Sunday, September 12, 2010

Should Sly just quit this muscle thing?

He's been given an lifetime achievement award Razzie as the worst actor ever. He was the very definition of the over-the-top action hero in the 1980's. He talks really funny too. Yet Sylvester Stallone is still out there, making his movies and still managing to attract enough people to the theaters to turn a decent profit off of his work. His latest movie, "the Expendables" might has made around $95 million on a $60 million budget by the time that you read this. His career seemed dead in the water for most of the last decade until he started making this latest, mini-comeback.
It hasn't been without it's criticism though. Apparently, he's way too old to be an action star anymore. Even though 80's nostalgia has been in full swing for the past few years, Stallone's brand of action hero isn't invited to the party.
These can make a comeback, but Sly can't? FOR REAL?

To top it off, a guy pushing 65 years old shouldn't look like that. That's almost as wrong as a woman doing real strength training. I remember when his last Rocky movie came out, a boxing writer said something to the effect that Stallone's physique looks something like a freaky, over-aged piece of meat. I guess people old enough to collect social security need to look old, weak and broken down.

Okay, let's get the obvious out of the way: Stallone uses steroids and growth hormone. We know that he's used them for a long time. He got caught with them in Australia a few years ago and proclaimed that he loved the effects of HGH and Testosterone. I'm not a fan of steroid use so I'm not a fan of Stallone's steroid use either. What those of us who strength train know is that steroids alone don't make a physique. There's a lot of hard work behind even the most steroid-laced physique. That is what I'm focusing on, not his drug use. There is no doubt that Stallone works his ass off!

That work ethic is admirable, as far as I'm concerned. I like the fact that he hasn't given up on himself or what he loves to do just because he's in his
mid-60's. He takes good care of himself and he doesn't give up.

So, what we're kind of saying by deriding a muscular, but old, man is that we expect people to just give up on themselves at some point. Sure, we can train, get big muscles and get girls with our strength training but there comes a time, right around where we start collecting the SS check, that we just need to say, fuck it! We need to give up on ourselves and accept that rotting to death for the final 30+ years of our life is our fate.

I just can't buy into that storyline for myself. I just can't bring myself to will that upon others. Some of the key points to strength training is to exceed the limits of what we consider to be possible, do defy expectations, and discover a sense of self while we're doing it. If we stop this process, then what was the point all along? Quitting on our bodies once we're no longer young doesn't fit into this picture. The picture that it paints isn't one of real, holistic physical culture. It's a portrait of self-absorbed trend-following and pleasing other people. I don't expect Sly to do it, and I don't expect anyone else to either.

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