I have a great wife. Around two years ago, she tried to get in touch with Jack Lalanne, hoping that she could get him to call me and say, hi. She didn't get him on the phone but she managed to get his manager to send me a personalized, autographed picture. Do I need to mention that I was stunned, excited... and happy?
I immediately took it to a framing store and got the picture laminated so that it would last forever, or hopefully as long as Jack's lasted. That's my goal in life anyway: I don't want to just live as long as Mr Lalanne has. I want to do as good a job as he has maintaining his vitality. I want to be able to compress the morbidity of physical decline down to as small as a period of time as possible.
We all train a little (or a lot) differently but we probably have one thing in common: we all have goals for our training. So, we lay out the goal and mold a plan around it. Then, we let the weight fly (our weight or chunk of iron. Which-ever). The windows fog. The sweat puddle at our feet. Sooner or later, with enough drive, we get there. Then, we repeat the process.
Others have ruminated over the importance of goals. I don't think that I can' add much more than what's already said. Let me throw this out there: what happens when you can't pursues these goals because you can't train your prescribed manner? As I look back on this year, I set a few goals for myself. I wanted to set a personal record for pull-ups (27 would do it, 30 would be ideal for me). I wanted to do a full roller-ball ab roll-out. I wanted to buy, and climb, a 3" diameter x 15' rope.
It's been a year of travel, and injury, and other impediments. I had a plan for the rope thingy but I only had 3 good weeks of training before I ran out of a place to set up for rope climbing (Didn't have a forklift at all my job sites). Plus, my wife wouldn't have been too thrilled with choosing 3" manila rope over paint for our canary-yellow kitchen. There was injury too. I knew I should have never tried pulling this pump, tied to a wet rope, ten feet out of that underground tank. That kept haunting me all, damned summer. Pull-ups in hotels can be dicey at times too. I didn't get a chance to do any on my first trip to Peru. Do you know what a BW guy who can't train with pull-ups?
Travel was the main culprit though. It's just hard to keep a constant training schedule, focused on one goal, when you travel. I've talked about it all year about how much I've traveled. Here's a run-down of all of the places that I've been this year (and remember):
1. Sacramento, CA
2. Tehachapi, CA
3. Minneapolis, MN
4. Ohmaha, NE
5. Lima, Peru (twice)
6. Portland, ME
7. Rochester, NH
8. Amesbury, MA
9. Portland, OR
10. Carson City, NV
11. Oregon City, OR
12. Greensburg, PA
13. Honesdale, PA
14. Warminster, PA
15. Orlando, FL
So what if I couldn't meet my arbitrary benchmarks? I still have the one goal that I talked about at the beginning of this blog. I still have my desire to hold back the aging process for as long as possible. It's something that I keep in mind every time that I train. It's also something that I can always work on every time I decide to start working out. Every workout has the potential to keep me going in that direction.
We all enjoy training and probably look at it as a hobby or a sport. Sometimes I wonder if we should look at it more like we look at showering or brushing our teeth: a part of hygiene. Do we quit showering because we scrubbed way too hard? Do we take days, or a week, off from brushing our teeth? Why does healthy movement need breaks? If we view strength training through those sunglasses, doesn't it make some of the training protocol look, um I don't know, a bit mis-focused?
I keep going back to that guy who posted at a favorite blog of mine who trained at Olympic lifting so hard that he can't even lift a barbell with weight in his 40's because he's in so much pain, and thinks it was worth it. Why sacrifice the body to superficial goals? I think that if we'd all do ourselves a favor by following Jack Lalanne's lead more often. It's something that we can all aspire to, no matter what.
In closing, I'd like to wish Jack Lalanne a speedy recovery from heart surgery. God bless you, Jack, and thanks again for the autograph! It means so much to me!