By the time he completes his schooling, the average American has learned of weight training. Not only that, all but a few of these people have used a barbell or dumbbells at least once.
Some of them stumbled upon progressive exercise in a neighbor's yard while teenagers. Others have turned to the weights in an effort to become better high school or college athletes.
Then there are other people who don't see the importance of weight training until the years start to slow them down. But, regardless of when they were introduced to weights, it is conservative to guess that 75% of all people under 50 years of age have been started on a training program.
Yet, the number of ACTIVE people weight training in the nation is incredibly small when compared to the participation in activities such as golf, bowling or fishing. What happens?
Generally, people use weights for one of five reasons:
- To overcome weakness or a handicap
- To develop an outstanding physique
- To become a strong man or lifter
- To stay healthy and physically fit
- To succeed in athletics.
Each is an excellent reason for starting, but it doesn't necessarily KEEP the person training. As soon as a person overcomes his physical handicap, he is not usually interested in going farther. Both bodybuilders and lifters will train avidly during the peak years of youth but begin to resent the "grind" as they grow older.
Athletes look upon weights as a means to an end, usually don't enjoy this form of exercise, and drop it when their competitive days are over. So only the "keep fit" individual is likely to continue weight training throughout life, and in this approach lies rewards overlooked by all the others.
It should be obvious that a life free of pain or sickness, with vitality and physical ability, is the greatest gift a man can possess. This blessed state is far more to be desired than a Mr. America physique, tremendous strength, athletic titles, great fame or wealth.
In youth we ignore this fact, but as the years pass the beautiful body disappears, the power steadily slips away, and the athletic triumphs are only dimly remembered.
No one needs to be reminded of the uselessness of riches or fame when you are suffering the anguish of sickness or great pain. No, the only constant, the one treasure that remains valuable throughout life, is abundant, glowing health and fitness.
Weight training is not the only way to achieve perfect physical condition, but it is the easiest. Thirty minutes of serious exercise each day, combined with a daily run, will build as much physical fitness as any one could desire.
The same amount of time, with the exertion adjusted a bit as he ages, will KEEP that person in superb condition throughout a long healthy life.
Compare this pleasant prospect with those hours of work that must be endured by the bodybuilder, the lifter, the athlete. Is it any wonder that their interest steadily fades until it finally flickers out and we then refer to them as ex-weight men.
Striving For The Top
If you are young, it's natural to strive for the top, working to extremes and enjoying the maximum rewards of weight training. Still, you should give a thought to the long life stretching ahead of you, to be enjoyed to the fullest or to be miserably endured as your physical powers fail.
Learn now to care for your body properly, to keep it healthy and efficient as the years go by. When it is time to forsake the physique shows, the lifting platforms, and the athletic fields, be prepared to accept the change gracefully - not to abandon the weights, as so many do, but simply to move into a new phase of their use.
The Iron Game
The iron game can then become your enjoyable hobby; the weights will now be symbols of pleasure instead of the grim challenges they once were. All of your training sessions will be happily anticipated and rewarding, too, as you live each year of your life fully.
No, it is not weight training that is at fault when so many abandon it. It is their APPROACH to the iron game that determines how long their interest remains. Each of us should adjust our viewpoint in this regard and try to get the new recruits off to a good start.
I expect to be training as long as I live - moderately, sensibly, happily. I urge you to join me. With some outdoor running and a sound nutritional regimen, you'll have a program of life insurance that millionaires can't buy!
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