Camaro or Lamborghini…..

Every bodybuilder has two physiques; the Chevy Camaro, in which he his spends most of his days.  Or, the Lamborghini that he cruises around in every couple of years or so, but only for short stretches at a time.

The Camaro physique is not a bad one to go through life with.  It’s easy on the eyes, turns the occasional head and has some power when needed.  Though it might not be the shining star of every intersection, and may have occasional body damage, it’s better than what most folks get around in.  The bodybuilder maintains his Camaro physique with regular lifting, some occasional cardio and a mostly good diet.

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That said, when it comes to maintaining the Camaro physique, workouts are often skipped, cardio is always just an option, and the occasional or even daily ice cream or pizza won’t take too much away from the mystique of the Camaro physique.  In short, maintaining the Camaro physique is the act of being good enough and better than most – most of the time.  It isn’t though, the sum of one’s best efforts, and it ain’t world class.

Every so often though, the desire to take the Lamborghini physique out of the garage surfaces.  Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as pulling the cover off, charging the battery and checking the air in the tires.  Prepping the Lamborghini physique for a road trip takes weeks if not months.  This is a time when preparation is a 24/7 process, all the details matter and little attention can be given to too much else – which is why it doesn’t get driven too frequently or for long trips.

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To maximize the Lamborghini physique, there requires only the best fuel.  Constant attention must be paid to the surface – not a speck of dust anywhere.  Protection must be given from outside damage at any cost, so anything that is not consistent with keeping the body clean is left behind.

In short, maintaining the Lamborghini physique is the Siberia of living.  In exchange the sacrifices, one gets the luxury of being able to show off and blow off – anyone approaching or threatening to approach.  It’s a bobble of vanity, injects little value into society and lends nothing to the advancement of our species, but we all need hobbies and this one is mine.  Maybe, for short periods of time, it is a work of art.  The Greeks and the Romans thought so.

When it’s all said and done, the thing is this…

When one gets around in the Camaro physique, it’s a nice little car.  One wants to enjoy it – to fiercely accelerate on the freeway entrance ramp, change lanes with the flick of a wrist, leave the Prius at the red light in the dust, and draw looks from the lady getting out of the Mercedes in the grocery store parking lot.  Though it may not be Indy, driving a Camaro physique every day can be a lot of fun.  The Camaro physique is when most bodybuilders do most of their showing off in public.

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Driving the Lamborghini physique, despite its immaculate aesthetic and powerful engine, is a time when most bodybuilders drive 55 and keep it covered up.  The leaner I get, the more I tend to wear.  That’s the secret pleasure in possessing something so beautiful – so powerful yet not letting on to anyone what you have under the cover and under the hood.

For me, truth be told, I’ve only busted out my Lamborghini physique a half-dozen times in my adult life, most recently in 2013.  At that time, I kept it on the road for less than a year.  I’ve always been content in my Camaro physique, working hard enough most of the time, to keep it from turning into a ’67 Ford Falcon with one door caved in.  But it’s been calling me lately – the Lamborghini physique.  Perhaps it’s just some feelings of the unfinished business of my youth bubbling toward the surface.  Maybe I just need a distraction from a busy schedule and a home life with increasing demands.  But it’s calling me.  I’m already beginning to check the air in the tires, buff out the paint a little, fuel the engine well and may let it roar for a stretch.

This morning I was in the body shop – so to say.  Barbell rows and deadlifts to Supertramp’s Crime Of The Century album.  Breakfast was a variety of mixed vegetables and tofu.  And then it occurs to me; can a Lamborghini physique be vegan…?  Not sure.  Stay tuned…  Jhciacb.

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from The Farm.  Enjoy…

 

Committing Egocide…

I wrote this essay nearly three years ago.  My life has changed more in these three years than it had in the previous 40.  I have taken what I wrote hear to heart, with some weeks being better than others, and I truly feel like progress has been made.  It’s nice to look back at it a few years later, and know that some lessons can be learned, and some progress can be made — if only at a snail’s pace…
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Me, Myself, and Irony

I don’t like myself much.  I mean, I guess I do like the shape of my arms – some.  I like the amount of weight I can lift – a bit.  I like the way in which I can make my bike charge up a steep hill – at times.  That I can (occasionally) still turn a head in a restaurant is also nice, but those are what I do, not who I am.  Increasingly, I find myself lacking mental fitness; the kind of character that makes one a better component of the atom of humanity.

Who I really am is a guy who let his guard down years ago, and now lives comfortably well beneath his potential – because it’s easier this way.  I have taken my eyes off, and quit listening to the best role-model and the best friend I would ever have – me.  Early in life, I had promised myself that if I would follow my own advice, I would lead myself to a life most worthy.  I never intended to break away and become such a selfish asshole, but it has certainly unfolded that way – probably for you too.

Earning my way back, if ever so slowly...

Earning my way back, if ever so slowly…

Ego, Mego, And Wego

For much of my early adult life the person I admired above all others was actually me – or the me I was striving to become.  No hero I could choose to emulate would have as much to offer the world, I thought, as I would someday.  That’s okay, that’s okay, I laugh too when I think about it – now.  But I wasn’t laughing then, I was serious and I had a plan.  My best friend in those years was also me, and me kept me focused on the plan.

There were certainly people I had admired in my wide-eyed youth.  Most I admired for all the wrong reasons, and the heroes I chose never failed to let me down.  But for my high expectations of them, every role-model I had through my teen years fell as slowly as a leaf until the hero-tree eventually stood bare before me.  By my twenties, as each hero had faded into the realm of being only human, I began to understand that hero should be viewed as a personal destination, and not a view to another.  I would be a hero.

Role-models Vs. Roll-Models

It has not worked out quite the way I had envisioned.  One divorce, several broken relationships, countless shots of tequila, foul words uttered, temper tantrums thrown, optimism thwarted, failed business attempts, money earned and money squandered, good eating/bad eating, fitness and fatness, and millions of willful poor choices later, I have long since forgotten about the hero I was supposed to be.  I can now only explore who I am to become.  Allow me to introduce you to another fallen leaf from the hero tree; me, the hero within.

Sports radio host Jim Rome often says, speaking of wayward athletes,

“You are who you roll with.

Meaning, an individual reflects the image and character of who he spends time with; guilt by association, and often by osmosis – taking on lesser traits offered by the other(s).  And that’s where I have failed – I have been “rolling” with my inner-self for too long.

To coin a popular term from this era of social networking, I have decided to unfriend my inner Roy.  I release him because he does me more harm than good, tells me it’s okay to cheat at life, to back off, to slack, to let my guard down, and to put me/him first.  His weary act has grown tiresome and I just don’t want to roll with him anymore.

Can This Really Be Done?

I don’t know, I have never broken up with myself before. I am not in pursuit of a perfect life or being a perfect man.  I am only in pursuit of a change that will get me back on the hero path, not to be confused with the hero destination.  Though it is easy to conceive of and discuss change in this way, it will be something different to achieve that change.  Now primary in my psyche must be a complete divorce from the failed hero-me.

It has often been said that, character is what you do when nobody else is looking.  In a more useful sense I believe that, hero is when you decide to never take your eyes off yourself – 24/7.

Stroodle.  My beacon, my light, and my real hero.  I have learned so much about life by loving this friend!

Stroodle. My beacon, my light, and my real hero. I have learned so much about life by loving this friend!

In that ego-rooted early adult life I lived, I had often joked that the world would be much better off if there were three billion Roy Cohens, and three billion women to worship them.  Now I’m just seeking to create one good Roy, so that one young woman will forgive him.  Be well.  rc

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Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there is this wonderful collaboration of, The Weight.  Enjoy ….

I Am Not A Doctor…

I Was Wrong

I crossed a line with her I had no business crossing.  It was painful – an emotional disembowelment for each.  I didn’t realize how severe my blunder was until she began crying, left the room and got in her car to drive away.  Following her, not wanting her to leave, I dropped to my knees beside her sports car and begged her through the closed window to come back inside and talk things out. Voices escalated.  I began crying, she still crying.  Through the glass for nearly 10 minutes we would exchange strong opinions about what just went wrong.  Outsiders in the area began to look on. 

The relationship seemed to be over and it was over and it was my fault.  I kept asking her to come back inside to discuss how we could fix this.   In a moment of weakness she obliged me, exited the car, and followed me back inside where we would survive a raw discussion.  No, this was not a girlfriend.  This was a client, and a dear one at that.  In one escalated moment, I saw my entire business flash before my eyes.  But it was the friendship I wanted to salvage.

What Went Wrong; Ideals, Opinions, And Ethics

I teach exercise in a very specific way, from a narrow but sturdy value set, with an absolute belief that done properly and consistently, strength training is great medicine for nearly any ailment – even those that might push one away from the idea of strength training.  She had an injury.  I was trying to help.  I recommended a doctor to her.  Our fight began when I disagreed with the lack of diagnosis and lack of remedies prescribed by the very doctor I had recommended.

My client suggested the course of non-action recommended by the doctor might be best.  I disagreed.  I’m not a doctor and I never attempt to act as one with my clients.  That’s not true.  Every week of my life I utter this phrase;

“My non medical opinion is…” 

And though I may feel I’m always right in my rightness, I am always wrong to contradict a doctor because being a doctor is a legitimate profession.  Being a fitness trainer is a novelty career at best.  I mean, trainers are all just gymopotamuses who don’t want to get real jobs, yes…?

I believe there are many doctors who are strangers to the gym.  Those who might be gym savvy, might not be as savvy as they think.  My experience has been that many physicians equate technique in exercises such as squats, lunges, leg extensions and leg presses, to the typical gym rat trying to push too hard, too heavy and do too much.  Because of this mind-set, I have experienced a tendency for physicians to tell patients to avoid such movements with regard to knee injuries.

In somewhat of a renaissance, a new breed of physician and physical therapist tend to embrace the afore mentioned movements more, suggesting that done properly and not pushed they might, if not help the injury,  serve to strengthen the area around the injury and offer it more support to the joint.  That of course is relative to what the injury might be, and its severity.  But even at the highest levels of medicine, there is no shortage of conflicting ideas, opinions, and agenda. 

Brand Loyalty

Ironically, the client in question provided me with a pivotal perspective on my business last year.  We were on the topic of other trainers when she used the term “brand loyalty” in the context of me.  Though I am unique in how I approach and teach strength training, as well in how I conduct relationships with my clients, I had never thought of myself as a brand before.  That meant a great deal to me.  I had come to appreciate her more for appreciating me in that context.  Since that time I have walked a little taller.

In truth, I have always felt infallible in this.  I teach strength training safely and I construct workouts sensibly.  I have often been quick to tell clients that, one-on-one, I’m the best trainer I have ever known.  Not the most knowledgeable. Not the best built trainer.  But I’m the best I’ve seen at teaching form, and the best communicator of how and of why – and I stand with that. 

One Man’s Passion; Doh!

If I see utility in something, I can’t imagine anyone else not seeing it.  But life isn’t like that.  Throughout my fitness career I have always believed I could teach people to see and appreciate the utility of my brand of exercise.  That’s where I have been wrong.  I will learn to accept it – that my passion is my passion.  Even if my passion can be transported, it might not be received.  This will take some humility and learning on my part, but it will be a priority in the future of my business psyche.  Also, I will learn to accept that at the end of the day, I have an ethical responsibility to always say the doctor is right, even when I believe he is not. 

To the client in question; I thank you for giving me a chance to earn back your trust.  I will open my ears as well as my mind a little wider, and consider myself better for the lesson learned.  Be well.  rc

Oh, and there is this from the short-lived Chicago based band, Piglet.  Enjoy…

Unfriending Myself…

A tease for my upcoming column on friends and heroes — the ones inside of us.  I hope to have it done by Saturday, September 4th, so please check back. 

In the mean time, here is an excerpt:

Ego, Mego, And Wego

“For much of my early adult life the person I admired above all others was actually  me – or the me I was striving to become.  No hero I could choose to emulate would have as much to offer the world, I thought, as I would someday.  That’s okay, that’s okay, I laugh too when I think about it – now.  But I wasn’t laughing then, I was serious.  My best friend in those years was also me – the me who kept me grounded and ensured I stayed on the right path.

There were certainly people I had admired in my wide-eyed youth.  Most I admired for all the wrong reasons, and the heroes I chose never failed to let me down.  But for my high expectations of them, every role-model I had through my teen years fell as slowly as a turning leaf until the hero-tree eventually stood barren before me.  By my twenties, as each hero had faded into the realm of being only human, I began to understand that hero should be viewed as a personal destination, and not a view to another.”

Please check back this weekend for more.  Oh, and there is this by David Bowie…