Friday, January 18, 2019

Strength And Health Must Be Earned - By Jim Duggan

Strength and Health must be earned. These are the first six words of an article by the same name which was originally published in the December 1942 issue of Strength and Health magazine. Over seventy-six years ago, Bob Hoffman offered advice that is as useful and relevant today, as it was back then, during the height of World War Two. While there is no way to accurately determine how many people read the advice offered in the original article, it is interesting to wonder just how many people derived a direct benefit by following the numerous axioms of that time. Hopefully, there were a great many Physical Culture devotees who lived long, healthy , and strong lives by heeding the advice of the "Father of World Weightlifting." In this article, I will mention a few of the more notable nuggets of information.

"The state of strength and health we enjoy depends upon the lives we lead." Obviously, you cannot get stronger without lifting weights. But just going to the gym is not enough. You have to train the right way. By that I mean consistently and progressively. Hard and heavy. Whichever words you want to use to describe it, you cannot simply buy a membership to a gym and expect to make progress. This point is especially pertinent to the many New Year Resolutioners who annually invade gyms and Health clubs at this time of year. You cannot sleepwalk through a workout, and expect to get stronger. You must have a goal, and a plan to achieve that goal. Then you must dedicate yourself to achieving that goal.

"A large percentage of the population go through life offering themselves excuses why they don't exercise." I suppose laziness, insofar as it relates to working out, has been around since time immemorial. Certainly, for as long as people have been lifting weights, there has always been the constant struggle against becoming lazy and complacent. We've all had to fight the temptation to skip a workout when we didn't feel like lifting. But, if you really want something, you will find a way to get it done. We all have time- 1,440 minutes in each day. How we use those 1,440 minutes will determine if we earn our Strength and Health.

"Proper exercise is the difference between strong, healthy, energetic supermen, and the sadly out-of-condition people we see everywhere." The more you put into your workouts, the more you will get out of it. Regular workouts are a long-term investment that you can make for the future. Even moderate lifting will pay you a thousand times in dividends of physical benefits. Certainly, during the 1940s, weight training was not as accepted as it is today. Nevertheless, many people still embraced the idea of progressive resistance training ( no doubt because of the gospel put forth by people like Bob Hoffman, and John Grimek) and developed their bodies. Today there is no reason why anyone cannot achieve some sort of physical condition. Numerous gyms, exercise equipment and training information exist today that simply weren't available during the "war years."

"Activity is life. Stagnation is death." Sensible strength training brings healthful activity to every organ, gland, and cell in the body. While Bob Hoffman could not have possibly foreseen the sedentary lifestyles that would characterize our present-day culture, he did warn against slipping through life doing nothing constructive or beneficial for our bodies.

"Weightlifting and weight training is a pleasure." Truer words were never spoken. Lifting weights is indeed a pleasure. The ability to push yourself, and push yourself through a challenging workout is something to be celebrated. You should look upon your workouts as a pleasure. Not something to be endured, but rather something to look forward to with anticipation. The anticipation of being able to challenge yourself. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to train should never take this for granted.

Lifting weights and working out can - and should- become more than a mere hobby. It is a way of life that will improve your life, and add to it in ways that cannot be described in an article. While some train for the goal of entering competition, such as Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Strongman, or bodybuilding, the vast majority of trainees lift for the sheer love of training. Even if you do compete, your toughest opponent will always be yourself. All people who strength-train are, in fact, engaging in competition. Your opponent is your potential.

While the world has changed a lot since 1942, people, for the most part, have not. And words of wisdom that resonated nearly eighty years ago ring just as true today. This is the time of year when just about everybody has some sort of physical goal set for themselves. As the weeks, and months, go by, time will determine just how many people are truly serious about achieving their goals. How many of us will earn our Strength and Health in 2019?

Editors Note: Great article Jim!

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