Body Awareness > Body Acceptance

(post was edited on dec 5th 2019 to be read as a video/podcast)

Finished a 3 day fast this week to reset my body a bit. I have been getting back into weightlifting on a regular basis over the last 2 years. Be it the Gym or calisthenics have tried to keep active and my body has responded. 

By combining this with cardio and a healthier diet (both the quality of food and keeping a caloric deficit over a week), I have managed to improve my body composition, drop weight, add muscle and have more energy.

The fast was due to having become aware that the gains I was making at the gym recently were hampered by not keeping as close an eye on my dietary intake.

Problems occur because of how we define things not due to what they are. I will use this video from the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship to try and describe some things about life. 

Was that record as impressive as seeing Usain Bolt?

One of the most impressive things for me to se there is the ankle mobility they have. The ability to squat that low with heels still on the ground and under your shoulders is admirable. Am trying to gain more flexibility in my ankles but think the hamstring issues that began some years back as i was returning to fitness were a sign to tightening due to my years of sedentary life and age.

But let me get on to the learning material. Shall touch on this awareness of my body in the dimensions we inhabit.

Biology Matters

Great to see how even within the types of bodies that can best heave such weight around, there is a range of body types and techniques. They discuss pulling the weights or powering it. See some shorter and stockier guys. Some have larger midsections. I’ve written about this before, how much I enjoy seeing the how the different human bodies at peak performance move and  look for different physical requirements.

My body has been the type that lends itself to lifting. I’ve always been unusually strong and took to lifting weights quite well. However I am currently doing it for better health, not competition like these aniMules in the video above.

I prefer body awareness to acceptance because its more about being in touch with your self. Acceptance is more demanding of others. Specifically in the Fat Acceptance movement that is mostly peopled by females.

What exactly is your body for?

Even simply existing one can say there are bodies that are better adjusted to continued existence over others, let alone when one begins to speak of certain occupations or physical challenges like bearing and caring for children.

But when we have competitors like these men, I doubt they’d demand acceptance from others though they are very well aware of what their bodies can and cannot do. They have no compunctions with admitting their part in creating the bodies they have, nor in the very specific field they are in. There is an understanding that some others may have bodies better suited to do what they are all trying to do.

In large part due to them remembering when their own body was not as suited to what they do currently and think of the work and effort put into it to make it so.

In powerlifting, specific countries tend to be represented.

Why is it that we see the field of body building dominated by americans but in powerlifting it’s mostly North Africa, Middle East and Europe sans the  larger western countries. There is  growing community of lifters here in Kenya but there is no athletic tradition of strongmen. Does this mean they are unable?

Nope.

You can dominate in certain fields that require strength but applying it across all practices is not for certain.

Taking the Right Time

Oldest lifter in the competition was 34.

Time comes for all of us.

Are they old for life?

Nah.

Time still comes though. It’s effect is not limited to athletes.

So when someone says we have better chance to do certain things at a certain age, dont get salty or point at the exceptions. Males or female we’ve got windows to do things. We mostly have general awareness of the bodies that are a part of our societies and what they can do.

I’ve been recently mistaken for being in my early 20’s. In no small part due to my improved fitness and health. In part due to amount of weight being lifted in the gym. Likely in Kenya my hairstyle may count as well seeing that most around my age have buzz cuts or bald.

Is this dismissive of what people in their 30’s can look like?

Nah.

In the video of the competition a lifter had to follow himself after missing a weight. 2 minutes to get his breath back. Most popular lifting programs you’ll see people following in your average gyms have far shorter splits in between sets. There are trendy High Intensity Interval Training workouts like Tabata or you can do power lifting with higher weights, lower reps, more time between.

Some things in life may require you to spend large amounts of time and energy doing one thing, then take a break, move to the next, followed by another break then good to go. Others are going to require a shorter more frenetic time to accomplish.

These world championship lifters are not going to adopt a lifting schedule of doing both lifts back to back in quick succession on multiple stages. It just doesn’t work for what they are doing. So depending on who you are, you can’t just look at what someone else has done and think you can adopt the very same schedule.

Often what you want to achieve will dictate the best timing.

See the difference between snatch lift with it’s fluid motion to the arm extended over the head position into a full deep squat vs the clean and jerk motion that has a pause catching the bar at the top of ones chest, followed by an explosive push with split legs?

It may seem that a quick explosive motion would result in higher weights being able to be moved, but you see how catching it after the clean can give you time to readjust and power out that great weight.

For some, taking that pause in life can get you to take a next step better. In some other cases it can cause you to have yet more time to trip up.

Sometimes the thing itself will make you adjust to it.

Know thyself. Answer the 5 Ws who, what, where, when, why and you’ll know how.

Looks Just As It Should

Do they care what they anyone judges about how they look?

The weight is the weight after all.

As mentioned the bodies differ. This isn’t bodybuilding where one looks at definition of muscles, looks to see the symmetry in size. Find the impressive V taper. The distinctive bicep peaks. The striking Christmas Tree on the lower back. Let along the tactic of bronzer and baby oil to be a dark glisteny adonis on stage.

Their physical appearance may nto matter to how they place in the competition but appearance does matter. All their different types of bodies, in across the various weight classes, with their individual mass however distributed on their frame must move the similar weight of the barbel and plates on the same stage in an agreed predefined motion in order to qualify as a succesful lift.

Our appearance may not dictate our ability but the appearance of the ability often matters.

Concluding now with a bit more on appearance. The large midsections actually help them distribute the force of the weight as they lift and stabilizes their core which is a much ignored key in lifting and life. The special lifting shoes provide a stable base and there is also the belt with knee and wrist wraps to give extra support to weaker, bendier parts of the human body. 

Amazing feats of strength by these men. Thinking about the diets these guys follow to keep fueled and how I have no practical reason to be in a  shape and size similar to these men.

I’ve seen examples of larger athletes who quit then a year or so later are rather svelte and average. They must have been on a massive caloric surplus to keep their size while competing.

Others stop playing and steadily get larger. These were likely keeping at their weight due to burning so many calories while active in their sports.

Life itself is a competition though.

The rules are different and subject to change, but then again this happens in competitions. Seeing as for example how in this competition the weight classes had been changed to cover different ranges resulting in each winning lift setting a new record.

The weight of both the plates and the athletes didn’t change but the perception and judgment of them did. So you can stay the same but when you enter the greater world and participate or actually attempt to compete in it, you will be subject to the judgment of others.

I’ve got challenges to get to healthier weight that is maintainable and conducive to a longer, more active and happy life. I was in a really bad place in the past. I won’t accept returning to that. I am now not only aware of how far I have to go, I actually feel more aware of how my body feels and performs.

Hope ya’ll are doing well.

By the way. leg extension and leg curl machines are cancer lifts. Do not do them unless you are specifically rehabbing something. Body builders do to target body parts, but it damages your joints something fierce.

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women also just flinging those weights around!

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