As much as I love reading TC’s Atomic Dog, I also liked The Big Woof. I liked reading other contributors thoughts on things both training and non-training related.
So I’m doing two things here. First stating that I liked The Big Woof and want to see more. Also I’m here to do a little barking of my own. Here are some thoughts brewing in my head called:
Newbies. Rookies. Beginners. Whatever you want to call them. You see and hear about them all the time. Remember the two high school kids at your gym that took turn bouncing the bar of each other’s chests. Or how about the guy that brings his copy of Flex magazine so he can do what the pros do. Yeah we’ve all seen them. Weightlifting larvae.
But you know what; we were once there, too. Whether it was five years ago or twenty years ago, we once were new to the game of iron. I know I was. I still remember my first weight bench. I went out and bought a “nice” chrome 110 pound barbell set, and I was off. My first bench press; I remember my feet couldn’t even reach the ground. And my head barely fit between the uprights, but this was my egg hatching. My beginning stage. I new nothing about the different muscle groups. I knew curls would make my arms big. I knew I had to bench a lot to be strong. So every night a couple friends and I would start playing with our new weight set.
I remember doing the “draw a card” bench game. 110 pounds on the bar, draw a card, and press it that many times. I look back and like to think that we were being creative, but it’s really because we hadn’t yet heard the rule of 3 sets of 10.
There we were, the first stage: larvae. Insect larvae have one purpose: to eat and grow. The same could be true about weightlifting newbies, too. Eat, grow, and learn. That’s what my friends and I did for 4 months in the living room of my one bedroom apartment. We didn’t grow much in size, but our minds were growing. We slowly, and I do mean slowly, learned more and more about weightlifting.
The next stage of metamorphosis is the pupa stage. The cocooning. You develop into your adult self. You become what you want weightlifting to make you. But, just like insects, some larvae never make it to the next stage. It is too hard. Working out shouldn’t involve your mind. I don’t have the time. There are a million excuses and reasons why some never become pupae. I had my excuses, too.
Right there is what I think is the most important stage in the lifespan of a weight trainer. It doesn’t matter if you want to become a powerlifter, bodybuilder, or a hardcore version of Richard Simmons. You have to take the next step and reach the next stage. Become serious about what you are doing. Learn about weightlifting. Learn some anatomy. Learn some nutrition. Expand your mind and your body will follow.
There is a point in all of our training lives that something happened that turned us into pupae. For some it was finally finding T-nation. For others, maybe it was a workout partner or a book they read. Something triggered them to become pupae. To head to the final stage of metamorphosis. Break the cocoon and become an “adult”.
Now just because you’re a butterfly with big fancy wings now doesn’t mean you’re done. Becoming an adult in weight training simply means that you are smart enough to train effectively to reach your realistic goals. There’s still lifting to be done. And there’s still learning to do. And there are larvae out there that need help. They need to eat and grow. And you need to show them how.