This story was adapted from Berry’s ebook, the DeMey88 Method.
I was just a kid, and I was hiking with my father and brother through the
Dutch pastures. My father often took long walks, and this time he took my
brother and me along.
That day would be one of the most important in my life, but when my father
almost stumbled I did not know that yet.
‘What’s this?’ my father asked.
In the grass lay a piece of old iron, and my father bent over to investigate.
It was a weight. One of those weights with which power athletes used to train
in the early twentieth century.
‘How did that end up here?’ my father mumbled.
‘I don’t know,’ I said, as if I should have.
My father dragged the thing out of the mud, wiped it clean as good as he
could and took it.
‘We’ll take it home,’ he said. ‘Let’s get to the car.’
I will never forget this walk back through the fields. It was a warm day and
soon the first beads of sweat appeared on my father’s forehead. After a few
hundred meters his clothes were soaking and with every step he took, the
weight seemed to get a little bit heavier.
‘Why don’t we leave that weight behind?’ I asked. ‘It’s still an hour’s walk.’ But my father did not reply.
‘Can’t I help?’ I then asked.
But I could not. I saw, in maybe the longest hour of my life, how this iron
monster cost my father more and more of his strength with every step he
took. His arms started to ache, then his back and shoulders, then his legs.
‘Isn’t it too heavy?’ I asked worriedly.
‘Nah,’ my father breathed heavily. ‘I’ll just do this.’
I kept quiet for the rest of the walk. And he was right. He just did it. We reached the car with the weight.
We got home, where my mother received us shaking her head. ‘Do you see
how you look like?!’ Was all she said to my father. ‘Horrible.’
The weight ended up in our garage. I was already experimenting with strength
training at that time and tried to use it in my workouts. I tried to do biceps
curls, to lift it over my head. It was too heavy. I could not. I realized I lacked
strength, that I needed to build that up first. So I did my push-ups and chin-ups with even more fervor. The weight challenged me. Almost every day I
picked it up and tried to curl it or lift it over my head. And it took me a while,
but I managed in the end.
When you start weight training, you will find that many people are averse to
it. They find it useless.
‘What’s the point in carrying heavy weights around?’ They will ask, in a manner that shows you there is no use answering them. ‘None, right?’
To those people bodybuilding, weight lifting or fitness is as
useless as dragging along an awfully heavy weight that you found
somewhere in a field.
At first sight, when you look no further than the end of your nose, these
people are right. Weight training gets you nowhere. You are not building a
house. You are not fixing a car. You are not laying out a garden. You are
working, but not producing. Nothing is happening. There is no goal.
At least, that’s what it looks like. But take a closer look, and you will see
that weight training certainly does create something: a different you. Weight
training makes you a stronger person. More muscular, powerful and healthier. No one who has experienced what weight training can do for you will say that strength training leads nowhere.
Myself, I started training as a fourteen year old because I wanted to join the
army. I wanted to join the Commandos, the green berets. I was too young,
but I could start training. And so I did. I started running. Running on tarmac
was too easy. I found no challenge in it. I’d rather ran through the soggy fields
around the village where I lived.
Sometimes I carried a backpack, filled with crap-metal, to make it harder.
I did pull-ups on trees, sit-ups and trained with improvised weights in the
garage. First with construction waste such as stones and pieces of concrete
and once my father found the old weight in the pasture, I trained with that.
I noticed myself getting stronger. My body reacted, I started to gain muscles
and lose fat. Around my waist, my jeans got looser, but with my shirts the
reverse happened. My shoulders and arms got bigger. This transformation
intrigued me, and the more distinct this transformation became, the more
enthusiastic I went about my training. That way I discovered what hundreds
of thousands of men and women had discovered before me. Muscles grow
when you work them. It is that simple.
Medical researchers always used to think that muscles were just suitable for
work and strictly speaking not really necessary for one’s health. Now the
insights have changed. Muscles use energy, even when they are not active.
They absorb glucose and fatty acids from the bloodstream and burn them,
just to stay alive. The more muscle mass you have, the more fatty acids and
glucose can be taken up from your bloodstream. And that is good,
especially when your intake of kilocalories is higher than you need.
Once you have passed thirty and don’t do heavy physical work or sports, you lose some muscle mass each year. Between forty and seventy you could lose 40 percent of your muscle mass. Diabetes, brain diseases, cancer and many more chronic diseases that occur, once people get older, are connected to that loss of muscle mass. Strength training can delay, halt or even reverse this loss of muscle mass.
Weight training useless? I don’t think so.Berry DeMey
Interested in learning more from this bodybuilding legend? Visit www.demey88.com for online coaching!