“Have the courage to act instead of react.” – Earlene Larson Jenks
It seems that the new status symbol among wealthy Chinese these days is the high-end bicycle. I suppose this burgeoning Chinese hipsterism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and whether it’s out of simple nostalgia or some true, nascent want to become “healthy” — hey, I’m all for it. And even more so, the Cars-R-Coffins idea! In my mind, anything that gets people to move — even somewhat — is a step in the right direction. Of larger interest to me, though, is what it is that actually gets people hooked on fitness as a lifestyle. And, more to the point, what is the “it” that gets people hooked on strength training?
One of the major reasons that I was so attracted to the S&C game when I was young, was the gut sense that the results obtained could not be bought, but had to be earned. Simply put, there were no “paid-for” shortcuts. Mommy and Daddy might shower you with the latest-and-greatest, but they couldn’t buy you strength, speed, broad shoulders or killer quads. Even the book-knowledge aspect of the game had to be properly parsed and apprenticed to be of any use. I don’t know why, but at the time that had huge appeal to me. Maybe this was due to the fact that I happened to grow up and go to school in an area that was an odd mix of the very well-off and those just barely scraping by, so this have/have-not disparity was constantly in my face. I won’t dive into a full-on philosophical/psychological diatribe on this (a topic for another time?); I do, however, think this is one way to “sell” the idea of pursuing lifelong fitness — that social status has little bearing on ultimate results — and this is what is so unique to the fitness lifestyle game.
And we can see the opposite of this at work too. What’s the first thing that the unfit will bring up when confronted with some one sporting a rockin’ body, or endowed with some special sporting prowess? Cheapening the accomplishment with accusations that the body/prowess was achieved via performance enhancing drugs. In other words, anyone could do it (including the accuser, of course) , if only they had the money and/or access…oh, and even a passing want.
Now please understand that I don’t write this from a better-than-thou prospective. In evolutionary terms, “the rich kid” and I were simply using what we had at our immediate disposal to garner attention — especially the attention of the opposite sex. I get that, and if I’d had other tools at my disposal at that time (money, any semblance of musical aptitude, etc.) things might have been very different.
And, too, I approach fitness differently now than when I was younger, from a more holistic point of view. Sure, I still like to be healthy, strong, fast, “look good nekkid” — and, yeah, I like knowing that these things must be earned and can’t be bought. But I’ve come to realize that what’s really kept me in the game for so long is a genuine love of the process. The atmosphere, the comradery, the chalk, the music, the feel of the bar in your hand and on your back. But most of all, the feeling of accomplishment that comes from an ass-busting S&C session.
There’s an ultra-fine line between loving the game itself, and loving the attention that success in the game brings. And the further one goes in highly competitive environments, the more this becomes evident. See my last post for more on that. The thing is, though, that even for the day-to-day fitness enthusiast, love of the process has to eventually trump love of the outward, earned results in order to turn fitness into a lifestyle vs just a passing fancy.
Nurture a love for the process, and you’ll cling to this lifestyle for a lifetime.
In health, fitness, and ancestral wellness –