MIND/BODY CONNECTION

Weights: To Lift or Not to Lift?

Dave Draper

Page 1

Time flies. You’re 40-something and wondering if weight training is the thing for you. Okay, so you’re actually closer to 50-something, closing in on 60, and considering lifting weights to improve your health and strength before you’re 70 in a few months. Yes, no, maybe—couch, remote, bowl of crunchies...you’re uncertain.

Barbells and dumbbells are crude and unwieldy devices designed for muscleheads, brutes and inmates. Hoisting the objects is a tedious and nonsensical expenditure of time and a source of much labor and pain. Weightlifting at this time of my life...hmmm...the idea sounds as appealing as tapping my forehead with a ball-peen hammer or grooming alligators. I must be losing my marbles.

I take it you haven’t experienced the fascination and fulfillment and fury of engaging the iron. You haven’t grasped a pair of hefty, well-balanced dumbbells, stood with them suspended mightily by your sides and comprehended their energy and force—their sheer gravity. It’s a powerful and exciting thing to behold and to reckon with. Pure joy! They and their attributes are at your command to reward you in unimaginable ways.

Weights and lifting them make men and women of all ages strong in body, in mind and in soul. They build muscle and strength, as surely as they build character. They improve energy and endurance, as certainly as they improve acuity and physical calm. The iron, though cold and lifeless, is instructive and endearing and dependable.

Spirits are raised as the weights are raised. Patience grows as the weights, sets and reps are counted and accrued. Physical ability and utility advance as the lifter diligently practices his or her lifting skills. And they, the pursued skills, are not a thing of mindless routine. They are the graceful and deliberate application and performance of the body’s mechanics and the mind’s focus.

Few things are more fulfilling than personal progress. One workout leads to another, effort fortifies effort, control delivers control, and once-unattended physiological systems respond and develop. The infamous clanging and thudding of weights are a study in disguise and worthy of the trainee’s attention. No encyclopedia needed; common sense and instinct will do very nicely.

To lift weights or not to lift weights, that is the question.

Exercise vs. training. Exercise is like a canary—caged and cute. Training is like the soaring eagle—awesome and free. Training includes a wholesome lifestyle with plenty of rest, thoughtful dietary practices and regular weight-resistance engagement. Training is positive action and attitude; exercise is a single good thing to be done, a part of the whole. Training is the whole. I suggest you train for life.

The first workout is the toughest. It’s usually the result of long consideration, intense anticipation and heady confrontations with doubt, procrastination and hope and fear. Gee, we make mountains out of molehills, or, in this particular scene, cavernous iron mines out of barbells. Tough is good. It’s time to be tough. The tough endure.

Lifting the iron might not be easy, but it’s quite simple. You need an agreeable gym with the basic equipment, and there’s likely one in your neighborhood...unless you live on the outskirts of Sleeping Mule, Nevada. Once the right gym is selected, plan to visit it three nonconsecutive days a week.

How to choose a gym. Your goals are to build muscle and strength, tone and shape and energy and endurance. Lucky you, the wholesome lot go together, like musclehead stew; add one, and you add them all. I suspect that more than one reader wants to lose weight and bodyfat. That, too, is in the pot. What a deal, what a meal! Everything in one: robust health, sound physical fitness, vigorous conditioning and gorgeous good looks.

One caveat, potential metal-moving maniac: You’ve got to eat smart to ensure that your devotion is effective—wholesome foods, no junk, hearty protein, valuable carbs and good fats. No problemo. Easier than apple pie...a lot of which, by the way, is not highly recommended.


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