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Publisher’s Letter: Stressed Out? Work Out

Great tools for dealing with the greatly increased stress levels of life.

I'm writing this editorial in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, and I'm finding it very difficult to concentrate. By the time you read this in November, we will have a clearer picture of our personal and collective futures and the world's response to all that has happened. At this time I find my workouts more meaningful than ever.

The process and intensity of my training have been great tools for dealing with the greatly increased stress level. One result of the tragedy has been a stripping away of the nonessentials and a sharpening of the focus on family, friends and the things that enrich our lives. As a lifelong bodybuilder I know that the process of working out is an integral part of who I am. In the past 10 years I've found that I value and anticipate workouts as much for the psychological pump as the physical pump, and, like you, I'm always looking for ways to enhance my efforts.

Almost 25 years ago I came across a book, The Strongest Shall Survive, and it became a cornerstone of my workout library. The author, Bill Starr, has had an illustrious career as an Olympic weightlifter and a strength coach. I've reread his words many times over the years, and I've always learned something new. Bill's writings reinforce my conviction and fire up my enthusiasm for training. He has been a monthly contributor to IRONMAN for years, and many readers include him on their list of favorites. I mention Bill at this time because I feel that the process of connecting to the core of weight training'which is his specialty'is one of the ways we can center ourselves, get the most out of our workouts and armor ourselves against the onslaught of stress in our lives.

The workout is the center of the bodybuilding lifestyle. We all know the sense of loss we feel when we miss a workout. The damage in the short term is psychological. Eventually, it becomes physical. On the flip side of the coin are the unlimited possibilities unleashed by the process of training and our persistence in continuing that process. That is the power of the workout.

It's our goal at IRONMAN to help you realize your physique goals with the knowledge that the workout is much more than physical. I'm very interested in getting your input on what the workout means to you. I can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

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