This morning, in order to keep the theme of our newsletters (“How I Got Huge from Reading Strange Books”), we’ll get to know one of my countrymen, Friedrich Nietzsche and his views on being superhuman. Sounds reasonable since we are all striving for superhuman bodies, yes?

Let us start with a couple facts (and a cup of coffee, now’s your chance!).

First, good old Friedrich was anything but a superhuman. He was, in fact, very ill for most of his life and spent long stretches of his adult life in a sanatorium in Switzerland.

Second, when Nietzsche talked about being superhuman, he was not referring to a 240lbs. monster (surprise!). He was actually talking about someone who creates their own values and soars above Christian theology, which Nietzsche viewed as a chain on people’s lives. Nietzsche is also known for his quotes “God is dead.” And “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

One should know that Nietzsche wrote most of his works in aphorisms so it is rather easy to pick and choose (A fact that came in handy during the time of the Third Reich since the misquoting by the Nazi leadership consisted of mostly intellectual failures). This part of unhappy history aside, what does all this have to do with bodybuilding? Two things stand out to me.

1. Stop trying to be superhuman. It will be the source of great unhappiness in your life. Being just human is okay (and often great); trust me. If you are not humble, life will humble you.

2. The phrase “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” is utterly idiotic. Yes, you heard me. I am German and in my mind, it brought more harm over my beloved country than anything else, so I get to say it. In our field, it stands for pointless suffering through idiotic diets and/or training, which often come with injuries. It’s simple: stop before it’s too late.

Bottom line: if you believe that bigger muscles (or more money for that matter) is the sole source of happiness, you’ll end up like Friedrich: ill, depressed, and with an evil sister. Muscles are a part of our identity, but only a part.

Until next time,
Maik Wiedenbach