Friday, April 16, 2021


Great News! Hardgainer magazine is back as a monthly in digital format! It now goes by the name HARDGAINER 2.0.  I wrote for the original Hardgainer from 1994 to 2004 and I'm back. I will be a regular writer for Stuart again. For more information and to sign-up go to

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Enthusiasm - By Jim Duggan

           " If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm."   

     The above quote is from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi.  While he was not referring to lifting weights, as we will see, enthusiasm can mean different things to different people.  The dictionary definition of enthusiasm is "intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval."  "Enthusiasm" is also the title of Bob Hoffman's editorial from the June 1967 edition of "Strength and Health" magazine.  Mr. Hoffman offered his own definition of the word:  "A wholehearted devotion to an ideal, cause, study, sport, hobby, or pursuit."  Any way you wish to define the word, it is indeed a desirable trait to possess if you are working out.  On the other hand, if you lack enthusiasm for training, then your workouts will suffer.  

     Maintaining training enthusiasm can be a challenge, especially for older trainees.  Now what exactly constitutes "old" is open to interpretation.  There are people in their seventies and even eighties who have the same passion for training as they did when they first started out.  There are also folks in their twenties and thirties who have seen their joy of training steadily wane.  

     All people have demands on their time.  Family, work, and school are among the most important priorities.  Making a living, and putting food on the table are certainly important.  However,  there is always time to exercise.  It's simply a matter of arranging your time so that you can accomplish what you set out to do.  

     If your goal is to become bigger and stronger, then you should develop a plan that will help you achieve your goal.  Come up with a workout schedule, and STICK TO IT!  Do not skip workouts.  Push the poundages, eat sufficient quality food, and make sure you get adequate rest between workouts.  If you wish to lose weight and get leaner, simply plan your meals accordingly with the goal of consuming fewer calories than you burn each day.  Again, do not miss workouts, and make sure you get sufficient cardio work in during the week.  Whatever your training goals are, if you really wish to achieve something, then you must have the discipline to do whatever it takes to reach those goals.  If you thoroughly enjoy your workouts, and have a passion for training, then no sacrifice is too great.  

     In his editorial, Mr. Hoffman mentions his over forty years of lifting weights.  At the time, he was 69 years old.  In a few months, I will turn 57, and I have been lifting weights for over forty years.  From the moment I first wrapped my hands around a barbell, I have thoroughly loved lifting weights.  I'm very fortunate that my enthusiasm has not diminished at all over the years.  Even today, there is nothing I look forward to more than "hoisting the steel."  As well as the occasional stone, or anvil!

     Perhaps the greatest advantage to enjoying training is that it keeps us "wanting more."  I never view a workout as something that I have to do, but rather something that I want to do.  I've never thought "Damn, I have to lift today."  I'd hate myself if I had that sort of attitude.  I always view my workouts with following thought:  I get to lift today!  We are all fortunate to be able to lift weights and challenge ourselves.  We should never take anything for granted.  

     About twenty-five years ago, I had the opportunity to have lunch with a guy who was a personal trainer.  This guy was a proponent of the "Super-slow" method of training, which was popular at the time.  I've never been a fan of the whole "super-slow" thing, but to each his own.  Anyway, during the course of the meal, this guy asked me if I enjoyed training.  I thought it was an odd question, especially coming from someone who made his living training other people.  I responded with a resounding "Yes, I love lifting weights!"  Believe it or not, this guy actually admitted to me that he hated working out.  He said that lifting weights was, to him, a means to an end.  I couldn't believe what he was saying!  I couldn't imagine him being an effective trainer.  How can you possibly help other people develop a passion for training when you admit that you hate it?  

     In his editorial, Mr. Hoffman states the following:  "Enthusiasm is a little spark of celestial fire.  Without it you cannot succeed."  The very best trainers and strength coaches have that spark.  Dr. Ken Leistner had it.  So does "Maximum" Bob Whelan.  When I used to train at Iron Island Gym, the energy and enthusiasm in that place was palpable.  The atmosphere was inspiring to anyone who walked through the door.  I've often stated that if you couldn't get motivated at Iron Island, then you should be embalmed.  

     I'd like to finish this article the same way Mr. Hoffman finished his editorial fifty-four years ago:  "With each passing year, I have been more enthusiastic about weight training and weightlifting for there is such endless proof of its advantages.  For your health's sake, be enthusiastic!"

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