I read a great article on EliteFTS the other day which you can find here… A Case for Bullying . I strongly advise you read it as it really struck a chord with me, although judging by the comments section some readers REALLY missed the point of the article. Anyways, it inspired my post for this week not really because I was bullied but because of what weight training and powerlifting has done for me and what I feel it can do for younger kids and adults alike. Throughout the entire time I was in school I always had a good bit of friends, I was never the kid who felt so pushed away by other people they had to go eat their lunch in the bathroom (although I can empathize with those kids). However, in elementary school I was a short fat kid who’s nickname amongst friends was Louie because I looked EXACTLY like the kid from the cartoon show Life with Louie. Again at no point were people outwardly mean to me about it but I was still really self-conscious about the way I looked.
Onto middle school, once I was here I had lost the fat but gained a crazy amount of acne…. It was gross. Again, I had a good bit of friends and no one really outwardly made fun of me about it (maybe it was my short temper who knows) but again I was really self-conscious about it.
Onto high school, now I’ve lost the fat, lost the acne, and started doing pull-ups, pushups, and bodyweight squats until it burned. Only problem was I never really hit that growth spurt I was looking for. I was standing at a whopping 5’7” on a good day (which I still am today). Again, nothing that I was teased about but I was really self-conscious about being relatively shorter than a lot of the people I hung out with.
My point is not for you to feel bad for me because I don’t want you too that would be ridiculous. My point is that all kids or adults no matter what circle of life they come from can feel bad about themselves or that they’ll never measure up to other people. However, there has to be an outlet for these kids to make them feel better about themselves and be able to gain self-confidence and a way for them to be able to say “I honestly don’t care what you think about me”. I feel like a lot of parents first instinct is sports which is great and works a great deal of the time. It gives them an outlet for their aggression, makes them feel part of a team, and teaches them that some days you lose and some days you win. What about the other kids? The other kids who end up not making the team and ultimately feel even more isolated. THEY NEED TO WEIGHT TRAIN!
When I got to college I read Arnold, the Education of a Bodybuilder and there it was the epiphany I was looking for my whole life. I read that book cover to cover in two days, I wrote down what he ate and how he trained and I did it. Somewhere along the line my confidence went through the roof, I got bigger and stronger and for the first time in my life I was able to truly not care what other people thought of me. The only thing I cared about was how to get bigger and stronger. I was no longer concerned with the people who didn’t matter in my life and their opinions of my clothes, hair, personality, job, etc.
Why did weight training work so well for me in that respect? Because unlike most things, weight training gives you tangible results all the time; every month I saw myself becoming bigger and stronger and I loved it. I played basketball my whole life and worked hard it but it was very hard for me to see gains because it was so hard to measure it against things. But, weight training is something I could track each and every week.
I know I’ve kind of rambled a bit but the whole point I’m driving at is more kids should weight train and by kids I’m talking about 10 year olds and up. Please don’t gasp, if you have a problem with 10 year olds weight training; then I have a bone to pick with you at a later date. Are you concerned with your kid’s well-being and self-esteem? For that matter are you concerned with your own well-being and self-esteem? If you are I STRONGLY suggest you start a resistance training program. I promise that you will be better off for it.
Since high school I knew that I wanted to work with kids in some fashion. I had a lot of great coaches and teachers that helped me become a better person. For me the best way to return the favor was by becoming a strength coach and showing kids how to become stronger. Part of my job is to help kids become stronger and better for their sport. Honestly though that is NOT my main priority. My main priority is to help every kid who walks in our doors to feel better about themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally and to truly not care about what someone says about them or thinks about them.
And in case anyone is wondering what i look like now...