The tagline for AskMen is “Become a better man.”
So, is that what you’re doing right now? Is that why you’re here? Or are you just killing company time in your cube, surfing the net because you hate your job? Is the only skill you’re building your peripheral vision to make sure the boss isn’t looking over your shoulder right now?
Did I make you look?
OK, it’s time to actually become a better man. Other guys are doing it, so now it’s your turn.
See, it’s never too early to start working on that midlife crisis. Or too late. I don’t care how old you are, but if your life is lacking adventure, then instead of living vicariously through an Indiana Jones movie, go out and actually do something that kicks butt.
Golf doesn’t exactly do that. It doesn’t do much for trimming your waistline either, what with the beer cart and the 19th hole.
It’s time to get Googling and figure out what kind of adventure you’re going to go on. Have it be something that gets your heart rate up for a significant period of time, burns muscles, improves your health, is kind of dangerous, scares you a little, and impresses people when you tell them that you do it.
OK, I realize lots of guys do this, but the fact is that every man should do it. Every women, too. And kids. Everyone.
Are you doing it? It doesn’t have to be the traditional slow-speed dumbbell/barbell kind. You can go for kettlebells (which I also do), Olympic lifting or even hardcore bodyweight stuff. The fact is that resistance training makes you bigger, stronger and hardens your bones and connective tissues against injuries from other sports. I also have it on good authority that women like muscles.
Maybe this doesn’t seem hardcore, but the way I do it is. I’m not talking about a leisurely jog; this is about pushing physical limits. I mentioned in my last article that I trained for a personal best, and it’s painful. And also awesome. So don’t just take up jogging, but register for a race and train for a fast time. And then register for another race and try to get faster still. Repeat
All I’ll add to this is that sometimes my wife hates my bike. She refers to herself as a workout widow when she sees me cramming bottles of water and food into a pannier bag. I come home many hours later smelly, sweaty and bone-tired.
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You want to know the right way to do this? Ditch anyone who isn’t at least as good or better than you. Put the kids in lessons or, better yet, take a day off work and go solo when there are no line-ups. I love saying to hell with responsibilities and heading to the mountains early on a weekday and skiing open to close. Because there are no lines, it’s hardcore all day long -- except for a lunch break (washed down with a pint, of course) -- and by the end of the day, all the muscle fibers in my legs are vaporized.
One tip: If you live within two hours of a ski hill, then sign up for powder alerts. Make a point of checking your email first thing. I have yet to think of a business meeting that trumped a foot of fresh snow. Back when I worked in an office, I used to cancel meetings simply by forwarding the powder report.
I spend three weeks on the coast every summer and practically live in one of these. I take out my single-seater for long explorations of the coastline, and I work hard to paddle circles around every other kayaker I see. Then, when I get back, I jump in the two-seater with my wife or one of the kids, and take them for a tour. Well, they paddle too.
Some Other Ideas
Now let’s list some things I want to do, that you should think about doing, too:
* Martial arts: My wife has an internationally recognized black belt in karate. I should probably learn how to defend myself one day. Krav Maga sounds cool.
* River kayaking
* Complete an Ironman: This is on my bucket list, even though I suck at swimming.
* Rock climbing
* Mountain biking: the kind that’s steep and dangerous.
* Caving: Did I mention that I’m claustrophobic?
Now, I’m not a fan of Nike’s tagline. I don’t think you should just go out there and do it, because I don’t actually want you to die. Doing something exciting with an element of danger doesn’t mean being stupid. I wear a helmet when I cycle and ski, and although I push my limits, I try hard not to hurt myself. If you’re taking up a new sport, make sure you’ve got the right safety gear and proper instruction. After all, you can’t have nearly as many adventures from a wheelchair.
So start searching for your adventure. Get the proper guidance and work on getting good. Don’t just do it, but learn to do it well. Become an expert. Become hardcore. Become what you’re meant to be.
And forget golf. Go climb a mountain instead.