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Better to Burn Out Than to Fade Away

| By: Dr Robert Stevens

We’ve been trawling through pictures on Shutterstock for eye-catching images for our latest Facebook advert.  Most of mine get vetoed by Lydia for being too ‘Rob’, whatever that means?  I think she believes I have a particular, perhaps eccentric taste, that might not appeal to the average Joe.  I’m hoping that’s true, not because I have a dislike of the average man, but more because I’d absolutely hate to be described as average in any shape, size or form.  Obviously, for marketing purposes, the pictures need to stand out, be relevant and perhaps even aspirational.

I’m ashamedly enjoying this part of the business, unfortunately marketing is a necessary evil in this day and age and it seems that social media is the platform to do it.  As a generality I’m with Bill Hicks on marketing, “There’s no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan’s little helpers”.  I’m playing of course, it’s entirely dependent on what you are marketing and why.  If you’re marketing Coke or a similar poison, then you really are Satan’s little helper.  Here at The Men’s Health Clinic our aims and objectives are hopefully crystal clear, we have made every effort to be transparent in our business so that you are fully informed and confident in the decisions you make about your health.

So, is it really better to burn out than to fade away?  Here at the Men’s Health Clinic we want to give you the foundations necessary to have both quality and quantity of life, we don’t want you burning out too soon!  I love the Cus D’Amato quote about a young Mike Tyson…

“A boy comes to me with a spark of interest, I feed the spark and it becomes a flame. I feed the flame and it becomes a fire. I feed the fire and it becomes a roaring blaze.”

It’s not healthy dwelling on past mistakes, you just need to make sure you’ve learned from them before it’s too late.  Perhaps not make them in the first place, but what’s done is done, you have to keep moving forward.

There is no magic pill.  Sure testosterone is an anabolic hormone so you could conceive that that could be the key to men’s health.  Testosterone will only allow you to achieve your genetic potential if you have all the other cornerstones of health in check.  It isn’t an overnight fix, but aren’t the best things in life earned?  That being said, optimising your testosterone will hopefully provide you with the motivation and drive to address these aspects, something that is often lacking in men with Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome.

Who wants to be normal?  When people said to Arnold Schwarzenegger “we never want to look like you”, he replied by saying “don’t worry, you never will”.  He’s one of my all-time heroes.  He has made his dreams a reality.  He dared to be different and he has reaped the rewards from his hard work, determination and perseverance.  He knew what he wanted and, despite the many obstacles in the road, no one was going to interfere with the journey he chose.  He has six rules of success that I try to adhere to:-

  • Trust yourself
  • Break the Rules
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
  • Don’t Listen to the Naysayers
  • Work Your Butt Off
  • Give Back

You need a healthy mind and body to achieve your goals.  Your body is pretty resilient, but there comes a point when it won’t work for you and may even start to work against you.  Here at The Men’s Health Clinic we want to help you restore your original self.

So, I’ve ignored the veto and bought the picture.  I showed it to my friend who said it’s not so much men’s health, but more fiery death!  I’m so fed up of seeing adverts portraying happy images and smiling faces, they can be so monotonous.  Perhaps it’s my age, the targeted advertising on my Facebook page is telling me I need to be happier and healthier as well.  Being a hellraiser can be aspirational.  Daring to be different isn’t boring.

I’m always talking about balance when it comes to health, the body’s pathophysiological mechanisms depend on it to function.  The body responds to deficiencies and there are are complex negative feedback mechanisms that prevent excess.  Each contracting muscle needs an antagonistic muscle, for every concentric movement there needs to be an eccentric one.  We are bombarded by the idea that inflammation is bad, yet you need an inflammatory response to combat things such as infection.  The complexity of the human body is incredible, but it’s all to ensure that balance is achieved.

Balance does not need to be boring mind.  I’m sure we’ve all made a lot of mistakes in the past.  I know I have, but I’ve learned from them and come out a stronger better person and they’ve made me the man I am today.  I’ve made dietary mistakes in that I’ve tried to out-exercise a bad diet.  I’ve injured myself countless times in the gym, I’ve had a prolapsed disc from deadlifting without a belt and ignoring the pain, I’ve knackered my shoulders more times than I care to remember through ‘ego-lifting’ and I’m currently nursing a tendinopathy in my right forearm and a tight piriformis.  Last but not least, I’ve burned the candle at both ends, I was part of the rave generation, I had white gloves and was part of the whistle crew!

A healthy mind and body helps you cope with anything this world throws at you, and allows you to take that step into the unknown with a modicum of confidence that may well be the difference between success and failure.  How often have you heard the phrase “well at least you tried your best”, but weren’t really convinced you had?

It has often been said that a life without risk is no life at all, you have to seize life by the balls, no pun intended.  If something is handed to you on a plate, you don’t have the same appreciation for it.  If you want something, work your butt off for it.  The sense of achievement in accomplishing the task is priceless in my opinion.  You really don’t want to lay on your deathbed and utter the words “I wish I’d…”.

“Sometimes you gotta say “What the f***”, make your move… every now and then, saying what the f*** brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future.” – Risky Business.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  For some of us though, it comes a little too late.  As a junior doctor I used to frown at the cancer patients sucking on their smokes outside the Oncology hospital, but my perspective has changed now I am a little older and a little wiser.  Perhaps the inevitability of what will be isn’t worth the pain of removing something that gives them pleasure?  Living a life with regret is a fruitless endeavour.  We are all human, we are all fallible, we’ve all made mistakes and as far as I’m concerned, as long as you aren’t hurting yourself, anyone or anything else, it’s your journey so do what you want with it.

Life is a journey not a destination.  Appreciate every moment, good and bad, for they make you you.  The Men’s Health Clinic is here to support you in making positive steps to improve your health, it is a judgement free zone.  When you’ve made the decision to change, hopefully it’s good to know that someone is here to help you.

“Everything will be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” – John Lennon

Dr. Robert Stevens MBChB MRCGP Dip.FIPT