One of the advantages of continuing to train with weights is that it provides ongoing exposure to those younger than you, once you pass a certain age. That “certain age” could of course vary dependent upon one’s history relative to engaging in the pursuit of physical fitness, enhanced strength, actual competition, and athletic background. However, there is almost a stereotype of the former competitive lifter or bodybuilder still visiting the gym in his or her 50s or 60s squiring around a dating partner twenty to thirty years their junior and explaining the finer points of a properly performed triceps kickback. Consistent training, a lifetime of regular training theoretically gives one a younger “physical plant,” maintains a “younger attitude” and perspective, and exposes them to the thoughts and expressions of one or two younger generations. All can be positive although I frequently stare in wonderment at many of the utterings that come from our much younger trainees. Some will develop their academic, social, and “attitude” acumen and distinguish themselves as successful individuals in the future while others are already confirmed chuckleheads! Still, I find it positive to receive daily input and exposure to those much younger than I am, especially if strength enhancement, powerlifting competition, and learning a number of life skills are part of their package of training benefits.
My statement in last month’s TITAN SUPPORT SYSTEMS column as expected, brought the same, usual responses that I specifically commented on; “As one of the old guys in the sport, how come there’s still so much that you think you can learn?” More or less and summarizing what I stated previously, there is always something to learn, something to be considered, something that requires more scrutiny, and the necessity to always reevaluate what one is doing if it is to be done as well as possible. In addition to writing about the topic in September’s blog/article, TITAN boss Pete and I discussed some specifics related to contest warm-ups in deciding the best presentation for the material. Repeating what is known by much of the powerlifting community, at least the community from “the old days,” Pete, Jay Rosciglione, and I all drifted around the 148 to 165 pound classes for a number of years. I had worked very hard to take what was a probable “natural bodyweight” of 145 – 150 pounds in high school, to 232 pounds of “yes, I have abs at this weight” at a height of less than 5’6” for the purpose of playing college football. I held that weight or most of it after my playing days, in part because I would occasionally believe I had “just one more football comeback in me” as per my brief time with the New York Giants Atlantic Coast Football League affiliate Westchester Bulls at a time where numerous NFL and American Football League clubs funded well coached and well played minor leagues throughout the country and many professional players were given time to develop and/or recover and play their way back from injury. I also directed backstage security operations for a major record label for their East Coast tours, a number of rock tours, and one of the best known rock venues in the nation. Being 5’,5-3/4” and a hard 230 pounds was an asset.
At one time I attempted to count the number of odd lift contests, driveway/garage/YMCA vs. YMCA meets, and official sanctioned and unsanctioned powerlifting competitions I competed in. Even with minimal age-related memory loss, going back to the early 1960s made this an impossible task. Every time I dedicated time and thought to the matter and believed I had a reasonable answer, I would receive a reminder via a colleague’s or relative’s comment that I had left an event out of the sequence. Thus I gave up but certainly from the age of fifteen forward, I was fortunate enough to be involved in all aspects of what eventually became powerlifting as a sport and thankfully so. I have also been blessed to understand my compulsive approach to specific problems or points of interest and utilize that personality trait in a productive manner which allows for organization and the commitment to doing everything as correctly as possible. Relative to my quest for athletic improvement, this included the obvious necessity to accumulate information and advice, especially in light of the dearth of training information available to any interested party from the time of my early involvement in the late 1950s through the early 1970s. As my many TITAN SUPPORT SYSTEMS monthly columns/blogs have indicated, if one wanted information about lifting weights, they had to locate it, and then travel to obtain it.
My initial intention of referencing one of my articles from the July 1991 edition of POWERLIFTING USA MAGAZINE has led to a four month discussion about Internet gurus “guruing” willing and in many cases, naively sincere powerlifters; useless but money-making nutritional supplements including those that promised to enhance “male virility” and attached body parts; the necessity of self-discovery and growth through figuring out one’s own pathway through the sport; and finally to the specific training program that sparked much discussion and controversy twenty-seven years ago. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised that even prior to “fleshing out” the program, I already have received the same type of pointed and strongly held views from a number of lifters. As quoted from that original piece in last month’s TITAN SUPPORT column;
Part Two of HISTORY OF POWERLIFTING, WEIGHTLIFTING, AND
STRENGTH TRAINING NUMBER 114 began with the lines, “Hucksterism in powerlifting? The peddling of bullshit in the guise of legitimate training information? Enjoy a warm welcome to the media, advertising, and the Internet.” Briefly noting the fact that powerlifters, like all strength athletes are a prime target for purchasing “bullshit” products and information due to their dedication to what we must admit is a fringe sporting activity, annoyed some of our readers. However, as expected, it brought out many admissions and rather humorous accounts of “falling for the hype hook, line, and sinker.” Typical was this:
Hucksterism in powerlifting? The peddling of bullshit in the guise of legitimate training information? Enjoy a warm welcome to the media, advertising, and the Internet. There is a parallel between the history of “providing” training information and then figuring out what exactly the interested party purchased, and the nutritional supplement industry, so a bit of background information will help as we wind our way back to the “routine” aspect of this specific discussion.
Unfortunately, many if not most lifters have bought into the same “you need nutritional supplements to succeed” mind-set that most athletes have. The segment of the general public that spends money on anything past a one-a-day type of vitamin tablet and perhaps “extra” Vitamin C has been constant since the 1960s but the real money for the supplement suppliers resides in the athletic community. I recently noted to some of our younger trainees that the presentation of the various “super-duper” supplements is cyclical. One of the advantages of having lifted weights at age twelve and continuing to do so into my early seventies is that I can truly state that “I have seen it all” and relative to supplements, “all” is usually something that has been recycled after initial failure to produce
My daughter often will chide me about my inability to correctly note time. I can read a clock accurately. I may be Polish but I can “tell time” but admittedly have an inability to properly “sequence time.” Events of twenty years ago could have been two years or “not too long ago” in my reference of history. It frequently is necessary to think about the appropriate placement of an event or incident on a timeline, much like a doctoral student must sit and consider the exact wording of his or her dissertation. Especially coming off the top of my head, I am often “not close” in determining when something occurred. I attribute this obvious inability to having witnessed, lived through, survived, or been exposed to “too much stuff.”
The comments received after the publication of last month’s article that focused on the advisability of training or competing were numerous and somewhat surprising. If we summarize the content and intended purpose of the piece, it would be:
If you’re injured to the extent that you have to wonder if you should be training or competing, you probably should not do either and take the appropriate steps to heal, rehabilitate, and progress in reasonable fashion back into the “mainstream of your usual training.”
Coming years after my involvement providing backstage and other security services in the music industry, the song “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” was released by local singer Cyndi Lauper who of course became an international star. It may surprise some that Lauper neither wrote nor made the first recording of the song but certainly her version was and remains the iconic version. Although not “my kind of music,” my daughter when a pre-teen, more or less adopted the song as a favorite for a while and would blast it as she ran, jumped, or danced around the house. Every time I heard it, I would reflexively substitute the words “powerlifters just want to have fun” in part I am certain because lifting was always so enjoyable to me and my various training partners. With great staying power, the song was played as background on a television commercial early this morning in the warm-up area of our facility and once again, I thought, “yeah man, powerlifters just want to have fun” and most, I would think, do when they’re lifting. However, how much fun are they having when they can’t lift due to injury or in their zeal or compulsiveness, do lift when logic, common sense, and medical or orthopedic certainty dictates that they shouldn’t?
In all areas of athletic endeavor, as it is in any profession, vocation, groups with specific interests or among those of various ethnic and racial backgrounds, there are individuals judged to be “nice” or “not nice,” “considerate” or “not considerate,” and “helpful” or “unhelpful.” Obviously within any group some will be liked and others won’t be dependent upon their behavior and attitude towards a number of variables. I was taught that being part of a specific athletic endeavor, profession, vocation, groups with specific interests, and/or various racial or ethnic backgrounds is never a basis for passing judgment on a person. Instead, my father’s credo was “Take each individual as they are, if they’re an asshole, they’re an asshole, it has nothing to do with being white, Black, Hispanic, Asian, or where they’re from. They’re just an asshole.” This has allowed me to go through many decades of life without prejudice related to almost everything people display prejudice about.
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