Friday, November 5, 2021

We Must Have Strength To Live - By Jim Duggan

This is the title of Bob Hoffman's editorial in the November 1946 issue of Strength and Health magazine. While looking through the pages of this classic edition, the title of the Editorial immediately caught my attention. Anyone who loves strength would be drawn to such a title. The opening sentence of Mr. Hoffman's editorial is even better: "Strength and health are the two most important things in the world. Without them life is not worth having." While some people may not completely agree with this statement, the importance of being strong and healthy cannot be disputed. As Dan Lurie famously said "Health is your greatest wealth."

All of us who "hoist the steel" have an appreciation for strength and, more importantly, the process by which strength is developed. The process of getting stronger- the workouts, dedication, and sacrifice- is truly a labor of love. How can anyone lift for decades and not love it?

I remember a conversation I had with a "personal trainer" which took place back in 1996. This guy was affiliated with the "Super-Slow" training philosophy, which was popular at the time. Now, I'm not going to get into a discussion of the merits (if any) of super-slow training, or whatever they call it today. But I'll never forget something this guy said to me. Actually, it was a question that he had asked me. "Do you actually like to train?" At first I thought he may have been kidding, but he was totally serious. "I absolutely love lifting and working out!" was my response. The look of surprise on his face indicated to me that he himself most certainly did NOT enjoy lifting. This told me all I needed to know about him as a "trainer." In my opinion, he wasn't worth a damn as a personal trainer. To him, it was just a job, a way to make money. Those were my thoughts twenty-five years ago, and I have not wavered in my opinion all these years later.

If you absolutely must hire a personal trainer, in addition to seeking out someone who is qualified by virtue of an academic background in exercise kinesiology, or physiology, try to find someone who has a passion for working out. How can anyone who trains other people expect their clients to embrace the ideals of Physical Culture if they are only in it for a paycheck. Avoid "trainers" who don't love the Iron just as you would avoid a trainer who is a steroid-bloated druggie. Neither of these categories of Physical instructors is worth your time or money.

The most successful strength coaches and trainers LOVE to "sling the Iron." I first began lifting weights as a teenager, and I love more at the age of 57 than I ever have. Whenever I'm asked if I still enjoy working out after all these years, I always flash back to one of my favorite movies, "Patton," the story of legendary American general George Patton. I always think of the scene during the battle of the Ardennes. As Patton surveys the battlefield, he states:"I love it. God help me I do love it so. I love it more than my life." Now, I don't expect everyone who lifts to have such strong feelings, but I think you get my point. If you cannot get excited about lifting, and getting stronger and healthier, then why bother going to the gym? Go play golf instead.

Later in the Editorial, Mr. Hoffman makes the additional statement that strength is internal as well as external. Basically, when when you develop your muscles on the outside of your body, you also develop and improvenall the muscles,processes, organs, and glands on the inside of the body. The only way to strengthen the internal organs and processes is through exercise.

"When you start out to make yourself stronger with weight training, when you constantly endeavor to put forth more effort through progressive training, you are teaching or conditioning the internal organs to work with greater strength and efficiency." Quite a statement, but what it means is that when you lift weights, you are not only building physical strength, you are also building super health and mental strength as well.

Getting bigger and stronger requires self-discipline, courage, and determination. These admirable traits will benefit anyone wishing to improve his/her life. However, in your quest for size and strength, never lose sight of the importance of improving your health. "To become super-strong, you must become super-healthy." Another excellent quote.

"Strong men and women are strong all over, inside and out." Most people who adhere to the drug-free lifestyle are already aware of this simple fact, stated so eloquently by the "Father of American Weightlifting," 75 years ago this month. And since the anniversary of Bob Hoffman's birthday is in a few days ( November 9, 1898), it's only fitting that we benefit from his words of wisdom.

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