Mental Acuity

The reader will no doubt take notice that the preceding articles have not delved in the technical aspects of lifting weights or any particular form of workouts. It is my contention, and perhaps not shared by many, mental acuity must come first, before any weights are lifted.

The subsequent article hopefully will demonstrate the incident that led me to change my perspective on working out that has shaped my bodybuilding beliefs. 

“If one wants to transform his or her body, begin with training the mind.” 

Yesterday was chest day. The Built by Science Intensification Phase called for four exercises. I knew I could get through the first, second and fourth without a spotter, but the third would not be feasible if I wanted to keep my rotator cuffs intact.  

Fortuitously for me, the gym’s trainer was in between clients and agreed to help by handing me the weights for the dumbbell decline bench press. After completing my last rep, I decided to do a rest-pause set and rested for about 15 seconds. The trainer had gone to attend to one of his clients, and I asked a guy who I had seen working out to assist me. 

“Can you hand me those weights when I get on the bench?”

“You figure I can lift those,” he chuckled. 

He struggled to pick up the 60-pound dumbbells, but managed to put one in each of my hands. He waited patiently while I completed my reps, and took one from me, as I placed the other on the floor. 

“Why don’t you use the Smith Machine?” he asked, pointing in its direction.

“I’m working on isolating each pec.” 

“It would be easier,” he continued. 

“That’s the point,” I said. “I don’t want it to be easier.” 

“I wasn’t thinking of you,” he laughed, “I was thinking of me!”

I realized as I walked away. He had already bargained with the price to be successful. I recalled the easy and relaxed way he pushed on the handles while doing the machine bench press. He had completed his workout and did not break a sweat.

Perhaps he came to the gym to go through the motions and look good, but I had come to annihilate my chest so it could grow. 

I shook my head and vowed, to never ask for his assistance again. God forbid, I developed his mentality. I didn’t want to look good exercising, but push myself to the limit so I could look and feel great when I was out of the gym. 

I knew I was on the right mental track, when my eldest daughter asked me one day . . . 

“Dad, you’re not hanging out in the gym?”

“I don’t go to the gym to hang out,” I snapped, “but to kick A$$, and preferably my own!”



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