No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Mind(ing) the farm

Posted by Ben on Wednesday, June 25, 2008

After almost four months, I finally finished reading Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (2nd ed), cover-to-cover, as the start to my preparation for an eventual CSCS exam. Considering that I haven’t done any focused, academic study in the hard sciences since, oh, high school (I don’t count the general education requirements I had in college), it goes without saying that the biology has been, is, and will continue to be the most challenging area as I go through this process. In that light, I’ll more than likely order a couple study aids from the NSCA within the next week or so. As I wait on that to happen, I decided to read Athletic Body in Balance because (a) I was surprisingly bored only a day after finishing Essentials as I thought I’d be welcoming a break, and (b) it’s been on my reading list for awhile, especially as I’ve shifted my mindset from the “what” and “how” to the “why” of human/athletic movement. (So far, it’s a great read, and I’ll give it a quick review here when I’m finished.)

Coinciding with my own intellectual pursuits has been a slight uptick in recent articles and posts dealing with thought process, mental health, and “why,” so I figured that’d be a good direction for a post of my own. First and foremost, as you think about what you do what you do to make yourself a healthier person, ask yourself why you do it in the first place. Do you believe in what you’re doing, or are you doing it “just because”? Are you putting at least SOME effort into it (in the kitchen as well as the gym), or are you just going through the motions? Maybe the kids or other priorities in life seem to (continue to) trump your own well-being? Speaking of kids, how are they? No, really, how are they doing? Are you taking their core, basic health needs—physically as well as mentally—seriously (yes, “ethics” be damned), or is convenience (complacency?) the name of the game, especially now that school is out for summer? *cue Alice Cooper* Just throwing that out there. (For the record, I’m not a parent nor do I ever intend to become one, but having been in extensive contact with children and parents as part of several previous jobs I’ve held, I’ve seen enough to have formed some informed opinions on the subject).

Hey, stuff happens; that’s just the world in which we live, for the most part. The trick is to find means of achieving and maintaining some semblance of sanity and focus on the basics without relying too heavily on, well, magic pills (which nature ultimately overcomes anyway). Not only are magic pills’ effects temporary, but they’re designed to be consumed ad infinitum, and at increasing costs—both short– and long-term, especially when compared to the (relatively falling) cost of just taking care of business at the fundamental level of healthy living—with no possible guarantee of safety in the first place (side effects are everywhere). Take a little time to plan (no need for anything complicated—it’ll pay off in the long run), realize that your health is ultimately YOUR responsibility, do your best to not sabotage your efforts (more on this in a minute), be smart in your risk-taking (but don’t avoid risk entirely), and strive to be more prepared than the challenges you face, in fitness and in life.

Before wrapping up, a couple congratulations to pass along: to Lou Schuler, who is to become editorial director at T-Nation starting July 7; to Alan Aragon, whose name is popping up more and more (and not just for his impromptu karaoke skills); to Bill Hartman et al, whose training facility in Indianapolis is nearing its opening; to Ross Enamait, whose family added a new member a couple days ago.

Potpourri
Last time, I touched on the explosion of (mis)information courtesy of the Internet Age. While daunting, plenty of efforts are in the works to make it all managable and even useful, so much so that the scientific method might—MIGHT—go the way of the dodo.
—Happy birthday to barbed wire.
—If the universe just happens to blink out of existence later this summer/fall, here’s why :)
—A fond farewell to George Carlin, one of the true comedic and social geniuses of our time.
—Finally, I’ve already mentioned before how I’m not a geyser of motivation, but I did want to iterate a point made in a post I linked above from Mark in talking about sabotage. It’s point #7, titled “Excuses, Excuses, Excuses” in that post. I’ll let the video speak for itself:

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