Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Alchemy of Strength Training

Alchemy is a form of science that has been practiced for hundreds of years.  Alchemy is the root of chemistry and several other sciences.  The point of alchemy was to convert lead to gold or to find the elixir that would prolong one's life.  The alchemist dedicated his life to find the philosopher's stone, that which would change the lead or create the elixir.  The search for the philosopher's stone in alchemy is called the Opus Magnum, or the "Great Work".  In the life of an athlete the philosopher's stone is training.  Am I saying that training should consume one's life?

No.  Training is the catalyst to help us improve our lives, in essence turn lead to gold or to extend our years of health.  But the "Great Work"?  Is being strong a life's goal that is worth leaving all other things to the way side?  Training is the philosopher's stone of an athlete and the Opus Magnum is strength, then what is it all for?

I can answer this personally.  I train hard.  Why?  Just to be admired?  Not really.  Let me explain my Opus Magnum.  I am a father.  Being strong for my family is important to me.  Knowing that I can defend my family, that I can use my strength to save them in an emergency, and that I will live a long and healthly life is my "Great Work".  I need strength for my job as a Juvenile Corrections Officer to ensure that I make it home after each day unharmed and with enough energy to finish my day with my wife and kids.  My co-workers count on me to be strong, so that I may be able to be there for them in an emergency so that they too can go home safe at the end of the day.  I train to find my philosopher's stone that will lead me to my Opus Magnum. 

What is your "Great Work", and what are you doing to find your philosopher's stone.

Alchemy and training.  Who would have thought that the first science would correlate to weight lifting and to those who pursue the life long journey towards strength.

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