In 1974, as a tall and skinny 17 year old, I began working out in a dimly lit, old gymnasium washroom no more than six feet wide and twelve feet long. Two rows of stainless steel sinks lined the walls with mirrors above giving the room the look of reflected infinity. The room was so narrow that it made benching impossible. But it really didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t matter. The bench was too dilapidated to be trusted. The largest plate was ten lbs. but there were about fifteen of them, along with an assortment of lesser weights. The lone bar was straight requiring inner and outer collars to set the limits of the plates. The collars had set-screws that had to be loosened with pliers to change the weights. Every night at 9:00pm I would walk to the gym, climb the stairs, and turn on the single florescent light. Three exercises comprised the totality of my workoutÃ¯Â¿Â½ curls, upright rows and chest crossovers. There were no dumbbells so I would put my thumb in the holes of as many weights as I could hold, lie down on a wooden bench between lockers and work my chest. I had no prior instruction. I had seen pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Colombu and Frank Zane. I just wanted to get stronger.
For months I religiously kept my nightly appointment. The only sound you could hear coming from a distant corner of the buildingÃ¯Â¿Â½s second floor was the ringing of ill-fitting plates with each movement of the bar. After getting started, steady improvement made each consecutive night more enjoyable. Finally repping 130lb curls and upright rows, my arms grew, my back and shoulders began to look freaky and my chest developed. I couldnÃ¯Â¿Â½t get enough to eat. My body was building muscle and I couldnÃ¯Â¿Â½t eat enough to satisfy the demand. Complementing my food intake was seemingly endless energy. I worked out every night. In the fall and winter of 1974 into the spring of 1975 I went from 130lbs to 165lbs adding 35 lbs of lean muscle. I was 18 and very strong. My shirts no longer fit. It was a great feeling. After 39 years that early work has never all together left me.
Five lessons learned
1.Commit yourself to a course of action. Make doing the basis for planning. 2.The commitment must be strong enough to stand alone. It must not be contingent upon external influences. 3.Perseverance always pays off. Enjoy the benefits of your labor. 4.Embrace the success that only materializes in obscurity. 5.Use your health and strength for good while you can.
Why I Love it
15 Reasons I Enjoy Weightlifting
1.Keeps me young 2.Maintains your strength and increases your longevity 3.Relieves the pressures of the day 4.A strong body wonÃ¯Â¿Â½t limit the vitality of the spirit 5.Able to help others with difficult tasks 6.Increases your stamina and focus on the job 7.You sleep soundly 8.There are measureable accomplishments 9.You encourage others by showing that hard work pays off 10.Pumps and released pheromones make you feel good.