It’s taken me forty-five years to admit that I am a bodybuilder.
I know why, too. It seems so narcissistic. And there’s an element that is—but really, there’s so much more.
Back in the day, bodybuilding was quite popular, particularly among men. In the 1940s and 50s, before steroids ruined the sport, men like John Grimek and Steve Reeves showed what could be done with the human form with hard work and determination.
Looking good was certainly a priority, but these men prized good health, sound nutrition, strength, and athleticism as well.
Fast forward to today, and not that many people who perform resistance training would classify themselves as bodybuilders. But most are.
Are you interested in looking good? Be honest. Most people are. It’s a natural desire. Then you’re a bodybuilder.
Do you like to build strength but aren’t into pulling maximum poundages off the ground? (those with injuries and older trainees need to be careful with this for obvious reasons) Then you’re a bodybuilder.
Do you care about developing the symmetry—or balance—of one muscle group vs. another for aesthetics and function? Then you’re a bodybuilder.
Do you watch your nutrition, to make sure that you’re eating in a healthful manner? Yup, you’re a bodybuilder.
I used to be embarrassed to say I am a bodybuilder. But I’ve had a revelation of sorts—I embrace it now!
And I have been discovering more and more, week to week, just how rich a discipline bodybuilding is. I have seen how it can be used to rehabilitate oneself from injuries, and balance the muscles in the body to ensure they look and perform at their peak.
I have seen how the old schoolers were in reality far ahead of their time. Take central nervous system work, for instance. Guys like Grimek and Reeves did not train muscle group splits like modern steroid-laden bodybuilders do. They trained their FULL BODIES three times a week on average, making sure their central nervous systems—as well as their muscles and tendons—were appropriately taxed.
Training this muscle group or that up to six days (or more) a week, while not paying sufficient attention to the development of the central nervous system—is not a healthful pursuit in comparison. It also shows why people have become so dependent on cardio. Honestly, old school bodybuilders didn’t need additional cardio—they got plenty of cardio training in their workouts!
There is a fount of knowledge and experience just waiting to be uncovered. I am tapping into it, and it is profound.
To me, bodybuilding is NOT about exercise, even though it is exercise. It’s a true art form, with the human body as the canvas. My wife thinks I love to exercise. I don’t love to exercise—I love discovering new ways to develop the body and mind.
If you are just looking to get in better shape, frankly, I’m probably not the right guy for you. But if you are interested in starting a fascinating journey toward developing your body and mind with excellence, then feel free to contact me.
I look forward to it.
Patrick Rooney is the Founder of OldSchoolUs.com. Its focus is natural health and independent living. Patrick is the author of GREEK PHYSIQUE: The Simple, Satisfying Way to Sculpt Your Body—Even if You’re Old, Weak, or Broken Down; and is also the creator of Greek Yoga™ and the Greek Yoga for Beginners video. He offers health and fitness coaching in-person in Middle Tennessee and worldwide via phone, Zoom, and Skype. To reach Patrick, email him at [email protected].