By: Jerry Trubman, Owner and Founder
Today’s topic comes from a podcast I enjoy listening to called Barbell Logic. It made me think about what the strength journey means to me, and I decided to share some thoughts. Enjoy!
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Over the past few years, some of us have struggled with happiness. The pandemic has put us into a bad place emotionally and psychologically. Some are concerned about their health, others are concerned with how these events affect their personal/professional lives, and others are deeply concerned about both.
Speaking personally, the iron has been my therapy… as well as my anti-depression medication.
This is not new news; strength training as a means of getting into a better head-space has been a staple in my life for many years. I’m starting to enter that delicate age group where the sting of father time is starting to beat on me, and the ability to keep my body strong has helped me fight off those wounds. Yes, I realize those who have many years on me laugh at that statement. But let’s be honest, short of an unfortunate medical event, the lifestyle decisions we make in our 30s, 40s, and 50s have a huge impact on how the 60s, 70s, and even 80s end up shaking out.
Although my eyes no longer see things up-close like they used to, and these little light-colored hairs are starting to poke out of my head and face, I still ‘feel’ young. Daily physical tasks are not burdensome, and I never have to say no things that I want to do (tough hikes, long bike rides, big hunting trips, etc) because of concerns of not having enough energy.
There is great happiness in having a body that can do stuff.
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The Way You Do Anything Is The Way You Do Everything
I first heard this from a yoga teacher many years ago and it really resonated with me. I remember in my previous life when I used to wear a shirt and tie to go to work (weird, I know), one of the offices I worked at had a big-box gym right behind it. Every so often, I’d have to come in really early to get some work done. There weren’t many cars in the gym’s parking lot at that hour, but it was always the same cars… and they were quite nice. Looking back, I am more impressed with the fact that it was always the same cars, but twenty-something Jerry was more impressed at how fancy those cars were.
Fast forward to today: Displays of wealth mean very little to me, but I have noticed that people who are ‘making things happen’ professionally are also handling personal business the same way. Is this always the case? Of course not. But if you have a ritual of training your body to physically achieve new highs, brain chemistry tends to follow.
Personally, one of the most powerful things I’ve gained from strength is the ability to become a better student. I’ve learned through the painstaking process of getting stronger, getting good at something takes time. It also requires being lousy at first… then slowly becoming less and less lousy. One day, you’re not lousy at all. You’re actually kind of decent! This process continues until proficiency is reached.
In recent years, I’ve tried to debunk the fallacy that, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I’ve taken the task of being a good student to a variety of new hobbies and interests. I’ve read that doing things like this as an adult is good for the neuroplasticity of the aging brain to help keep it ‘young’ the same way strength training keeps the body young. I’ve also noticed this in people much older than me; those who continue to have curious minds stay ‘younger’ for longer periods of time.
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Better A Warrior In A Garden Than A Gardener In A War
Let’s face it, the main reason most modern-day people aren’t strong is… well… they just don’t need to be.
Modern conveniences have made it possible to where you can be physically useless, and still get by just fine. Of course, at some point the body will start to (prematurely) atrophy from aging and you’ll need to pay the piper. But that’s many years from now, so who cares? To be clear, I’m just as guilty as anyone. I love these conveniences too. I like having a car that gets me to work in eight minutes instead of a 45-minute walk, and a machine in my (climate-controlled) house that washes clothes for me.
But at some point, something happens that makes us care. Maybe there’s a scary diagnosis from the doctor. Maybe there’s a trip you’ve been looking forward to taking, but it requires tons of walking, and your metabolically unhealthy body just can’t hang. Maybe there’s an emergency situation where you need to lift something (or someone) out of the way of harm. Perhaps a scary virus descends on the world and you find out that a vast majority of the people who are hospitalized from it (or worse) are metabolically unhealthy.
Before you judge that last example, remember who is writing this. My wife and I have been made teased incessantly our entire adult lives for our ‘crazy health-nut’ lifestyle. COVID came through our household in April 2020. Marie was mildly ill and I lost my sense of taste for about a day and a half. So yes, keep making fun of our lifestyle choices. We will still choose choose ‘crazy health-nut’.
Do we need to lift hundreds of pounds on a daily basis? No. Do we need to be as ready for war as the people in the Ukraine? Thanks to our awesome military, probably not. But to quote my doomsday prepper friends, “It’s better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”
Until next time,
Jerry Trubman is a coach, clinician, author, blogger, and powerlifting state champion. With over two decades of lifting experience, he has devoted himself to seeking out better answers, and distilling them into practical programs that produce great results. Jerry has coached “Team Protocol” to 4 National Powerlifting Championships in the 100% Raw federation. He writes the internationally-read blog, “The Healthy Addiction” and lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife, Marie, and dog, Asher.