Friday, September 14, 2007

The Riddle of Steel?

I've never talked about it here but for as long as I can remember I have had a passion for weightlifting. Most all the other sports in my life have lost their luster and began to rust and tarnish but my love for raw steel and the art of moving immovable objects is as sharp and polished today as it was that first time I grunted under a bench press when I snuck a try at the Sears & Roebuck weight set my brother got for Christmas when I was 8. One of my heroes from those days was a body builder named Dave Draper (I know, I'm dating myself). I would see him in the movies and see his picture on the back of my comic books showing off what were, at the time, the world's largest biceps:

Compared to the generic-looking steroid-laced body builders of today he looked tame but Dave always did it naturally. I admired him and the hard work it took to develop the body he did. I wanted to have huge arms like that when I grew up. When I began playing football in Jr. High I discovered weights for real. Like everyone else I hated practice, especially the running, but I was nearly alone in my love for weight day. As I moved into High School I learned more about nutrition and building muscle and even though I wasn't the biggest guy on the team I was always in the top 3 on bench press and usually #1 on legs. When I went to college I was pretty bulked up. I was tops in the weight lifting portion of my walk on tests at Baylor. I suppose the only reason I stuck with football all those years was to be around the weights. None of the schools I ever attended had a weight lifting team and back then there wasn't a Bally/LA/24 Hour Fitness on every corner.

After college I started the busy part of life working and raising a family. Oh, I lifted off and on but by then, like a fool, I had started smoking and forgot anything I ever learned about good nutrition. Finally 13 years ago I kicked the death sticks and 6 years ago, after finding out I had diabetes, I got serious about fitness. That's when I rediscovered two old friends: weights and Dave. He was pushing 60 by this time but heck if it showed. Here he was at 50...every guy should look so bad at 50:

Seeing him, learning about his journey and the battles he'd fought, I realized I didn't have it so bad and there was hope for me too to be fit, healthy and look good as I grew older. Starting in '01 I was a faithful in the weight room. In the old days it was all about weights but this time around I made sure that at least 40% of what I did was cardio. Cycling mainly. I still hate running. There was a 12 month stretch from February '06 to February '07 where I lapsed and gained most of what I had lost/lost most of what I had gained by letting people and things in my personal life get to me and tear/wear me down (Psalm 73:2 feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold). Since March, though, I'm back. Back on my knees, back on the bike, back in the weight room and almost back to where I was before I slipped. Just proves it's never too late to change your heart and the body has an amazing ability to heal and grow stronger. (What was it Neitche said?)

So what is the riddle of steel? ...tell you next time.

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Blogger R2K said...

: )

9:18 AM, September 15, 2007  

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