We can end up doing things that look good, feel good, or make a splash
while ignoring the support system behind each of those choices.
My trainer, Charles, recently introduced me to a new (for me) exercise in the gym. The Multi-Hip Extension machine allows me to focus on important muscles that help support posture, lower back, stability, tone, and leg strength. I now do 200 reps four or five times per week. I have noticed increased flexibility and improved strength.
Charles reminded me that these exercises do not work muscles that we normally see—or at the very least, they are not what he termed “show muscles.”
“Show muscles” typically get a lot of emphasis in the gym. Biceps and pectorals come to mind. These are what others will see when a tank top is worn for emphasis and, well, show. Same for quads or well-defined calves. When developed they “show” well in shorts, skirts, or high heels. Nothing particularly wrong with that,
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic @FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Often,though, the “support muscles” do not get enough attention. And if you ignore the “support muscles” long enough it will become difficult for the “show muscles” to continue to show off! As I understand the concept, a strong and well-developed bicep will do better (be healthier/stronger/toned so to speak) with attention paid to the opposing triceps. Pecs benefit from strong back muscle groups. Quads get help from healthy hamstrings.
And there are a host of smaller and deeper muscles that further help the “show muscles” prosper. I think of the rotator cuff muscles I have had repaired in both shoulders. These are critical to my movement and fitness even though I don’t necessarily see such muscles.
As I thought more and more about this label of “show muscles” I thought of applicability in so many other parts of our lives. We can end up doing things that look good, feel good, or make a splash while ignoring the support system behind each of those choices. At some point, we have to pay the piper. Consider a few examples:
1. A few days ago, I washed my car and put the type of spray protection on the tires that make them shine. The vehicle looked great for an impending road trip. This was the “show muscle.” The next day, when I started the car I noticed a slight hesitation. It was, I thought, a warning of a weakening battery (the “support muscle”). An hour later I had the results of a diagnostic test that showed the batter was OK—and while it could last 6 months, it may die in a few days. I decided to beef up my “support muscle”—bought a new battery. Better, I thought, for my car to look good and be moving on my trip than to look good and broken down on the side of the road.
2. How about the “show muscle” of expensive clothes, jewelry and other consumer items? Is the “support muscle” of wealth building (the disciplined, unseen and sacrificial offerings made for savings and retirement) getting attention?
3. Houses can have “show muscles.” Great curb appeal. People ooh and ah as they drive by. Unfortunately, the “support muscles” of regular maintenance—regular caulking, painting, and wood repair that might not be very sexy—may not get as much attention as the “show muscles.” Who really notices that? No one does, until critters and moisture start undermining the structure and appearance (the “show muscles”) of the house.
4. The person who sacrifices mightily to climb the promotional ladder at work may be going for the “show muscle”—the title, prestige, power and/or money. In the meantime, what toll taken has been exacted on the “support muscles” of relationships and personal well-being? Is he or she even aware of the physical and emotional impact? As Charles, my trainer, reminded my listeners on a recent podcast, “How do you walk around in something you were born with and not know anything about it or not be aware of what affects it?”
Video recommendation of the week: This week’s spotlight turns to one of my podcast episodes about fitness and discipline.
6. Turn on your PC or open your tablet and all sorts of “show muscles” appear right there on the home screen. We dig in and start using all of these great conveniences. But what happens when we receive a notice to update our anti-virus program or install the latest OS? We tend to ignore these “support muscles” until a more convenient time or wait until the computer shuts down on its own. (Yep, I’m guilty.)
7. My blog posts, podcasts, live events, and writing projects can fall into the category of “show muscle.” Nothing wrong with being proud and continuing to make a difference in lives. That is great! However, I need to pause and think of all the “support muscles” that allow me to show my stuff. A short list of “support muscle” gratitude looks like this:
· the computer tech who designed and put my computer together
· the IT people who help me at every live stage event
· the people who take the time to reach out and engage me to come to their campus or corporation
· the people in production who made my books look good (“show muscle”!) on the bookshelves
· the marketing and sales reps who sell my books
· my colleagues who inspire me
· my wife who inspires me more than all others, and
· my car that recently got me to Raleigh, N.C. for a speaking engagement this week…see #1 above.
And I can go on and on with the metaphor. You can think of even more. Your Call-to-Action for this week is to give thanks for and be proud of those “show muscles.” Then make sure your “support muscles” get their due consideration. Those “support muscles,” after all, keep those “show muscles” strutting their stuff!
Make it an inspiring week as you pursue your authentic “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.
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My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.
(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.