The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Iron and the Soul - READ THIS NOW!

    This was written by Henry Rollins and published in Details Magazine in 1994. For those of you who don't know who Henry Rollins is, I weep for you. It's just an awesome read, so much so I revisit it often. Sometimes I feel like I must be crazy considering my passion for training. I feel no less crazy when I read this, I just know I am not alone. Enjoy.


    Iron and the Soul Ė By Henry Rollins

    I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.

    Completely.

    When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me ďgarbage canĒ and telling me Iíd be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didnít run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

    I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasnít going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and youíll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didnít think much of them either.

    Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldnít even drag them to my momís car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

    Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.ís office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasnít looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didnít want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

    Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didnít know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

    Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldnít say shit to me.

    It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesnít want to come off the mat, itís the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldnít teach you anything. Thatís the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

    It wasnít until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it canít be as bad as that workout.

    I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasnít ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what youíre not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

    I have never met a truly strong person who didnít have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someoneís shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

    Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

    Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

    Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didnít see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

    I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what youíre made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, itís some kind of miracle if youíre not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

    I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

    Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

    The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, itís impossible to turn back.

    The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that youíre a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.


    Supplements I currently take: Nitrean , BCAA , Creatine 500 , Multi-Plus , Fish Oil

    My Training Log , My Youtube Videos

    "The weak will never understand" - Vincent Dizenzo

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  3. #2
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    Great read!
    H: 5'7" W:185
    Goals: 495 -315 -585

    ďPersistence Persistence.Ē - Calvin Coolidge.
    "I'm so pissed at how dumb this thread is that I think I'll go kick my cat. Again"-Belial
    "I mean, it's kind of like neutering your cat, hoping that'll stop your dog from humping your leg." - Belial
    Journal

  4. #3
    Senior Member tom183's Avatar
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    Love this part:

    I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what youíre made of is always time well spent

  5. #4
    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    AtLarge Nutrition Supplements Ė Get the best supplements and help support Wannabebig!

    Just get under the bar!

  6. #5
    OVERCOME krazylarry's Avatar
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    badass!
    FOREVER
    STRONGER
    THAN
    ALL

  7. #6
    Father of Three Bosch232's Avatar
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    It's a little too over-the-top for me.
    "A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." ~ C.S. Lewis

  8. #7
    House Lannister
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bosch232 View Post
    It's a little too over-the-top for me.
    x2.

    Feel the same way about most stuff like this, tbh. In the end, we're just lifting weights.

  9. #8
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Therein lies the difference.


    Supplements I currently take: Nitrean , BCAA , Creatine 500 , Multi-Plus , Fish Oil

    My Training Log , My Youtube Videos

    "The weak will never understand" - Vincent Dizenzo

  10. #9
    House Lannister
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    O please.

    Lifting is a great way to relieve stress and learn to push oneself both mentally and physically, but this melodramatic rhetoric gets old pretty quickly.

  11. #10
    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    Therein lies the difference.
    Great post. I thought it was a fun read.
    First Bulk pics VS Starting pics, take a look!! http://www.wannabebigforums.com/show...=1#post1616109

    Progress pics of a cut using bodyweight only movements http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...45#post2405745

    Generally, if you read a piece of advice on the internet, assume it's wrong until proven otherwise. This applies especially to "conventional wisdom". -Belial

  12. #11
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Some live life with passion, others walk through it like zombies. I guess apathy is a life choice afterall. Yet another reason why I am glad I have a gym in my basement.


    Supplements I currently take: Nitrean , BCAA , Creatine 500 , Multi-Plus , Fish Oil

    My Training Log , My Youtube Videos

    "The weak will never understand" - Vincent Dizenzo

  13. #12
    Senior Member tmor6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me ďgarbage canĒ and telling me Iíd be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didnít run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable.
    Yeah, every time somebody starts off with this type of, "I was a wimp" or "I was afraid" so I turned to weight lifting really sets a bad tone. Napoleon syndrome, much?
    6'1"/203 (down 12 pounds since 5/2012)
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  14. #13
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Yeah, Henry Rollins and I are about the same age. Different era I guess. We used to have to overcome obstacles. I forget now everyone wins a trophy and everyone is special.

    When I was a freshman I was told by a bunch of seniors in the weightroom for football they never saw someone train so hard and not make any improvement. Clearly that stuck with me because I have been ranked a top ten bencher for over a decade now.

    Now I can see how some people get this and some don't. To each their own. I guess I should just stick the pl section.


    Supplements I currently take: Nitrean , BCAA , Creatine 500 , Multi-Plus , Fish Oil

    My Training Log , My Youtube Videos

    "The weak will never understand" - Vincent Dizenzo

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