Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some Shit Deserves to be Extinct, Martin

Despite the piles of crap that have a tendency to accumulate there, I still like reading articles on T-Nation.  The only ones that I truly value to any degree are usually written by Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, and Dan John.  In other words, if they have to post an abbreviation-ridden description of who they are, chances are pretty good that I don't find a whole lot noteworthy in what they're saying.

That rule still held solid when some guy named Martin Rooney posted an article that popped up on my Facebook wall telling me how to train like a man... for the 7th time.  Apparently, training like a man involved using a shitload of furniture and machinery that was only good for one or two lifts and, of course, these are going extinct because of ellipticals, kettlebells, ropes, and spinning classes.

Okay, I like the Roman Chair.  That one should stay put in every gym, as far as I (a blogger who pollutes the  whole gym scene) am concerned.  The rest of the real estate-wasting stuff, well, why is anyone surprised that some machine that was the latest fitness trend 40 years ago got moved out in favor of yet another trendy pile of shiny new junk?

Call me crazy but anything designed to be used for only one or two exercises isn't going to last very long.  Exercises do come and go.  Too many people are going to follow what the latest strength hero who bursts onto the scene does to get his strength.  When someone engineers a gym toy around today's muscle idol, don't be surprised when it fades away with that lunk.  It's a never ending cycle.

Something that can be used for lots of different exercises justifiably both has a better chance and deserves to survive.  Call my crazy but that's the stuff worth populating a gym space with.  Were I to spend my money, my time and my effort on equipment I'd much rather have ropes, kettlebells and suspension straps in my place of muscle and mind.  It worked so well for building big, strong bodies many years before we were convinced that powerful bodies were built like cheap cars with machinery. 

My Thoughts on Lance Armstrong

It must be both rewarding and annoying at the same time that after so many years, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) finally skewered Lance Armstrong for doping in his Tour De France.  After rising above all of the dirty athletes to become the most dominant dirty athlete the TDF has ever known, they still couldn't seem to produce the magical positive test to prove that he was a drug users all along.  Still, they can use their odd power to say that he was.  It seems to me like such a hollow victory. 

Yes, I firmly believe that Lance Armstrong used drugs to produce his record seven straight Tour De France victories.  I have less evidence than the USADA has but since I'm just a puke with a computer and a blog address, I'm not burdened with any particular requirements to prove what I think.  I just have the ability to connect the dots.  Ironically, this isn't too far away from what the USADA has. 

We can all agree that the Tour is a bike race, the most prestigious bike race in the world.  There are other titles it has.  One might be the most obvious example of a doped-to-the-gills sports events there is.  Another title could also be a voluntary foray into a chronic wasting disease without dying...unless you used performance enhancing drugs.  The simple truth about the TDF is that the speed of which the competitors race over such a distance and for the period of time they do it in would kill even the best non-chemically enhanced endurance athletes from muscle destruction alone.  These competitors couldn't possibly do it without drugs.  Their bodies would give out like a cancer or HIV patient.  So, a seven-time winner would have to be doing something to rise above and take the title. 

Another oddity about Lance Armstrong is his height and weight.  When we read that he was 5'9 and 160 lbs at his peak, we don't think anything of it because it's so extra-average for an American Man.  By professional cylists' standards, he might as well be Lou Ferrigno.  Most of these guys on bikes are mighty midgets, most being 5'3"-5'5" and barely over 130 lbs.  The extra size should put him at a disadvantage since most smaller people with less muscle mass to deliver oxygen to should render him in the bottom of the pack rather than a record-breaking run as king.  Something odd was going on...

Going back to alternative titles to give to the Tour, a third title would be the longest-running, doped-up sporting event ever.  Indeed, people have been cheating by taking things to win this race almost as long as the race has existed.  To my knowledge, the earliest use of arsenic as a performance enhancer in sports was used in the Tour back in the early 1900's.  Apparently, before it kills you, it gives your much-beloved, muscle-moving ATP quite a kick into overdrive.

So, taken into account that Lance Armstrong produced unheard of dominance in a race ridden with PED's for nearly as long as the race has existed, it's hard not to reason that he wasn't dirty as the rest of them were.  Perhaps the flagrancy of his dominance and the fact that he couldn't be caught after all of the blood n' piss samples were in after the race was just too much for the powers-that-be to tolerate.   Something had to be done. 

What we can take away from this is that in the world of professional sports, there are few clean miracles left out there.  We shouldn't burden ourselves with dreams of being just like these people unless we're ready to scour the Earth for the best in muscle-enhancing drugs to do get there.  This is just another reminder that these people take bodies that most of us don't done have and fill them with substances we probably (and hopefully) don't want to take.  That's not a path worth going down.