Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thoughts, Strong Women, Uncle George

Observations, thoughts, opinions.

I have been training for many years, since 1979, I believe. That is a long time. When I first started out, no women lifted weights. Now it has changed. Not sure how many women I have worked with but it is a bunch. The women that I have worked with, most of them,  are amazing. Focused, tough, driven. And they have fun, man. It's serious when they get under the bar, but I had to get used to some of the laughter and chatter before they started a set. And its quite cool when a 60 something year old women realizes that they have gotten stronger and that by getting stronger, their lives got much better.

In my experience, some men that I have trained with have  been late to train, or made excuses or began a training session and then quit or thought that they were hurt or that life was too hard for some reason that really was not a reason.

 Of course, I have always been comfortable around strong women. Doctor's and All -Americans. Some men just aren't comfortable. That is sad and funny and shallow.  I have always been around athletic women, women with confidence, brilliant women who would have been Vikings in a past life.  But the men? Most have been disappointing. I just laugh at them inside, tell them what they want to hear and move on.

I realize that some of that is isolated to my experiences , and does not pertain to all men. Of course it doesn't.  However, when I am around some of these "men" in this day and age, I think of  real men like my Uncle George who was a professor at the University of Maryland and was an amazing man. He separated his shoulder and still played basketball or tennis everyday. He just played with one arm.  And never saw a doctor. No, he didn't lift weights, and he never counted "macros". To Uncle George and men of that generation (they are or would have been around 80-85 years old now. Think Clint Eastwood) it would have been laughable and foreign and the mere suggestion would have been met with quizzical looks and "Why would I ever do that? I have too much to do to worry about that at all." He wouldn't have been against lifting weights. Knowing him, he would have squatted , deadlifted, and pressed.  5x5. Eat some steak and drink some cream soda. He would have done all of this to get stronger at life. Not to look pretty. He probably would have competed in one of the strength sports if they were around then,on a whim, with no training, maybe strongman. He was lifting weights, but not in a traditional sense. He performed gymnastics with the students. Self taught of course.

He was his own self help guru. He would have laughed if someone would have told him that Deepok or Wayne Dyer or someone on PBS with bare feet had the answers to life. Life to him and most men of that generation was all about doing. Action over stasis, action over reflection. Too busy and too bad ass to reflect.

 He was the coolest, man. Anytime that we had a big snow, he would walk to my house from a few miles away and he and my father would build a sleigh riding course down our driveway complete with a snow tunnel. He taught himself to scuba dive and he bought a 40 foot sail boat without ever driving a sailboat before, willed himself to get his doctorate in spite of having zero mentors in his family, and became the acting Dean and still remained best friends with the maintenance staff and equipment managers at the University of Maryland. A man of the people.  A man who died of bone cancer and never complained one second about the hand dealt to him.  That was a great man.

We need a farm system to create men like that, like those from that generation.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and we both said, damn, when the men from that generation die, we are in trouble. And then we both agreed that we were already in trouble.

Will Over Hope, Action Over Stasis, Power Over Weakness- Pete Helmkamp

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.