Today, I realized that I've been a little angry the last couple of days. It's hard to pin down why, but when I was typing out an email today, I realized what was going on. It's all the working out. Maybe it's the excess testosterone? Who knows? I realized it when there was someone in my complex who I thought was going to make a comment about me driving too fast and I considered some pretty aggressive actions if he said a word. I -- of all people -- considered punching someone.
That's just not right. I'm going to keep an eye on that.
Anyway, the guiding principles behind my workout have been that form's way more important than reps and knowing how hard to push myself. It's easy to hurt yourself if you're not working right. It's easy to hurt yourself if you're trying to go fast. It's easy to hurt yourself if you try to go mind-over-matter through the feedback your body's giving you.
A strain is pretty much disasterous. That puts you out of commission for a week at least when you want to be working out. I've been there before, so I try to pay attention. If I have any doubts, then I stop, do something else, and get back to it afterwards.
Now, contrast that with the words of Arnold:
"The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That's what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they'll go through the pain no matter what happens."
It was after about two weeks that my friends told me that I wasn't motivated enough. I asked how they could tell. They're not working out with me. One of them said that I didn't talk like a bodybuilder. I didn't have things that I told myself to make myself push harder.
I have one, but they deemed it gay. Fuck 'em. It's a Norwegian proverb and it's always been one of my favorite saying: "A hero is someone who can hang on one second longer".
I figured that it'd all come in time. The results will come. The comments about motivation will stop because I'll have the goods. Then I decided that it was all wrong for me to discard that, so I decided to start learning some of the stuff that bodybuilders say to motivate themselves.
A small sample:
"Bustin' mine to kick yours"
"If the bar ain't bendin', then you're just pretendin'"
"If you waste today crying over yesterday, then you'll be able to waste tomorrow crying over today"
"The wolf on the hill is not as hungry as the wolf climbing the hill" - Matty Ferrigno said that one.
"Those who cannot make time for exercise now must make time for sickness later."
"Everybody wanna be big, everybody wanna be strong, everybody wanna be a bodybuilder or powerlifter, but nobody wanna lift no heavy ass weight, but I DO!!!!" - Ronnie Coleman's beautifully insane.
"There are many times I wish I was playing 18 holes of golf instead of training on my bike in cold, miserable weather. But in the final analysis, I'd rather win the Tour de France than play 18 holes of golf, that's why I do it." - Greg Lemond
“People cannot believe I am natural because I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs.” - Alexander Karelin (after accusations about steroids)
"Hard work beats talent if talent doesn't work hard."
"Pain is weakness leaving the body."
You get the idea. Stuff 'em in my head. Say them to myself periodically. That shows them that I'm listening to them at the very least. And hey -- maybe there's something to it.
Anyway, a friend of mine on facebook read between the lines and asked me if I was lifting. He suggested I look into crossfit. A lot of people have suggested various workout things and I'm happy to look into them, but I know that I'm not going to do them. It's not what the three guys who are bodybuilders are telling me and I'm interested in understanding what it is to be a bodybuilder.
I could suggest it, I guess, but I know instantly that their response would be that I'm trying to wimp out. In a way, they're right. What makes alternate workouts interesting is the belief that maybe I could get where I want to be faster. It's essentially the dark side of the force vs. the good side. It takes millenia to become as powerful as Yoda. It takes years to become as powerful -- albeit limited -- as Vader.
I thanked him, but said that ultimately, it's not the physical fit that I'm looking for. It's the mental game that I'm interested in. Right now, I've gotta show that I've got that willingness to stick to what's put in front of me. I know I can do it. I know I will do it. I'm going to convince them. The way to do that isn't by evaluating or changing what they say. The way to do it is to buy in completely.
And it was right about then that I understood what they were trying to tell me. I'm confident in my mental toughness. I know what I'm here for. I know what I want to do. I know that I'm going to keep busting my ass to get where I want to be. Ultimately, I know that my motivation's going to be there and it's going to keep being there.
Then I realized that what I just said was pretty much the definition of taking it for granted. The point isn't for me to push myself. The point isn't for me to keep pushing myself. The point is to push myself to push myself.
And, on that bombshell, it's time for me to go to sleep. Tomorrow's a news conference about Curiosity -- which, by the way, checked in on foursquare today with the comment "One more step to becoming the Mayor of Mars". 8) I expect that the news conference is just going to be about that in the same way that the conference after will.i.am's song was transmitted back was only about the song.
...but why would I take the chance? I might miss out on something awesome!