It’s not often you get to see a silver-haired uncle in the gym pumping iron. You can tell from the lines on his face, sunken eyes and slightly dwarfed frame that he is well past his prime. But there’s something so different about him compared to the rest of the nondescript young boys.
For one, he still has the built and fervour. While waiting for my client to catch his breath, Uncle came forward to chat with us. And it turned out to be the most inspirational life lessons regarding fitness I have listened to thus far.
Since most of you will never have the chance to meet Uncle and learn from him, and since I’m in a generous mood, I’ll encapsulate the essence of his sharing in this blog post. Uncle is the true gym veteran.
If you like what I shared, drop me a comment and let me know 🙂
Lesson 1: Fitness Is For Life
I cannot help but agree 100% with Uncle that fitness is for life. He remarked that in his years of training, he has seen so many people drop out because of a lack of consistency. Uncle is the epitome of this mantra he holds dear. For the record, he started training at the age of 19 years old and he’s now nearing his 80th birthday! More interestingly, he was among the same few who trained with Tan Howe Liang, Singapore’s first Olympic medal winner.
Consistency is key to doing anything in life. The same applies to fitness. You cannot exercise as and when you want to and yet expect to see results. That’s also why when I first do fitness consultations with prospects, among the first few questions I pose is the commitment level. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Similarly, there is no magic pill for you to take and transform overnight into a dreamboat hunk or sexy babe.
Lesson 2: Lift According To Your Ability
Shaking his head while sharing this, Uncle remarked that he has seen scores of guys lift beyond their own ability only to result in injuries.
As much as we want to challenge ourselves and push beyond the limit, we should also know our own threshold. It’s good to set new milestones for ourselves so as to seek continuous improvement but expecting a giant leap from 10kg to 30kg at the snap of one’s finger is never going to happen.
Lesson 3: Move Around Constantly
Keeping our bodies in constant motion cannot be overemphasized. After one set, we should not sit and rest. Instead, we should stand up and move around so as to keep the body in constant motion. This is while waiting for the next set.
Sitting and resting relegates the body to a resting mode which is not ideal for maximum muscle gains.
Lesson 4: Train For Strength And Definition
Uncle validates my own school of thought. Unless you are going to be the next WWF wrestler or bodybuilder, no one in this new age and time still trains to be an Incredible Hulk. Gone are the days when the Arnold look was deemed the zenith of macho-ness.
A fabulous beach body these days is much closer to one that is chiseled, with the right upper body and lower body proportions. Besides this, it’s also about the true strength that you can unleash within.
Lesson 5: Focus On Major Muscle Groups
Like how I train my own clients for personal training, I choose to focus on the major muscle groups. Uncle concurs that it’s foolhardy to keep training the minor muscles and neglecting the major ones. Ironically, when you train the major muscles, the minor muscles are also trained in the process.
The minor muscles are what we in the fitness fraternity term the vanity muscles. Yes, they look good. But at the end of the day, should you neglect the major muscles, they will hit you hard. The major muscles are the ones that support our body frame. Do the important tasks in life once and you will be rewarded in the future. Don’t sweat the small stuff!