amount of training. I, for one, believe that over four-and-a-half hours PER WEEK spent in bodybuilding is an absolutely insane amount of overwork, and that there is no reason why even a Mr. America can't get ample work done in three or so hours' total training time per week.

My own training, now that I am able to look back on my early years of experience, was unfailingly most productive when I trained for about an hour or so three times a week. I will not permit myself to exceed one-and-a-half hours, three times per week, on weight training today - and this is because I know full well from experience that this is PLENTY, and I should probably even do less. But sometimes I take a little longer training, since my day's activities have me somewhat tired, and I don't like to rush a workout.

When I was in my teens (I started training at sixteen) and, admittedly, overly concerned about muscles, I spent up the three hours on a workout. But I gained zero for my extra efforts. The only "gain" was an idiotic feeling of satisfaction at having pushes myself through another grueling session of muscle searing. Okay, I was young and immature, and, actually, I guess not too much harm was done. But maybe I can help some of you fellows today to avoid my mistakes. No, I want to force no one. Everybody surely has a right to make mistakes. But for any of you who follow my articles and respect what I have to say, I'm saying it. Take it for what it's worth. 

If you will train very hard for about one to one-and-a-half hours, three times per week, you will be reaping the maximum gains that are possible for you to make, and you will be giving yourself the wonderful, sane opportunity of living a rich, full lie IN ADDITION to your training. Before you shrug off these words, again, I ask you to seriously consider them.

I am sure that any sane person who could make $100 a week by working 35 hours would never choose to work for 40 hours at a reduced salary of $80. Well, essentially, this is the operating principle with progressive resistance exercise: DO THE RIGHT AMOUNT - GET PLENTY; OVERDO IT - GET LESS. 

Not everyone - regardless of what claims are made by many publications, advertisers and manufacturers of equipment - can build a Mr. America physique. In fact, few can. To encourage those with, frankly, poor potential to keep flailing away at their bodies with endless training in hopes of becoming a Grimek or Oliva is in my opinion cruel and dishonest. I will ALWAYS encourage a young man to strive unceasingly for maximum development, but always HIS maximum, not someone else's. And his maximum can probably be attained within five to seven years of training very, very hard consistently for only three or four hours a week. 

And even if it couldn't, even if an individual with very poor potential could (I insist, he CANNOT) develop a physique that is the equivalent of a Grimek or Pearl by devoting fifteen or more hours a week (and virtually all of his interest and energy) to getting it, WOULD IT ACTUALLY BE WORTH IT? 

Really, now . . . would it? 

Perhaps for a couple of years (until he fills out) a skinny teenager may FEEL like it would be, but I doubt sincerely if anyone with even passably decent brain function could accept this sort of idea throughout, say, two decades! 

You will probably be a happier person and live a more complete, satisfying life if you consider INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT primary and physical development secondary, within reason of course. This applies to almost everyone; not just those who regard themselves as especially gifted or bright. 

I don't want to imply that I believe muscles are for imbeciles or that intellectual development is strictly for geniuses. Our modern world offers intellectual rewards aplenty for just about everyone, with the exception of the severely handicapped, the extremely shortsighted, those who know not history, pampered punk trust-fund "protesters", anyone even remotely connected to or endorsing the sorry and blind racist to the core human tragedy branding itself as "BLM" and, well, pretty much the majority of damnably dimwitted people you might strike up a simple conversation with now that the dregs have become addicted to censored social media falsehood being pumped into their pimped out "minds" 24/7. You want a real social media platform that won't coddle these bought-off twats and doesn't just remove anything even close to resembling conservative thought?

Where the fuck were we.

No matter what spectacular or outstanding level of physical development you achieve, you will NOT retain this peak throughout your life. Sadly, physical development, unlike intellectual development, levels off as one hits one's middle age, barring those fortunate enough to have great hereditary and biophysical advantages. It is not a "forever" thing. 

I would like to extend my sincere best wishes to every person who is coming to weight training today, or who has passed the beginner's stages and is now in hard, regular training. I hope you find every possible success that this wonderful activity can give you. But I also hope, with ever greater fervor, that success in bodybuilding is not all you seek or find in life.    


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive