Like Fine Wine

Long time imaginary reader Serious in Seattle has dropped me another note:

Muscleman,

Your blog is beginning to affect my motivation to go exercise. Frankly, I don’t know how you do it. Just since January, you’ve survived terrible gym music, exasperating slobs, crazed gym ball users, noxious fumes, busted equipment, and idiots trying to fight, not to mention the general circus-like atmosphere.

I’d think it’s tough enough to get psyched for your regular workout, let alone prepare for the daily adventure that awaits you.

So what’s the trick? How do you keep your head in the game?

Thanks,
Seriously in Seattle

Serious, thanks for writing again. I find that weight training is unique among athletic pursuits in the way that the body responds to age. Every running enthusiast, for example, experiences the moment when he’s literally gone over the hill. One day when he’s speeding along the jogging trail, two strapping young lads will blow by him, while casually engaged in conversation.

That depressing, Flowers for Algernon moment, is much delayed in bodybuilding.

I found that I got substantially stronger throughout my 20s. My bench didn’t take off until I was 26 or 27, and I’m still pressing my peak weight more than half a decade later.

I imagine that former varsity athletes in football or basketball look on with jealousy at the youth now dominating their sport. On the other hand, I can go to the gym and be inspired by the guy with a face in its 40s but a body in its 20s.

Even among the professional ranks, bodybuilders peak well into their 30s. Jay Cutler won his first Mr. Olympia last year at age 33, defeating the defending eight time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, who last won at age 40.

Then again, I do struggle whenever I see a woman at the gym with sharper abs than mine. Now to me, that’s depressing.

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One Response to Like Fine Wine

  1. Donnie says:

    This is a great post. Now I don’t feel SO back when I think about getting into “the iron game” later on in life. There’s hope for me yet. 😉