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Workouts for Life

This morning I was talking with a friend about training. He was an outstanding competitive bodybuilder 30-plus years ago and has never stopped training. The subject turned to how our workouts have evolved. Why was the process so deeply satisfying? What made it a lifetime addiction?

We discussed the connection between effort and reward. At our stage we train for the pleasure that the process gives us. The physical dividend of strength and muscle is secondary to the exhilaration of the process itself.

My friend went on to talk about his very athletic grandson and how coaching him is the thing he enjoys most in life—even more than his own workouts. What really “pumped him up” was the enthusiasm of a 15-year-old who can literally gain muscle and strength from workout to workout. It not only reminded him of the fun of his own workouts as a young man but also gave him the unequaled pleasure of passing on his knowledge to an exceptional pupil. I’ve enjoyed many workouts with my 20-year-old son Justin, and I’ve found that his enthusiasm fuels my training while my experience and knowledge fuel his progress.

As society has changed, adults have had a harder time finding ways to relate to children and grandchildren, but the primal need for strength and muscle is easily shared. It isn’t just for boys and young men either. Recently, Mike Neveux and I were discussing our daughters’ enthusiasm for working out. They never miss a training session, and they work hard at it. Why? Whether they recognize it, the strength they build is in character and confidence as well as muscle. Strength engenders control, and physical strength gives everyone more confidence.

A couple of weeks ago Rick Collins, co-author with James Villepigue of Alpha Male Challenge, called to tell me that his new book was about to be published and asked if I would like a review copy. By coincidence his book arrived today, and as I spent 30 minutes giving it a quick overview, the “feel” fit right into my own experiences. While it’s ostensibly an exercise and diet book and a comprehensive 10-week makeover plan—for the seriously committed—it’s actually much more. Rick incorporates his own thoughts on the philosophy of training and its many wonderful benefits.

Strength and muscle are about much more than what you can see. They’re about how they make you feel. The incredibly talented actor and dancer Gregory Hines once told me that when he started to work out with weights, it changed his whole perception of his connection to his body. That’s part of the magic. Enjoy those workouts! IM

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