In 1995, a future World’s Strongest Man winner, Sweden’s Magnus Samuelsson, made his debut in the contest.
The event was arm-wrestling, and the athletes were going head to head.
Magnus’ opponent was the largest man in the lineup, the six foot ten Australian, Nathan Jones.
They called him Mega Man.
(If you remember the opening scene of Troy, he played Boagrius, the giant who steps out to challenge Brad Pitt’s Achilles.)
Mega Man was a bit like the character he played in the movie. He was mean. Often angry. And had clear intentions to steamroll anyone in his way. At six foot five with a thin build, the Swede was considerably smaller. But Magnus was no slouch. He was a former arm-wrestling champion.
They clasp hands. The referee signals start. You can see the look of determination on Mega Man’s face as he throws his might into flattening Magnus’ hand against the table. But Magnus is stronger than expected – and a much more experienced arm-wrestler. He holds steady as Mega Man grunts and puffs.
Soon, Magnus has him in what arm-wrestlers call the *arm-break position*.
When the moment is right, he pounces.
Shifting his weight, he allows the full force of his well-practiced arm to plow through his adversary.
In a final, all-out effort to resist, Mega Man uses his own strength to induce a spiral fracture in his arm, snapping his oversized humerus like a twig. The bone is dust. He reels backward, aghast, and screams in shock as his arm hangs at an impossible angle.
Needless to say, that was the end of his campaign.
And it was the beginning of Magnus’ legend.
(I should point out that everyone was horrified by the terrible injury – Magnus most of all. It was also the last time arm-wrestling was contested in World’s Strongest Man.)
Why do I share this story?
Think of it as a cautionary tale.
A common mistake – one with fitpocalyptic consequences – is trying to do too much, too soon.
I see it all the time. January rolls around and weary holiday over-eaters attempt a one-eighty by cutting out their favorite foods, and pounding the treadmill with gusto, four or five days a week. By February, 90% are injured, burned out, or discouraged because life ain’t fun no mo’, and they’ve managed to lose a grand total of three pounds.
Just look around your gym Feb 1, and behold the wasteland that once was a thriving fitocracy.
Most people are allowing themselves to get caught in a deadly arm-break pose.
They’re leveraging their own enthusiasm to destroy their efforts.
So don’t be the giant…
Be the giant-killer.
Acknowledge that results take time, conserve your energy, and your path to victory will soon become clear.
For help with how to do this in stages, call (416) 826-4844 for your personal training consultation.
Until then, stretch yourself…but not too thin.
Heed my words, young Skywalker, lest you suffer the same fate as Mega Man.