Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Jock and the Nerd: Part 2: Fitness and Philosophy

Today I want to "ramble on" about the growth of 'philosophers' concerned with fitness (sort of), and also the growth of 'fitness pro's" concerned with philosophy (sort of).  When I started this blog The Fitness Philosopher (before the inevitable online copycats) back in 2011 it was kinda of a joke because a few friends referred to me as the 'fitness philosopher' which grew out of my study and writing in 'the philosophy of the body' which is related to 'philosophical anthropology' which is a special area of philosophy not found in many philosophical academic departments in NA. I have been in the fitness biz since the mid 90's and BA degrees in Philosophy and Psychology and a MA in Philosophy and now am finishing a PhD in Philosophy.

 SO while being a fitness pro and a philosophy student I noticed that most philosophers I went to school with or studied under, had either ascetic lifestyles (read alone a lot, information geeks) or hedonistic lifestyles (smoke, drink, drugs, argue a lot) but not really balanced and fit lifestyles. This was in direct opposition to my philosophical heros such as Aristotle-who ran a gym/school/sweet plot of land called the Lyceum. In fact gymnastics is the 'first' form of education for the Greeks before drawing, reading and music. 
The actual Lyceum grounds! Not as big as I pictured in my head! 

In contrast,  most 'fitness pros' were either just into sports  or into "science" but not philosophy, and what they did know about philosophy came from yoga or Mike Menzter. You see Mike Mentzer (who was a genius on amphetamines or just plain crazy) thought of himself as a 'thinking man' and a 'rationalist'  but really he just was a fan of that pseudo-philosophy of Ayn Rand -which promotes selfishness as a virtue (really it does) and which was the basis of the failed Paul Ryan budget based on cutting off all forms of welfare.  

Just google 'Ayn Rand sucks' for more info on "objectivism"- and so anyway Menzter thought of himself as the 'virtuous hero' compared to to the Machiavellian Schwarzenegger (and I won't get into the 1980 Olympia clusterf*ck now either) but the point is Mike took bodybuilding past plain old marketing (Weider, Arnold, everyone!) and tried to make people think about how to workout. While Bulgarians and a bunch of commies had been doing this for decades -the cold war was still on. So Mike put out some books (again just novel 'fitness products') with titles like Heavy Duty 2: Mind and Body. So Mike became the 'thinking mans' bodybuilder but did not really fill their minds with good philosophy. 

Part 3 -coming 'sometime after now'


  1. Great Job cutler,

    I just started going back the 3 will be tomorrow, I really the combo of your two interests, the body and the soul/mind. Maybe in the near future we could get together for a coffee and you could help me out with a few pointers and we can talk some philosophy at the same time.



  2. Hey Owen -glad you liked it! Please come over some time and we can 'jump around' my little 'gymnasia' and discuss this stuff!


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