Thursday, April 11, 2013
A Man-to-Man Talk I'd Like to Have with my 16-Year-Old Self
Food is not bad, calories are not evil and the bench press is not special. Yes, the other 16-year-old boys are watching you and judging you. Get the **** over it. Worrying about what disapproving people think of you has only ever brought you harm, now is no different. You'll never have a great 6-pack unless you have lots of muscle to make a 6-pack out of, and you'll never have lots of muscle if you spend so much time being paranoid about gaining 1g of fat. You don't have to lift to failure, you do have to lift progressively, if you aren't progressing reduce the weight and work on technique. Lack of soreness is not a bad thing, and you don't need to change your program every month to prevent a plateau. Being constantly hungry is not a sign of health. Eat good food, and lots of it. You're not 7 any more, so stop limiting yourself to the amounts of food you ate as a 7-year-old. Above all of this, your size and strength has no bearing on your value as a human being. Getting bigger and stronger will not make you feel better about yourself. It won't make you like you, and it won't make others like you. This is good for you, this is one of the best things you'll ever do for yourself (although there are a few things you'll do for yourself that will be even better), but it won't fix your emotional problems any more than a band-aid will cure cancer. You want to fix yourself? Say hi to people. There are a thousand students at your school. Say hi to someone new every day. Listen to people. You think you're so smart, you think you're right all the time. You're wrong. About most things, most of the time, you're wrong. That's not because you're young, that's because you exist. There is more information out there than you'll ever know, and most of it is wrong. The amount of information available to mankind is growing exponentially, and most of it is wrong. You have a lot of experience ahead of you. The experience that shines light on what you know will make you confident, but the experience that allows you to appreciate how much you don't know and how much the stuff you think you know warrants correction will make you both humble and confident, and that will give you a strength that no amount of lifting will ever provide. But don't stop lifting. Lifting is awesome. You love it now, and you're going to love it even more in time. Listen to your body and love yourself. Trust in God, know that He uses your pain and suffering to grow you into who you'll be for eternity, and no matter how badly the **** hits the fan (and trust me, it will hit the fan, badly), you'll be alright.