“Our body doesn’t have limits; our mind does.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
We all dream of the perfect body. Bulging biceps, wide chest, defined abs, the whole deal. But there are two types of people. Those who wish for it and those who work.
Looking from afar, that ideal figure might seem unattainable. I mean, who can spend that much time on things like that? And after all, what’s the use? You’re not a wrestler, so why bother?
As my first year of bodybuilding draws to an end, I’d like to answer one of the questions I’m most frequently asked. “Why do you lift?”
“Why spend your time on bodybuilding and such? Play sports to be fit, what’s the need to go to gym?” I’ve been told. I plan to answer those questions today, and perhaps inspire a few others to enter the world of bodybuilding.
“It’s not about the car you drive, but the size of the arm hanging out the window.”
None of us would hate it if we woke up one morning with a perfect body, would we? That means we would like having a good body. But the question that arises is whether it is worth the time and energy it requires. I believe it is, and to justify my view point, I’ll mention a few of the things I love the most about bodybuilding.
Building your body, or rather, changing it, is about more than mere strength. Our body is something we have had since we remember. And most of us have come to accept it as it is. Molding your body into something new overcomes the restrictions your mind had placed upon you. It shatters the illusion of limits. It makes you realize you have none.
Bodybuilding is psychological as well as physical. The self confidence it generates within you is incomparable. It changes your attitude towards everything. What you may have earlier considered impossible or beyond your abilities, may now seem feasible to you. It encourages you to embrace challenges, only to conquer them the next moment.
You don’t need to be the biggest guy out there; you just have to become better than you were. Your physique is something visible to everyone. And that will be the first thing people judge you by.
“So, if women with big muscles look like men, men with no muscles look like women.”
Sports are a fun way to get and remain fit. So why bother with gym and bodybuilding? Keeping aside the fact that bodybuilding will develop your complete body unlike sports that focuses on certain muscles, bodybuilding also teaches you different things. While sports teach a person the essential value of teamwork, lifting tends to focus towards something even greater- self sufficiency. While learning to operate in a team is important, it is also essential to be prepared to get things done all by yourselves. Sometimes you won’t have a group of people to rely upon. Bodybuilding will prepare you to not get disheartened when there is no external support for you. It’ll teach you to raise the rod high, not matter how heavy it may be.
But let’s say you get those muscles. What is the purpose of them? How will you be using them, since you don’t have a job that requires heavy lifting? What advantage have you gained by investing so much time into this?
Muscles are simply the accumulation of cells in a particular area. So why the big deal? It’s because of what those muscles represent. They display physical strength, but along with it they develop within you something much more valuable. They represent the habit of hard work, determination, and consistency. And subconsciously, that is precisely why we respect, admire, and envy them.
“Sometimes bodybuilding isn’t about health, or even building muscle. It’s just therapy.”
For me, lifting has been a very effective stress buster. Whenever I’m tensed about something, I find that going to the gym and working out helps me clear my mind. It’s a place where I’m surrounded by people who work hard, and that gives the motivation to work harder myself.
I do not focus simply on the results of bodybuilding, but rather savor the process as well. Instead of lifting weights rapidly, I take them slow and feel each rep. The pain I feel the day after an intensive workout is the sweetest thing for me; it tells me that I worked hard.
Most things we do fade away with time. The parties we have, the joys we experience. They all eventually become a distant, passive memory. My body, however, is something that I know will last as long as I will live. In a world where everything changes, it is relieving to find some consistency.Something unshakable. Something permanent. Throughout the year, I have taken less than ten days off, not including Sundays, when the gym remains closed. And I am certain that this determination will not crumble as the time passes on.
But to everything that we do, there are advantages, and there are reasons. There are numerous advantages of lifting, in terms of both physical and psychological health. But the only logical reason for doing something is because either it makes you strong, as a person, or it makes you happy. And for me, lifting does both.