T Nation

Building One's Body - Self Reflection

As I was sitting at my desk working a way and reviewing this site a thought struck me, why am I, and we collectively I suppose, obsessed with building a better body and continually improving our physical being? Why am I doing legs tonight knowing I’ll have a hard time walking two days from now? What are we all after?

And here’s what I came up with.

The thing about lifting weights and sculpting your body to be bigger, leaner, stronger or generally more fit, besides the obvious health benefits is for two reasons the way I see it.

First it’s free. Sure there are gym membership dues, food, supplements and training gear, but overall you don’t have to purchase anything to build a better physique. Actually you can’t even if you wanted to. If Bill Gates plunked down $1 Million dollars could he have a Mr. O physique tomorrow? Nope. For example if you want to drive faster, you have to pony up the cash to buy a fast car, or the parts to modify your existing ride to make it faster. Not so with your body. All you have to do is put in time and technique, and opportunity costs aside, your will become faster, better and stronger.

Secondly, having in excellent physique is rare in America these days, and just by having one, puts you in a unique class. I’d guess of the 300 million people we have in America only 2% are in excellent physical shape, with visible abs with full, large vascular muscularity. Think about it, having a six pack of abs is almost ‘heroic’ looking if you think about it. Being a power lifter or strong man puts you in the class of the mythical Hercules and that’s probably why we’re all so fascinated with Strength in the States.

In summary having money can buy you lots of things pretty much instantly, but NOT a better body. No for that you have to put in the time, energy and discipline that no amount of money can bestow.

If there were a judging contest between two people, one an average looking guy, lets say pudgy even, standing next to his Ferrari, and next to him an average looking guy, standing alone, who takes his shirt off and reveals a shredded bod, with large defined muscularity, who to the normal person would appear more impressive? I’d bet you the in-shape guy wins every time.

I guess I’ll end it this way. Weightlifting allows anyone, regardless of background, income, and inclination to make themselves truly rare, impressive and unique. No other variable in abundance be it money, intelligence, education can replicate this phenomenon. And this is why I think we all struggle and push ourselves, to become something that money can never buy.

Steps off soap box

What is it with all the self reflection and why do we lift things popping up lately?

w/e…its pretty inspirational. fits with one of my favorite quotes: its from Ivan Drago (the Russian dude in Rocky)

“I fight for me! For ME!!!”

yea the whole theme of lifting making you part of the elite can sound borderline propoganda sometimes, but really, if you dont have a reason to do it (then why ARE you doing it?) you wont be as good as if you have this running in the back of your head.

I do it because it’s the only thing I can do and be totally alone. I don’t think about work, women, money, or what I am going to do that evening. I am in total solitude while I work out. I do it because it makes me feel like I am the strongest person in the world for the hour or so I work out. I can block anything out.
I lift for the feeling of exhaustion. I know it will pay off with more strength and muscle mass.
I don’t do it to impress people because people don’t give a shit, and I could give a shit about what most people think.
I do it because it makes ME a better person.

I do it because weightlifting is fun and challenging

Basically, because there’s lots of things that people, including me, might wish they could change about themselves, and your physique is one of the few things that you can actually change with just some hard work.

I find the ability to change my body to look and perform a certain way absolutely fascinating. I am so thankful that I picked up this lifting “bug” at a young age…

To clarify there are many reason’s we lift, the two I mentioned in my orginal post are just one’s I thought of.

I like the solitude as well. Just me, perhaps some music and the weights. It’s cathartic.

I thought about this before and this is what I came up with.

  1. Pride in doing something seriously that few people can do due to lack of self-discipline or interest in constantly pushing body to limits

  2. Fascination with ability to change body’s shape and structure

  3. Passion for lifting including actual ache and overall feeling during workout

I would venture to say most people got started with the notion of just impressing others. Yes they may have come around by now and realized that it’s more about yourself, but initially it was to look better to others.

The other aspect is for health reasons, but that’s more a reason to diet than to train.

You’ll answer that when you answer why all humans seek improvement.

It’s too much for me to get into right now but I’m sure you can think of a few ideas.

So many things in your life are contingent upon the actions of others. Cooperation is one of the fundamental keys to success in any field of life.

That being said, training is one of the few games that is all up to you. You develop the inner-motivation. You get yourself out of bed at 6am on a frosty December morning to hit morning cardio. You prepare 6 meals daily so that you always have nutritious food handy. You squeeze out the last few reps under the squat rack. You go to bed early so that you’ll be energized the following day. You never miss a workout because you know that it enhances all other areas of your life. You do it all…even when you don’t want to.

And when you’re laying by the pool and a beautiful woman tells that you have nice abs…The only one to thank is yourself.

You get to reap the fruits from all your labor