I recently read a magazine blurb about an actress who shies away from the weight machine area of the gym. “Maybe it’s a mental thing,” she said, “but I think of lifting weights as something for dudes.” Maybe it’s a mental thing? What else could a thought be but a mental thing?
We all say things that on closer examination don’t make much sense, and it is not that aspect of this remark that frustrates me. I will probably elaborate on that frustration in a future post, but another thing this quotation does is give me a nice lead-in to the purpose of this blog. Exercise is obviously a physical endeavor, but there are so many ways in which it can be a mental endeavor as well. I have been lifting weights (and putting them back down) regularly for almost eight years, and in that time I have thought a great deal about weightlifting and other forms of exercise—what they require of you, how they change you, how they relate to other aspects of our lives, and so on.
There are hundreds of fitness blogs that focus on which exercises to do, how to do them, the right nutrition for building muscle, and related subjects. What I want to do with this blog is share my thoughts on the intellectual side of fitness, particularly weightlifting.
▪ What influence can the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius have on one’s attitude toward exercise?
▪ Can weight machines illustrate for mechanically doltish people like me how simple machines work, and maybe get that information to stick in the brain for once?
▪ How might euphemisms make grueling exercises more palatable?
These are the sorts of ideas I will explore.
It’s not that I’ll never explain how to do a particular exercise, for example, but there are plenty of people more qualified than me to blog more strictly in that vein. I may not be the only person qualified to write a blog that I’ve been telling people will be “fitness with an academic and intellectual twist,” but I think I will be good at it, and if you care about both brains and brawn, I think you will enjoy following the Little Mouse.