by Phil Meggers, SSC Starting Strength
This article is not for you, my friend. Oh, you should read it. You should absolutely read it. But it’s not for you. No, this article is for your mom. This is for your grandpa. It’s for your husband or your wife. It’s for your cousin or your close friend. You, my friend – you train. If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place. This article is for anybody in your life that needs to train but does not.
You know the person I’m talking about. She’s your favorite aunt who “would love to get stronger,” but she hurts too much to train since she has arthritis. He’s your 83-year-old grandpa who has trouble with his balance due to the neuropathy in his feet. He’s your old college buddy who just can’t do as much as he used to because of his bad shoulder.
You need to ask this person a very simple question: Would you rather?
Arthritis is a bad deal, but it’s not going anywhere, so you have to ask your aunt, “Would you rather have arthritis and be weaker, or would you rather have arthritis and be stronger?”
Plantar neuropathy in the feet will wreak havoc on a person’s ability to get around safely, but balance issues improve – often dramatically – when people strength train. So you have to have a conversation with your grandpa, and in the end, you have to ask him, “Would you rather have neuropathy and be weaker, or would you rather have neuropathy and be stronger? You’re going to like being stronger, Grandpa.”
Your college buddy with the bad shoulder? Well, at the very least, he still has three other perfectly good – and trainable – limbs, so you have to ask him, “Would you rather have a bum shoulder and be weaker, or would you rather have a bum shoulder and be stronger?” With the guidance of a Starting Strength Coach, I bet you he’ll be able to train that shoulder as well, but he won’t believe you on that just yet, and that’s OK. Give him time, and get him thinking.
“Would you rather?” It’s a simple question, but it’s a powerful question. It’s powerful because these people have never asked themselves, “Would I rather be weaker or stronger?” And because they’ve never asked themselves that question, they don’t know that those are the only options. Weaker or stronger? But you know. You train. You chose stronger, and you’ve become stronger. You know that a life lived stronger is a life lived better.
You don’t need to convince these people. You just need to ask them. “Would you rather have X and be weaker, or would you rather have X and be stronger?” Put the ball in their court, and you might find this question to be pretty compelling.