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I'll Keep Trying


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We are none of us immune. Anyone at any time will doubt, wonder, become uncertain or subtly negative. A wary nature is insurance, an essential of survival and an internal mechanism directing us toward success.

In excess it can paralyze us or, at least, render life a harmless and uneventful occurrence. Suspicious, ever-questioning and procrastinating souls with wrinkled-up noses capture doubt and uncertainty, stuff and mount them over the mantle to be displayed as trophies of conquests never made. The wall upon which our trophy, yours and mine, would hang is bare; we carry it with us, a companion, a protector and reminder.

I think back, long and hard -- at 12 I didn't ask what I should do. Who could I ask? What would I ask? I just did it. At 17 I didn't ask what exercise builds this and what food builds that. Thank God, I just did it, more and harder. I don't ever remember asking much; it never seemed that complicated. No one had to tell me it was hard work and took a long time. School was hard work and took a long time. Working after school to earn a few bucks was hard and took time. Why should lifting weights and building muscle be any different?

You lift, you learn, you grow. That's life.

Today? Not so simple. How could it be and why should it be? The curve is different: more acute and active and occupied. Questions are no longer questions, but riddles to be cleverly circulated. The absence of quickness and efficiency in a solution reduces it to a lie. Let's do it now, let's do it right, let's do it perfectly and at once, before the other guy (everyone else is the ‘other guy'). That's the message we've been hearing lately. You can always tell when somebody's been watching too much cable news.

Building strong and healthy bodies need not be sought that way, nor can they be achieved that way. In fact, it's a contradiction, isn't it? A hurried and anxious method of operation produces only injury, disappointment and stress, not the soundness of body, the fulfillment of accomplishment and the relief of tension that ought to be associated with hearty fitness.

Let's say you know all this. You've been around a few years and to be called well seasoned is a compliment as good as any. Time is square enough, a peculiar, almost lovable mate you've come to know and can't deny. Success and disappointment in their own relative ways have come to visit, linger and leave. You're a mature bodybuilder and the scenery appears to be changing. You still love to train, meet goals and reinvent yourself, but call it age or possibly just a slump, you now seem to be faced with questions that only an older bodybuilder can answer.

Things like: Am I training hard enough or overtraining? If I push myself to do one or two more reps, is that good or am I overtraining? Sometimes I go to the gym and can train like a horse, strong and energetic. Sometimes I battle with, “Should I rest today or push myself? Why does my elbow joint hurt? Am I getting arthritis? What is the most effective way for me to train?”

Maybe you think, “I used to do cardio activity everyday to help with bodyfat loss, energy increase and heart health. Am I over doing it? It now seems to cut into my training energy where it never did before. I'm out of control...”

These questions are legitimate and we all ask them ourselves. You've been asking them lately yourself, haven't you?

I wish this older bodybuilder could answer them for you. I'll keep trying.

Dave

*****

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