In the late ’70s and early ’80s there were two very different physical fitness trends. Very different physiques accompanied the two sports. One sport was running, especially long distance running. Of course athletes who practiced and excelled at this sport were very lean. Any athlete who is tops in his sport and in personal peak condition can still exude a very natural, healthy glow. The best distance runners aren’t in the least bit “buff” but they can still present an appearance that is impressive.
The other trend was the rise of bodybuilding. So a different result in physique than distance running, obviously.
I was in the military at the time and knew a couple dozen guys who were serious bodybuilders. A few represented the military in lifting competitions. Others had competed at a national level in Mr. America contests, etc. Many of them were in the top thousand in the U.S., had met celebs like Schwazengger and Ferigno, etc.
Some guys who come into the military with a background in serious bodybuilding will continue to work out in that way throughout their career. But most transition to more practical strength training. Some who came into the military strictly as long distance runners will continue in that vein, but many will fold in other types of more practical conditioning like some strength training so they can carry more weight around, etc.
Being in america and in the military during a time when two opposing physical conditioning trends were in vogue led to some interesting debates and discussions about the “ultimate” type of work out or physical ability for military duty.
There was a lot of good-nature ribbing and competition. Contests were staged between different factions of athletes. Weightlifters/bodybuilders challenging the skinny guys to carry another soldier while also carrying a 70 lb backpack, etc; while the long distance guys would want to do endurance contests, etc.
Well it was in a bar one night where I learned a little lesson that has stuck with me. One guy who was in great shape but a bit on the lean side was shooting the breeze with a couple of the muscle-heads. Lean guy bets that there is one test of pure brut strength that he could do better than anyone else in the bar. A quick, 2-3 second burst of strength in which he could outperfrom anyone there. As a matter of fact, he said that he and he alone would be able to do the task and no one else could do it.
But of course everyone in this bar knew better than to blindly take up a bar bet without knowing all the details, there’s always some trick or loophole in the wording.
So lean guy puts it out like this. He says, “I’ll put up $200. Then I will perform the strength test. Everyone will watch me do it. Then, anyone who wants to bet can put up $20 to my $200. Everytime someone fails he gives me $20. If anyone succeeds he takes the $200.”
Then the lean guy gets a bottle cap from a beer and places it between the thumb and pinky of his right hand, and squeezes, bending the bottle cap in half.
After a couple dozen guys had tried, lean guy had more than doubled his money. No one else was able to do it. In the end, myself and a few others were a bit curious about what type of conditioning strategy or philosophy or whatever led someone to be able to perform this obscure task. He was a bit cagey about it and refused to answer. But after the excitement had ended and the crowd around this little contest had dispersed, lean guy did invite myself and a few friends to hear his “secret.” I think he picked us because we were among the youngest in the bar, and, I suppose, he gathered the most open-minded about what he had to say.
He said the way to be able to bend a bottle cap with the thumb and pinky was to simply practice that particular task. He said it didn’t matter if you were a bodybuilder or more functionally strong or coordinated or whatever. The only way to do that task is to practice doing that task. He said it’s a very specific set of muscles that obviously don’t get trained in that specific way unless you are doing that specific task. He boiled it down to discipline. He said that practically anyone with normal strength and normally functioning hands can train those muscles to do that trick. It was a testament to pure, unadulterated discipline. If you want something badly enough, you simply make it happen. Like the Nike slogan, “just do it.”
On that day I vowed that I would also practice and train to be able to do that task. I never did. That was almost 30 years ago. And now, I’ve decided I’m going to do it. I’m committing to employ the discipline necessary to train those muscles to bend a bottle cap.
I’m going to apply the same philosophy of discipline to PE. I’ve had a few false starts in the past. I made newbie mistakes such as overtraining or getting caught up in the awesome “feelings” of (over)-pumping; or got super-psyched and did 5 weeks straight every day with no rest days and then quit for a year. I could spend two or three hours sitting in the tub playing with my dick on one day and then not do anything for a week and then do 6 hours of training in 3 days again and then masturbate 5 times over the course of the next two days, fantasizing about how big my dick WILL be (not!)!
This time is gonna be different. Newbie routine. Heat. Conditioning. Rest days. Listening to PIs. Using common sense, making good decisions, not basing on emotions or fun or “feelings” or what I’m “in the mood to do”. Patience. Less is more. Waiting for gains to occur over time. Etc, etc. And I’m gonna stick with it. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.
"That which is measured, grows." (author unknown, corporate slogan at Microsoft)