Memories are touchy things. When I was a young adolescent, there were several people who informed me that I would never amount to anything worthwhile. You are too dumb to amount to anything! Mind you, I have the greatest parents in the world. They never said anything like this to me. No, usually it was people who passed themselves off as my friends. Who among us has never been told that we were too dumb to dream big? People who lack confidence want to shackle us with their limitations.
As a young teenager I read The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Shortly thereafter, I read several articles about a behemoth named Arnold Schwarzenegger. What struck me as uncanny was during an interview he stated, “You must envision your success.” Those words impacted my young mind. I sat out to build a body that would rival Arnold’s. I am sorry to report that my dream of being 6’2, 240 pounds of ripped muscle was a failure. The best I could muster was 5’7, 185.
During interviews, Arnold would wax philosophical about training your mind as well as your body. You must believe that you are capable of overcoming the odds that you are facing. I am not referencing just saying the words. You must believe it with everything within you. Once you believe in yourself, you’re not satisfied with anything less than achieving your goals. Granted, building a body like Arnold requires hard work, a dedication to your diet, and a supplement regiment that is too expensive for mere mortals. Then there is the matter of your genetics. Yet, it all starts with a dream. A dream that you believe in.
College was a dream of mine. When I retired at the ripe age of 38, I found myself floundering aimlessly. It was not until I reached 40 that I would start my academic career. My first term as a newly minted college student included a class in psychology. Throughout this turbulent period, I learned that Arnold was not wrong. If you believe it, you can achieve it (within reason). Arnold, and the other bodybuilders that I fervently followed often touted the mind/muscle connection. This simply is you envision the muscle working in your mind. Many people believe that you grow your muscles by working them. Negative Ghostrider. You grow your muscles when you rest.
You break down the muscle tissue. You eat enough food to grow the muscle that you trained. You rest. That simple formula will help you achieve your bodybuilding goals. Yet, you do not build a house without a plan. Neither do we set goals without an end. Hard work and determination are vital to our success. However, you must have a dream and a plan before you start to work on achieving the desired results.
Throughout history, there are many examples of people who have overcame tremendous odds. If they can do it, why can’t we? To me, I love it when people tell me that I can’t do something. It adds fuel to my fire. That simple push is often enough to make me determined to make a fool out of the person who told me that. Most days it is not easy to find the motivation to pursue our goals. However, the dream still lives. Regardless of the amount of time that it takes, we can overcome the odds and achieve victory.
I hope that this finds you guys doing well. Take care of yourselves.
My best lifts from my days of pursuing Arnold:
Deadlift- 600 pounds (2 reps, no straps)
Squat- 550 (6 reps)
Bench- 365 (6 reps)
Shoulder press on Smith machine – 225 (6 reps)