Stay Hungry, Keep Lean… …
Many years ago, in the mid-sixties, I had a friend who was an extreme trainer. He was into Body Building and was very ambitious.
I was more moderate in my approach; using hard training only to reach a target, perform some event, prepare for some project. To me, training and fitness were components that contributed to making more of my efforts and of my life. That’s still the case.
My friend Dave, though, was in deadly earnest when he declared that he wanted to be a National Champion. And a few years later, that’s what he achieved. He had a real hunger.
His life-long daily mantra was, ‘Stay hungry. Keep lean.’After he won the Championship, he established a Fitness Equipment company, and a Food Supplement company, both of which did very well. Though he developed an affluent and successful life, he kept to his motto, ‘Stay hungry. Keep lean.’
He gave talks nationwide and reiterated his mantra ad infinitum, telling it to any one who’d listen. He was a great role model for followers and they all repeated his saying like the devotees that they were.
One day, I asked him how he’d come to adopt the words, and how they’d come to have such meaning to him, become his philosophy, as it was now to people who looked to him as their teacher.
This is what he told me.
‘Dave, I read somewhere that rats are a part of the staple diet in Eastern Cambodia and Vietnam. To catch rats, farmers placed rice for filling, and nuts for protein, in a wire cage. The hungry skinny rats gained access to the food through a small hole in the wire. They came in, ate the food and ran off to tell their friends about the available food in the cage. Over a short time, because the food was so readily available, and there was such a lot of it, the rats grew, and found it harder to get in and out of the cage.
Then came the day when they squeezed in, but that one meal too much prevented them from getting out. The farmer had a cageful of well-fed, well nourished rats. And he never ran short, as new rats kept telling their friends outside about the quality of the food, and the ease with which they could get at it. So, as one generation of visitors disappeared to the dining tables, another was populating the feeding ground and replacing them.
The rats had found an easy and ready source of good food and they soon forgot how to hunt, forage, chase and kill. They got used to the easy option and the soft living. And that’s what killed them, Dave.’
That was what Dave told me when I asked him how he came to live by the mantra, ‘Stay hungry. Keep lean.’