No Time For Excuses

Words: Kerry DULIN

When you bump into people who coin excuses, at the ‘drop of a sinew,’ don’t let their pretences rub off on you. Brush the dust off your feet and hit the gym, right away.

I have been playing the iron game for more years than some of you have been alive. I can’t wait to tell you how many people I have seen come and go, some of them for ‘legitimate’ reasons. This is okay. But, it’s the lame, wimpy ‘poor me’ excuses that I get tired of hearing. “I hurt my shoulder,” “I pulled a muscle in my back,” or “I sprained my ankle.” I’m sorry, but I just don’t have any sympathy for them. These are the same people I will see a few years from now claiming that they would have been competitive bodybuilders if only they hadn’t met with such misfortunes. When you encounter such people don’t let their excuses rub off on you. Brush the dust off your feet and hit the gym immediately.

What You Want Do. What You Can 

If your shoulder hurts and you can’t bench, find another movement that works the same muscle group that doesn’t hurt [or, at least doesn’t hurt as much]. There are several variations of the press that you will most likely find an acceptable alternative. It can be depressing, but it’s better than sitting at home on the couch watching what other people are doing.

Squats are probably the biggest ‘obstacle’ here. Some people avoid the squat rack like it’s going to give them a disease. “I’d squat, but I hurt my back in a freak train accident two years ago.” Well, then, do hack squats or leg presses, or leg extensions. Do something.

Don’t be stupid. A good lifter is an educated lifter. Know the source of your pain. See a qualified fitness professional who understands and respects your lifestyle. There are too many out-of-shape doctors who are far too quick to say that if it hurts to lift; don’t lift. A good sports doctor will understand your drive and ambition and work with you.

Get it corrected. If your problem is correctable, it may only mean time off for recovery, but it’s far better than an immobile joint, or worse.

Find an alternative exercise that works. I have dealt with chronic elbow inflammation for years. Some days I simply can’t curl or do wide grip lat pulls. It sucks, but I follow it up with enough pull-ups to make an Olympic gymnast proud. Pull-ups ‘hit’ the back and biceps at the same time. As a result, my biceps will still beat the majority of people out there. I also vary the grip from narrow [to focus on the biceps] to wide [to bring in the lats].

Understand to relate. If you understand and relate to what I am saying, take a break. You are an extremist [as am I] and may just be overtraining. Muscle growth occurs during the recovery process and the word, recovery, implies some well-earned relaxation. Your pain may simply be due to not getting enough recovery time.

If this is the case, you may find that by increasing the number of days before you work on the same muscle group, you will not only reduce the amount of pain that you experience, but your strength and growth will improve as well.

The bottom line is that we all have excuses for not doing something. As I sit here writing this piece I feel pain in my left elbow and lower back. But, it’s mine; I earned it. Nobody kicks my ass like I do. Well, after the final word is written, I’m going to take a couple of deep breaths and hit the gym. Again.

See ya there.

KERRY DULIN, a world-renowned fitness guru, first got into professional bodybuilding at age 40. He won his first bodybuilding competition at 41. Now 62, with a physique that would put someone half his age to shame, Dulin has what he calls ‘a manageable programme,’ 12+ top trophies to show for his fitness endeavours and a brace of health and fitness websites. He lives in the US [This article is published by special permission from the author. ©Kerry Dulin].

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