The old time lifters understood this.
It was pretty clear for them to see. And either we don't get it, blind to it, or are just choosing to look the other way. I don't know.
This was written over one hundred years ago.
If you can't quite make it out from the picture, let me bring your attention to the first two paragraphs.
"..There are thousands and thousands of our population who go to bed tired at night and wake tired in the morning. An even greater number know what it is to duffer daily and nightly under nervous strain caused by competition. In such cases it is necessary that a man should study his physical life...."
But for me the part that stands out, and hits home like an overhand right from Klitschko is unquestionably this,
".. One is only too apt to get up in time for breakfast, tumble off to business, spend the day in an insanitary office, with the exception of an hour, during which an heavy indigestible meal is bolted, returning home at night. to another heavy meal and so to bed.
Here is a life in which the physical element does not exist, and which is absolutely certain to end in physical ruin."
This was written in 1897 by Friederich Wilhelm Muller, more commonly known as the father of modern body building, Eugen Sandow, in his book, Strength and How To Obtain It.
So here we are in 2015. How much has changed?
In some ways quite a lot, and in other ways not much, or indeed not in the way we would have liked.
The truth is that when it comes to the physical element and taking care of our health, the greater part of the population are straight up amateurs. We suck at it.
And we are dying.
Needlessly popping our clogs from diseases, which are more often than not, greatly influenced by lifestyle factors.
These are things that you and I can control.
Just for kicks, I had a look at the top 10 mortality list from the World Health Organisation.
This is where they look at the data globally and see what are the biggest leading causes of death.
In at number 10 we have Hypertensitve Heart Disease, ending 1.1 million peoples lives in 2012.
At number 8 Diabetes takes out 1.5 million.
Chronic Obsturctive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Stroke were in at spots 3 and 2 repectively.
In at the number one spot was Ischemic Heart Disease with a staggaring 7.4 million people succumbing to this formidable disease.
You can check out the WHO Top 10 Casues of Mortality >>here<<
Now you may be thinking, so what?
These numbers probably mean little to you, unless you've been impacted by these conditions personally or someone you love.
You never realise how important your health is until it begins to fail you.
But it also go me thinking about when it comes to our health why so many of us are amateurs.
Perhaps, lurking there beneath the surface lies fear.
Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking foolish, fear of under achieving, fear of over achieving, fear of standing out, fear of loneliness and paradoxically, even our own fear of death may be leading us to make short term choices that do not support our strength and health long term.
What are the choices that you are making that are potentially harming you?
It's an all too familiar story, because its an all too human one.
We need to make our health our priority.
For some, this takes courage.
For others this requires strength.
For most it takes consistency.
But do this we must, because if we don't, as Eugen Sandow could see so clearly back then in 1897, we are, ".. absoutely certain to end in physical ruin."
Don't run from the pain, move towards it.
Now in it's third year, London's Strongest Woman is without doubt one of the most competitive strongwoman competition's in the calender. With a high calibre of athletes putting in their best efforts to show case their strength. Created by power lifter Yaman Mustafa, this year Villain Barbell Club was the host for the event. I asked Strongwoman athlete Becky McKevitt to write a guest post about her experience on the day. Here's her take on the event...
" I never come last at anything and was super excited to come 3rd in my pervious Strongwomen comp at an equally cool location, The Commando Temple. But I have learnt something invaluable from the strength community.
I entered my first competition with aggression and an attitude of no one is more important than me today because that is how I thought a winner should think. As the day went on I realised I was a fool.
The athletes in the strength community support each other in a way I have never come across before. Everyone puts in their absolute all in training and in competition, but with so much support, affection and respect for each other. They cheer unapologetically loudly to their fellow competition alongside outbursts of advice, encouragement and cues.
These strongwomen have taught me so much… In preparation for the events I’ve trained with and been given advice by these same people I was due to compete alongside.
On the 25th Janaury 2015 I competed in my second Strongwoman competition at the super cool Villan Barbell Club. Here I’ve had the pleasure of training with some awesome men and women who really train from the heart, with conviction and intelligence. Certainly one of a mere handful of cutting edge locations like this to train in the UK.
Well I take new found pride in saying I came well and truly last in my weight category. Or ‘no, Becks you came 6th’ as the organiser Yaman Mustafa Power Lifting and Strongman beast politely stated, being that, yeah there were six of us in the Under 75kg category ha!
I think Yaman put me up first to set the day in motion, with the first event being the DL, so as not to demoralise me as I dug deep and achieved one excruciating yet majorly satisfying rep in the 60 seconds time limit. A new Personal Best for me yet leaves me in awe of the women that followed banging out up to 20 lifts.
Here are the events of the day:
- 100kg 3’’ Axle Bar Deadlift for 60 seconds
- 42.5kg Floor to Overhead Log for 60 seconds
- Atlas Stones Over 60’’ Yoke. 30, 40, 50, 60kg. 60 seconds
- 100kg Farmers Walk With 2’’ Grip (50kg each hand). 10m, drop, turn and repeat
- Sled arm over arm : U75kg Category: 85kg Total - 75kg+ Weight Category: 90kg:
An awesome day spent with hugely inspiring ladies, friends, love ones and random people you’ve never met before, but cheer you on as a good friend regardless.
Medals and a complimentary hug were given to all.
London’s Strongest Women are as follows:
Weight Category: U75kg
1st PLACE: Banging out 10 of those nightmare log lifts, quietly sure and fierce, Villain Barbell Club's very own, Lisa Price.
2nd PLACE: Good humoured super strong Kiersty Sims tucking into the Deadlifts and log.
3rd PLACE: First time Strongwomen competitor Jodie Leigh flying through at the speed of sound on her farmers walks.
Weight Category 75kg+
1st PLACE: The humble Nadia Cole who moved consistently and relentlessly at good pace, leaving us jaw-dropped with 20 of those Deadlift’s!
2nd PLACE Calm and collected Suzy Taljard who I reckon was saving herself for another day…
3rd PLACE: On the podium was Dee Strawbridge with baby power behind her.
With Hannah Newman equal in event points but alas a hilarious tug of war with the prowler decided the final place up on there for 3rd.
When all was done, I was invited to train with newly found like-minded girls. There was even talk of the next Strongwoman competition. I figured training begins now.
I’ve gotta do better than this next time! There’s work to do.
About Becky McKevitt
Becky McKevitt is a strongwoman athlete and bodyweight specialist. She can be found lifting heavy shit, jumping and flipping over stuff in equal measure.