You’ve gotta love it. Training is our sport, our diversion and our entertainment. It’s a refuge and private place for thinking, calming and healing. It’s our instructor and disciplinarian, our buddy and our boss. Training is a source of daily fulfillment and spiritual centering, our joy and our pain. Training is the taskmaster that molds us and sets us free.
Training, the act and action, is rigid and stands out like a warrior or champion athlete in the mind of the ordinary man. Training suggests instruction, practice and preparation in a worthy endeavor. In bodybuilding it means tough exercise, smart eating and wholesome living. Training means commitment. Training means diligence. Training means business, let there be no doubt about it.
Left to our own devices, left to choose between exercising and not exercising, the latter, for the overwhelming majority, is the popular choice. Eating right, meanwhile, is accidental or pure luck. Though common sense, experience and scientific evidence confirm that a trained body lives longer and with better quality, mankind is repelled by the effort it requires.
Entertain me, feed me, give me comfort, security and happiness, but, oh, don’t make me exert myself. I’ll labor for wages because I must, but don’t expect me to strain or withhold my appetites in my free time. Haven’t you noticed, don’t you see?’I prefer to sit and nibble and watch TV. Since training is not mechanical’configured into our involuntary neuromuscular system, like breathing and the beating of the heart’we must make it happen, regularly. We must will it to happen, or it will not. We must want it to happen, wish and need it to happen; then and only then, happen it will.
Training must become a habit, a passionate habit.
Social activity is for the most part a collection of habits, sometimes known as traditions. Cultures are defined by their habits. Who we are individually’good or not so good, charming or alarming, pleasant or annoying, productive or of little value’is reflected in and attributed to our habits. He who accurately assesses himself and rids himself of weak habits becomes a sturdier, more agreeable person. He who develops and adds wholesome habits to his regimen becomes a powerful and more complete person.
It’s up to us.
Achievement is directly dependent upon the individual, his courage and understanding. Why do so few men and women choose the golden practices of training’exercise and right eating’to support their life and well-being? Further, why do we neglect, even spurn, those precious disciplines worth more than gold?
Looking back to our fathers and great-grandfathers, unless they were royalty, we see that labor’hard work’contributed to their muscle and hardiness. They walked or saddled up. They ate sufficiently. Today we eat inefficiently and in abundance, here, there and everywhere. We gobble up truckloads of sugar, tubs of bad fat and scary chemicals by the barrel. And what about nights and weekends without TV? I suspect they did things or enjoyed well-deserved rest.
Modern man has been run down by the speeding train of progress. We built our towns and cities, escalators and SUVs, governments and schools and failed to comprehensively care for our most fundamental needs, the strength and health of our physical bodies. We have reading, writing and arithmetic in our classrooms, not to mention computers, but where are the basics of nutrition and eating right? Are they not central subjects of study for man’s personal strengthening, advancement and social welfare? We have art, mythology and social sciences, yet I don’t see vigorous physical training on the curriculum. Shouldn’t regular periods of fitness instruction be added to those subjects essential to progressive living? Did we forget? Are they too exhausting, too much trouble, too demanding and time-consuming? Are they considered embarrassing, primitive, harsh and repressive’socially and politically incorrect?
They are vital to humankind and should be routinely taught, and it’s a grave mistake they are not. Let’s riot. Where did we go wrong? We failed to educate, and we remain ignorant. In the past year we’ve seen a flurry of media reporting and national concern. But only a handful of people have heard the good word’train, exercise and eat right’and of that handful, only a pinch understand and apply its principles.
You’d think I was expounding on the philosophical themes of life stored in the obscure minds of haunted scholars, unfathomable and untouchable. Get outta town. I’m talking about invigorating exercise three or four times a week for an hour and sensibly watching our food intake. ALL I don’t like to think of my training as a habit. Lifting weights and getting appropriate amounts of nutritious food is to me a privilege and determination of will, a centering and ordering of the mind and spirit, a forceful yet desirable struggle that vents stresses from the mind and toxins from the body; a playful release, a living, breathing, moving creative expression, a statement about who I am, a fix. Training separates me from enslaving guilt and provides generous portions of physical and mental fulfillment.
Training is not worship, but it is an act of appreciation and thankfulness. It doesn’t decide where you’re going, but it does improve your destination and surely helps you get there. It doesn’t reveal the future, but it does clear the way ahead and help you understand the past. It might not tell you who you are, but a really good workout will lead you to your soul.
Let’s promote exercise and eating right to those who don’t. For the unconditioned and uninitiated such an undertaking is a boon, a deliverance, a life-changing activity. Training is a novelty that might survive as a habit and grow into a lifestyle. We don’t know where that will take them, but it has to be good. IM
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