Twenty-five years ago I joined a local health club called European Health Spa. At the entrance of the facility stood this huge statue of Atlas, the Greek god, who with unparalleled strength, held the world on his shoulders. Every time I entered the spa I looked up at Atlas and wondered if by working out I could have such a physique. Well, I never got there, and now — twenty-five years later — I’m just fighting to keep off the additional pounds and maintain the few muscles that I do have.
On the day I joined the club, a trainer led me through the weight-room and explained how to use each piece of equipment; he taught me the basic rules of working with weights. “Lifting heavy weights with fewer repetitions,” he said, “would build bulk (bigger muscles), while lifting lighter weights with more repetitions would build greater definition.”
To me, it seemed like a choice – either to sculpt muscles or build them up. Well, I went for the bulk. And though I was never too strong, I endured the greater pain of lifting the heavier weights, hoping that one day I’d look like Atlas’ younger brother.
I realize now that I should have thought of muscular fitness from both angles – using the heavy weights to fill in some areas of my body but also the light weights to tone muscles and keep them in shape.
I have also determined that just as important as a plan for physical fitness is a plan for the further development and toning of one’s emotional and intellectual faculties. I see myself, for example, needing not only greater intellectual bulk (knowledge) but also greater emotional refinement. In addition to knowing more, I want to improve the way I respond to the world. I want to maintain a more honest and mature appraisal of life and my purpose here on earth.
Days 2-5 Guide
Use the Joyous Gard Cycle of Days as an outline for your own “life plan.” The individual days identify important areas of fitness: ideas, knowledge, emotion, work, humor and sympathy. I believe that one’s psychological fitness is best realized by instituting a plan to work on all of these human essentials.
© 2005, Levi Hill