#ABookAWeek: Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder by Samuel Wilson Fussell
Reading is a key component of learning. I do my best to read a book each week. And I'm always looking for new titles! To share your own book suggestions, use #ABookAWeek on Twitter or Instagram and tag me @NicolasCole77. If I choose your book, I'll tag you in the blog post!
This is a book I have been wanting to suggest here in my #ABookAWeek series for a long time now. And since I'm in the middle of reading something much longer and is taking me more than a week to finish (I will reveal next week), I figured now would be the perfect time to share one of my favorite memoirs of all time: Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder by Samuel Wilson Fussell.
When my dad was much younger and first got interested in lifting weights, it was his dad that had given him this book. And in a similar fashion, when I was nineteen years old and started training more seriously in the gym, my dad passed down the book to me. It was tattered and some of the pages were falling out, but as soon as I read the first chapter I was hooked. Fussell refers to this as "catching the disease" of bodybuilding. Once you're hooked, you're hooked.
It was actually my dad that inspired a lot of my own fitness goals. Even as a busy doctor he would still get up every morning at 5:30am, go downstairs, smash a bowl of oatmeal and then hit the weights in the workout area we had in our basement. For as long as I can remember, my dad never strayed from his lifting schedule, always finding a way to get in a workout no matter how tired or how grueling his career. And as kids, we would hang from his arms and he would flex his biceps and we would be lifted off the ground.
Muscle, Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder is actually what inspired a lot of my memoir writing—specifically around health and fitness. It is the story of how a scrawny literature student turned competitive bodybuilder, and all the madness that ensued with that transformation. For those of you that know my story, I resonated quite a bit with Fussell's journey, and even more so was enthralled with his ability to share it in the form of a memoir.
To anyone that trains in the gym, or is even interested in the elusive world of bodybuilding, I suggest this book. It's entertaining. It's informative. It's filled with awkward humor and striking truths. But above all, it is honest. You can tell that the boy who changed his exterior to that of a roman God was all-too-aware of his own transformation. It's this level of depth and insight into topics like body image, perfectionism, and exterior protection from society's judgments that makes it a great read.
In other news:
In two weeks I will be heading to New York for Quora's 2015 Top Writer conference. Super excited to meet all the other Top Writers, take some pictures, and do a recap here on the blog for everyone.
If you haven't already, I share a lot of different types of writing on Quora. You can check it out here.
Want to join the #ABookAWeek club? Submit below! Every Sunday I give you a new book to read.