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Life and Exercise…. Not Fair, But Worthwhile

by Glen Peavey

If one is willing to put out the effort, success is almost assured. Of course “success” means different things to different people. And we are all limited by the “ceiling” dictated by our genetic makeup. I sometimes liken this situation to the scenario of two students. The first merely shows up to class. He or she listens, takes notes, aces the tests and of course gets an A+. The second student also receives an A+. Conversely our second student has to spend long hours doing homework, reading and perhaps even enlisting the services of a tutor in order to achieve the same grade. I should also add that there would likely be a number of students who even if attaining very good grades, would not be capable of getting an A+.

So we end up with the ever-popular bell shaped curve. The majority of exercisers are capable of good to very good results. We’ll have a few folks at the base of the curve. These trainees will receive a less significant return on their exercise investment. However the venture will always be worthwhile. At the other end of the bell will be the “naturals” we see in the bodybuilding, fitness and fashion magazines. These people will obtain “mind blowing” results from just about any exercise routine. They will also likely be able to breach good eating habits without incurring the degree of harmful consequences most of us “mere mortals” would experience.

I don’t want to imply that these individuals don’t work hard. It’s just that they may, so to speak, have a cathedral ceiling where most of us have your basic eight footer. And at less than their most favorable condition, may appear to be in better shape than the majority of people at their best.

In summary, “life isn’t fair”, we are not all created equal. I’m sure this doesn’t come as a total surprise. Sorry to say, if it were up to the publishers of most bodybuilding/fitness magazines and the majority of books on the subject, we would believe that with the right exercise routine and the right magic supplements we could all be physique or fitness champions. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the intelligent use of vitamins and supplements. I just don’t view them as “magical”.

This great falsehood as it turns out is the reason bodybuilding publications can rewrite and re package the same exercise (and diet) routines of the champions year after year and decade after decade. They just insert some new pictures of the latest champion; affix his or her name and endorsement and millions of want to be muscle builders will give it a try. Unfortunately all or most of these people will receive little or no benefits from the new-fangled routine other than those they would have experienced with any change of program.  Some of these “failures” will wait for the next issue and embark on the next super routine. Sadly, many will give up on what can and should be the safest and most productive “exercise” available…STRENGTH TRAINING. This is truly a shame.

If I were in some way able to show a person (any person) a picture of what they could look (and feel) like if they actualized their physical potential (regardless of where they resided on the bell shaped curve) through a properly applied exercise and nutrition regimen, I think without question that they would put forth every effort possible.

Until we devise a means of creating such a picture, I would recommend realistic goal setting, intelligent exercise/recovery, healthy eating and a good dose of optimism. You will create meaningful results. I assure you.  gp