Exercise shouldn’t be drudgery. It may seem that way at first, but as you begin to reap the benefits, exercise may turn into one your most enjoyable past time. Exercise is often a lifestyle.
If you continue to exercise simply because you think you “must,” you may not receive all the benefits that come in between the lines. If you lift because you “have to,” maybe you should try to change your mindset. When you find the proper mindset, you will look forward to your workout. Lifting is actually a privilege that only some can partake in. Let me narrate some personal history to you so you can see where I’m coming from.
On December 22, 1995, my life changed. Don’t get me wrong. I was content with my life — at the time. It was a cold and clear night in midwinter in Washington state. I was cruising on my 1992 Suzuki traveling southbound on a country road. As I traveled that direction, a truck was approaching. All of a sudden, he realizes he forgot his lumber grading manual in his locker. He needed to study this text over the holidays so he could learn the new grading criteria for the lumber.
As he makes a left turn into a deserted driveway, he hears a thunderous crash. That thunderous crash was my bike slamming into his passenger door.
I did everything I could to stop in time. Marks were left on the road where I had locked up my brakes. I hit the truck and went airborne. I traveled about 50 feet before I hit the ground.
By the time the medics arrived, I was comatose. Intubation was done at the scene. On my right leg, deep lacerations were evident. Today, I am still missing a piece of my tibialis (a muscle on the front of the lower leg). Not only did I suffer from cuts, but I developed deep ulnar neuropathy. The left half of my body went into uncontrollable spasms. In lingo that people other than doctors can understand, I was in “really” bad shape.
My coma lasted from December 22, 1995 to February 15, 1996. Well, that was actually the first time I gave signs of cognitive thinking. On that day, I put my hands up to my mouth acting as if I was pushing food in it. Very primitive communication, but it got the point across. Because I consumed every calorie I could cram in my mouth after I awoke, I ballooned up to 190 pounds fast. I consumed delicacies like cheesecake and ice cream often. I really wanted cheesecake! I needed calories.
On top of all my medical problems, my wife divorced me! I was so distraught! I needed help! I was not ready to face the world on my own! So I lived with my aunt for a couple months until finding my own place. I found an apartment in Blaine, WA and relocated. Blaine is a small town near the Canadian border in Washington.
I had no car, nor a license for that matter, so turning to public transportation system was my only option. One day, when entering Bellingham. my bus passed a gym . I saw “World Gym” daily and started thinking, “Maybe if I join and get to looking good, people will overlook my disabilities.” In reality, my only driving ambition was my desire for companionship. Not the most noteworthy aspiration, but it got me in there and on that day, my life began!
I joined that fitness center. I couldn’t afford to do it, but something was telling me I couldn’t make my ends meet if I didn’t find a way. For two months, I had the most amazing pump. I could feel protein synthesis occurring under the skin of my chest. Just imagine the feeling. It was a slight, painless tingle. It felt so terrific that I wanted it for life. Personal trainers often inquired if I was on “the juice.” The growth was supernatural to them. Heck, I actually thought I might have been genetically altered due to the brain injury.
While visiting my mother in Texas, I found an old Joe Weider lifting manual that my father had given me when I was in 5th grade. I began reading and dreaming that my body looked like the photographed lifters. I examined that text but my desire for knowledge only grew.
For the next couple months, I read every book I could about diet and exercise. After a month or so, the library ran out of works quickly. I examined topics from Essential Fatty Acids to “Reps!”, a training technique guide. As the book depot ran low on works, I turned to magazines. I read every Muscle and Fitness and Muscle Media I could find.
In actuality, I was extremely lucky how my weightlifting life started. For two months, I only performed compound movements and fiercely concentrated on form. Focus is of utmost importance when lifting. I really had to center my attention to have my partially paralyzed left side work as hard as my right. Not only did I read about training, I observed Yolanda Hughes, a professional bodybuilder, when she trained herself and others. This tightened my form.
As I lifted and recovered more, I gained knowledge. I found that because of the broken mind-muscle connection, multi-joint exercises were the best for me to perform. You may ask why? I reply like this. Multi-joint exercises are more taxing on the brain. Even with those exercises, I had a hard time learning how to fully contract the targeted muscle. The central nervous system incurs much more stress during these movements so it was forced to build new connections.
How does our body react to stress? It grows! In computer terms, my brain began restoring itself all because I lifted weights! Would I be where I am today without my commitment to diet and exercise? My reply is a resounding “Hell No!!” that echoes for miles. I know bodybuilding gave me the chance to live a normal life so I am not going to turn my back on it.
The goal of my life is to touch as many lives as I can. A true appreciation of weightlifting is what I want to give each person. Progressive Resistance Exercise is something that every human being, young or old, should perform. Yes, it will make you look better, but that is not where the ultimate power is found. The real strength of this sport is in the extras that come along with it. Feelings of confidence, control over tomorrow, and knowing that you have supreme rule over at least one being — yourself. There is life in the ability to get out of bed in the morning, put on your running shoes, and jog or lift weights ask you to pause and ponder just how much we take for granted
This recreation is not open to everyone. Those that can participate should cherish the opportunity and put their all into it. Get empowered by realizing that you have a gift. Look at it like, “Well since Bob can’t, I’ll just have to take up the slack. I’ll do everything in my might to build my best possible body. I hope it gives him the strength and will to fight for what he deserves!” If used properly, someone else’s disability can be your strength. The key is to appreciate and rejoice in your ability to experience weightlifting. Even I get power from the idea of changing a disabled individuals way of thinking.
When you get down on yourself and think you have it too tough, just remember that, in every circumstance, someone has it tougher! If you have it bad, someone has it worse! I want you to know that I am not sorry this happened. So, I have a few residual effects that aren’t all that welcome. I seldom see them. But understand this? There is no way in hell that I wish anything differently! Except the separation from my two beautiful daughters who are now 5 and 3.
I have found the greatest things in life. I found bodybuilding, and that is one of them. And you know? I think I found “the secret of life!” You say “Oh sure, the secret of life?! Isn’t he going a little overboard?” That long sought secret been here all the time! Everyone can join me! It’s so wonderful! The secret of life … enjoying every moment without taking anything for granted! Life is wonderful and I thank bodybuilding for giving me another chance!