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  • Writer's pictureCraig Lapsley

What can Bob Marley teach you about building muscle?

When most people think of Bob Marley they picture a dreadlocked Rasta, with a guitar in one hand, and a spliff in the other. They don’t think of someone that could move them forward in achieving their training goals. However, there is much to be learned from the man and his music, and in this blog I will give you just one of those lessons.

So, if you don’t know already, I am a huge Bob Marley fan. I have loved his music since I was a kid and my bedroom was a bit of shrine to the ‘tuff gong’.

I still listen to his work regularly as the messages in many of his songs are timeless. I have learned many a life lesson and, I would like to think, gained some wisdom from taking some time to sit back, relax and absorb what Bob had to say.

One of my favourite songs is ‘Small Axe’, one of ‘the Wailers’ (as they were known then) earlier songs. It was recorded for Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry in 1971 but later appeared on the ‘the Wailers’ 1973 album ‘Burnin’.

In it Bob describes himself as the small axe ready to cut down the big tree.

Like many of Bob’s songs it works on many levels. It can be applied to many political situations in Jamaica and around the world both past and present, painting an image of the people taking down the oppressor. In this case, the song is also an attack on the big three (t’ree) record labels in Jamaica at the time. They controlled all musical production in the country and Bob had to battle against them to get himself heard.

For me though the song takes on the meaning of achieving any goal in life.

Whether it is gaining 10kg of muscle, getting down to single digit body fat, starting a business or even building a new habit such as getting more sleep.

The big tree is your goal and at first it can seem daunting to take on. If you only think of the end toppling it begins to look impossible.

However, armed with your plan of action and step-by-step process (your ‘small axe’) you start your journey and everyday you hack away at that tree.

Your plan may not be perfect but you adjust it as you go along. Just as you would sharpen your axe, everyday you learn and improve.

Give it time and that tree will topple.

The key is to never give up. Everyday you work at the process of self-improvement.

So make a plan, sharpen your axe and start hacking away.

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