I don't use The Shake Weight, but I have been a gym rat for nearly forty years. I started lifting weights in the basement when I was thirteen years old . . . and I've never quit. And, outside of a few missed workouts due to flu, cold, or fatigue, I've never missed a regular workout in as many years. Working out and writing are the two things I've done consistently since I was thirteen.
As I was approaching my fortieth birthday (ten years ago) I set a goal of competing in a bodybuilding competition. In four months I trained down from 240 pounds (I was BIG and STRONG) to 200 pounds (I was RIPPED and WEAK). My wife didn't think I could do it, but I did step on stage at the age of forty and strut around in a G-string in front of 700 people. The best shape of my life. I earned last place.
I wrote about these experiences ten years ago in an essay I entitled, "No Gut, No Glory". The piece began:
"Picture a guy just turned forty years of age, a guy who's been working out in the gym for two decades--straining under tons of black weight, force-feeding his body with creatine, vitamins, and massive containers of protein supplement--a guy who's built a respectable frame of muscle. That was me."
Now, as I approach fifty (Oct 12) I have set my sights on getting into peak condition again. I've already lost ten pounds, with at least ten more to go, and I'm still in the gym most mornings grunting and straining under weights and finishing up by burning mega calories on the stairmaster. I am tired. I am hungry. But not as tired and as hungry as I'm going to be. Not even close. In fact, it scares me thinking about how much hard work I still have to do and how little food I'm going to ingest.
In my mind, my goal is to compete again (but I'm not going to). I've got two bad knees, a bad back, and a very painful torn rotator cuff (right shoulder) that I must lift around. I often wake in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. I need surgery, but I'm not going under the knife. Not yet. I've got a goal to reach first before a doctor starts cutting. And I'm not so sure that I can't heal up if I give the shoulder more time. I'm praying for healing.
I'm doing everything as if I'm competing again: the training, the diet, the tanning, and eventually I'll shave my chest, armpits and legs and take photos. I want to see what kind of condition I can attain at the age of fifty . . . and I plan to do it again for my sixtieth year and be even better.
Now that I plan to write again about the experience . . . I have to follow through and do it. No guts, no glory. No pain, no gain.