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         FITNESS TIPS FOR 2/26/2003                     

Hardcore Bodybuilding Motivation and Thinking

Most People Don't Aim Too High And Miss

They Aim Too Low And Hit

by John C. Pasco

    The advice is often given to bodybuilders, perhaps mostly to 
beginning bodybuilders, that your goals should be "realistic".  That 
is, the advice is to choose to focus on and work toward an 
attainable goal, not one that seems too ambitious. Such advice is 
based on two considerations.  First, it is possible that in working 
toward the unrealistic goals, the bodybuilder might over train and 
suffer injury.  Secondly, the bodybuilder may become frustrated, 
disillusioned, and discouraged when he realizes he cannot reach 
that impossible goal.   As one who entered bodybuilding at age 72 
and his first contests at age 73, I write this article to disagree with 
those who teach such limiting advice. While I grant that these are 
valid concerns, in my own training I have a different prime motivating 
concern and that causes me to walk a path in which I choose to train 
and work toward a distant and perhaps unrealistic goal.  That path 
works for me in my own circumstance.  It may work for others who 
modify it to fit their own individual circumstances.  Still others will 
find that following the advice to only work toward attainable goals is 
the best path for them.

    My hardcore bodybuilding thinking is focused on some pretty 
distant and supposedly impossible goals....not realistic at all, I 
am told, at 'my age' and health condition. My ultimate goal is so
impossibly ambitious (maybe) that I just never tell anyone what it is. 
I tell them what I regard as my intermediate goals, and even those 
they regard as impossible.  In bodybuilding literature and by 
trainers I am reminded that I should keep my goals realistic and 
work for something I can reach. No matter how well-meaning such 
advice is, it is not an acceptable philosophy for me.

    If I have some distant galaxy as my destination-goal, I just might 
not reach it, but by striving toward it, I will certainly reach 
destinations which would otherwise have truly been unobtainable. I 
believe it is by aiming for an ultimate goal that great progress is 
made.  So, I aim at "impossible" goals, but at the same time try to 
be realistic enough to settle for the lesser ones when I miraculously 
get to them...then press on again to the 'unobtainable'.

    I have to take into account, so I am told to my hardened ears, that 
I started working out only after I had lived  72 years, while most 
others started in their teens or earlier. How can you reach those 
goals, I am told again to my hardened ears, when the others against 
whom I must compete are 30 or 40 years younger than I and have 
natural HGH and testosterone far more plentiful and active than mine. 
How can you reach your high goals I was told, again to my hardened 
ears, when the other contestants are free to use chemical 
supplements denied to you because of your cancer? Well, those 
'complications' are real enough but I refuse to surrender my high 
goals because of them.

    So real also was my determined focus when I began at 72. In spite 
of the prevailing view  that it could not be done,  prior to becoming 73 
I announced that my intermediate goal was to be in the NPC Masters' 
Nationals in my 75th year of life. The warnings of others not to set my 
goals so  unrealistically were loud at the start, but they have become 
gradually more muted since my high goal has motivated me enough 
to finish in the top ratings in my contests in the past two years facing 
those 20 and 30 years younger than I. I still hear their cautionary 
warnings now, but not as strongly given as they see me approaching 
those NPC Masters' Nationals in 2003 (my 75th year) providing I do 
well in a preceding local contest.   Sure, I may not ever reach my 
ultimate goal, but just standing on that stage next July will be a 
victory over the gloomy prognostications. Just being there will be a 
reaching of one of those unrealistic goals. And, when I walk off that 
stage, I will have my focus still firmly fixed upon the ultimate goal 
and drive toward it, proudly reaching and passing any other great 
but lesser goals on the way.

    Now, why do I go on here in this way. Well, you just cannot 
silence a preacher, even if he was retired at the retirement age! I have
 found in bodybuilding a means of rejuvenation for one in his "latter 
years" and with a 'dreaded illness'. It is clear to me that, for me, 
bodybuilding competition in which one focuses on the 'impossible' and 
does it, is the means of rejuvenation, of having victory over years and 
illness. For those who do not or cannot become bodybuilders, the same 
lesson holds true: focus on the impossible as a goal and accept the 
blessing of the lesser goals which others may regard as even 
themselves impractical. Death is unavoidable, but living a positive 
life focused on doing the impractical, the impossible, gives you victory 
over all temporal obstacles.


    Set Your Own Goals. Don't first ask yourself what you think you can 
achieve. Ask yourself what you want to achieve. While this is true for 
all of life, it most certainly is true for one entering the life of 
bodybuilding. You will never be truly happy, know self-fulfillment, until 
you accomplish something, and that "something' is becoming what you 
really desire to be. It is my own personal belief that each one of us was 
created with a specific potential. Great satisfaction comes when you are 
striving to be what you were created to be. Full satisfaction comes when 
you reach that goal. If your real goal is competing in major contests, but  
you shoot for just feeling better or looking better in the mirror, you may 
reach that easy goal, but it is more likely that you will not even reach it. 
There is something in the human psyche that drives harder when the 
desired goal is more difficult.

    Start by looking within yourself. Do you want to excel in physique? 
Do you dream of being a bodybuilder? Do you want to stand on the 
stage qualified as a bodybuilding competitor?  If you do, then go for it 
no matter how others will say you should not go for such impossible a 
goal.   While others may laugh if you tell them of your dream and 
desire, strive to achieve that dream and desire. When your own 
reasoning causes you to doubt your ability to make the dream and 
desire a reality, let the dream and desire take charge of your life.  
Let the dream and desire be your motivation. 

I can tell you from my own experience that, once you embark on 
the life of a bodybuilder, the progress you experience will banish 
all doubts. Just walking the disciplined path of a dedicated 
bodybuilder  gives its own satisfaction. As that path leads you to 
your own chosen goals, you will experience what it means to live 
a fulfilled life. Your life will have purpose and you will know joy 
and fulfillment unknown to those who take the lesser, easier paths.

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