(Guest post by Robert Jacobs) I’m getting re-Maui’d in 87 days.

I’m still at this reshaping thing. It’s been three years now and I’ve passed the point of just getting in and staying in shape. I’ve worked hard – and it is work – HARD work. I’ve been pushed and I’ve pushed myself; fought through a lot of doubt, discomfort, and even pain.

So now what? I look and feel far younger than I am. My family and friends notice. My students notice. The twenty-somethings on the StairMaster next to me evennoticed. They were shocked when I told them my age. Just this morning, my doctor told me I was in such good shape, I don’t need the cholesterol meds anymore.

While that’s all very nice, what now? Although I’m in pretty darn good shape (not just for my age), I still don’t have the six-pack abs. I still don’t look like the guys on the commercials. Is that the goal? Was that ever the goal? Who am I trying to impress? Family? Friends?

“Iron” can be a little intimidating without the proper lens. The ELH (extremely large humans) factor in this place runs pretty high. You’ve gotten to the point where you look and feel good; feeling like you’ve accomplished something, and then look over at the bench next you where Steve Kuclo is benching four times what you’re doing – AS A WARM-UP. That’ll put you in your place. Then again, what did I expect?

The place is called “Extreme Iron Pro Gym”. But that’s the point – “my place”. I’m there to make myself better. I’m not there to compete with the Kuclos. Those guys (and gals) are half my age, and they’ve been at this muscle thing for a long time. I have a different story. It doesn’t matter what anyone else in the place is doing. It only matters what I’m doing; how hard, how well, how much more.

The fact is, it’s easy to lose perspective. When you’re surrounded by so-called “muscleheads”, it can either be deflating or motivating. It’s kind of a bubble – everyone has a similar look and purpose. The majority who remain outside remain woefully out of shape.

And for the record, the “muscleheads” I’ve met have been very helpful and welcomed me into “their” world. They’ve put a lot of time into their bodies. They know their art, craft, and business. It would be easy for some of these ELHs to look down on the average guy across the gym just trying to lose some weight. “One of these things is not like the others.” But the culture breeds a mutual respect; for the process and the work ethic.

Then there was that moment after I struggled to get the last few reps and Steve looked over and gave his nod of approval. On to the next set!

Fifties and fit. The journey continues…

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