How a real man trains

Posted: October 16, 2015 in From my vantage point
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A man has to be strong. Strong in body, stronger in mind, strives to be undefeatable in spirit. A man does not need to be very massive to be one. But he needs to be strong for people who depend on him. Here are 6 things that a real man would do about training in the weights room:

  1.  Acknowledge your weakness.

kryptonite

Everyone has his weakness. Even Superman has a weakess. Training is a form of acknowleging a weakness and working to lessen that weakness. In the bodybuilding weights room, the guy who has enormous arms, mountainous shoulders and hulking chest but with twig like thighs is an example of someone who has not acknowledged his weak areas. Men shoud accept negative comments and learn from them. If you have no weakness, there is no need to train. And that’s boring.

2.  Train as a gentleman.

A real man puts the weight plates, dumbells, and other toys back where they should be. I am assigned perpetually on the late shift in the gym where I work. I took it as a man and tried not to moan about it… I said tried. Other guys might be too scared to see the beings that appear on the gym walls at night anyway. There was a time when the cleaners were told to clean up the gym in the evening. When I got back to the gym after my dinner break, there was this old lady cleaner trying to tidy up the floor. She was attempting to put the 45 & 35 lb plates back to the plate rack. They were strewn across the floor by the supposedly big and strong guys who used the bench press and on the smith machine an hour earlier. They left a big mess. The lady could be my mother. Since I can’t speak her language, I just motioned to her not to bother with the plates and dumbells. It is not her responsibility in the first place. It took some time of re-educating those university guys about gym ethics. Sad to say, the mess still happens, but not as much. Real men train hard to make this world a better place, not to make a mess. We desperately need good examples. So be one!

3.  Train like you mean it.

bp spotMake pretend training does not make you stronger or better. If you do this, do not get your strength coach involved either. He can also play make pretend and pretend he is spotting you on the bench press when he is actually pushing the bar down to your neck. And he can mean it.

4.  Use that strength or you lose it.

farmer's walk valstrengthtraining

Exercise aficionados call this exercise the Farmer’s Walk. In here it is called “Don’t wait for the facilities department to refill the water dispenser, just do it yourself walk.” exercise.

Training for aesthetics is great. But better back up all those bulging muscles with useful work. If you don’t use what you have, it will be just for display, then it will fade away. So take the stairs, refill that water dispenser, and be more useful. If you were on a farm, you can train all day. Do some farmer’s walk with those grocery bags.

5. Train to prepare but prepare to train.

“Be prepared!” I love the Scouting movement and this is what I learned from it. It taught us, as young boys then, a lot of skills and we had great adventures. Training in the gym is preparing for life’s challenges. But then how can you train when you forgot to bring your training clothes? There was a time when one of the kids I was training forgot his pair of shorts for training. He was asking me if I have a spare one. I told him to go home and get his. I wanted him to learn his lesson and to take accountability. But then this colleague of mine lent him his shorts! He probably would lend his toothbrush too. The supposedly golden opportunity for the athlete to learn suddenly disappeared. Anyway, the lesson will always present itself until learnt. Going back, forget about your smartphone, or gloves. You can train better without them. But this what you should do. The night before your training session, put in your bag a clean training shirt, a pair of training shorts or pants, socks, training shoes, a towel, a water bottle with water, your gym access card if there is and if you are required upon entry. Optional would be some snacks. Your phone better stay in your bag. If you have those apps for training, it is your choice if you would use them. On your training day, you just grab your bag and you are ready. Serious lifters bring their own lifting belt, wraps, and straps. But they do not need this reminder. This is more for those who still did not develop the habit or lifestyle of incorporating training in their schedule.

6. Train for others first, for yourself second.

valstrengthtraining coastguardTraining for yourself is easy. But remember, others depend on you. Train to keep your body strong so it can withstand the challenges that life brings, be it physical or otherwise. Majority of the fittest people in the world may not be professional athletes, but fitness is a big requirement in their calling. They are enduring challenging conditions. They are doing what they do in order for other people to live comfortably. They are the farmers, construction workers, manual labourers, coastguards, soldiers, firemen, security guards, policemen, EMT’s, miners, fishermen, and many others. Many cannot afford to train in gyms but they get fit because of what they do on a daily basis. Some have to have extra training since failing in their task means other people’s lives are affected. So dedicate your training to those around you. Remember, when you train for others, you train with honor, you Train Better, Live Better!

Val Ramos Jr.

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