Can Lifting Weights Help you Learn Languages – Was Rizal a Muscle-Buff Polyglot?

I love language learning. If I would pick a second favorite activity besides lifting weights (outside of the pleasures of the flesh off course!) that would be watching any shows or listening to any songs in Spanish – yes even shows and music genres that I wouldn’t be able to stand in their English counterpart like pop music for example.

Now there is an interesting comment (which I initiated) thread back in the Language Dojo; the website that helped me learn what language learning really is.

Matt, one of the webmaster Jedi of TLD had a post where he invites readers to ask him some language learning questions hence the tittle “Ask Matt Anything”. I decided to post a very curious inquiry about a polyglot, who happened to be Southeast Asian, short, but have managed to become a polymath excelling in many things and among that was conversant in more than 20 languages. Below is a screenshot of the thread and take note of Matt’s reply:

spanish learning

If you would notice; Matt’s playful comeback consisted of mostly the exact same things that we stand up for in About Lifting. Now, to an average on-looker, that reply could come up as a mere joke at best and non-sensical at worst (or both).

Although I could tell that it was indeed Matt’s intention to respond playfully, and it is indeed a possibility that he himself wasn’t even aware that anything of which he said had any grain of truth in it – but fortunately as it turns out, his playful comeback actually makes a LOT of sense after all.

1) A high fat + high protein diet – Thank God! An outsider guy who knows that cholesterol is good for you! Animal fat is not to blame, but the simple sugars and “fat free” sh¡t that have been so rampant these days. Your Brain is made up of neurons consuming more than half of your caloric surplus all day long thus it is imperative that you consume “real food ” to do the job and with that an ample of animal fats – not synthetic “vegetable” oils (now that’s gonna kill you!).


2) Weight training – Weight training has been proven to make you smarter, so yes this one is “approved”!

3) High Intensity Interval Training (most likely sprinting) – HIIT increases your T levels and helps maintain great physical shape and unlike aerobic jogging; HIIT develops great musculature, thus the same mental benefits that you get with weight training you will get with HIIT!

4) 8-9 hours of sleep every night – this is obvious no need to elaborate that this is correct.

5) He practiced a lot – Same here. Since Rizal Traveled around the world (bedding different women) and working on the revolution making connections along the way, publishing novels, that really not only helped him practice these languages but actually “LIVE” them since he lived amongst these men and immersed with them.

When we imagine polymaths and renaissance men, we almost always imagine frail, physically incapable brainiacs. But sorry folks that isn’t always the case in reality!

The mind and the body are interconnected and the more they become developed in “one-ness” they become both powerful

But the question is: Was Rizal really as physically active as Matt tells him to be? Or was that just a big fat joke? Well turns out it isn’t! Take a look at this photo below of Rizal acing in “escrima” or basically “fencing”:

jose Rizal language and physical activity

Born a few centuries too late, Rizal could have been an ideal Renaissance Man, he was a polymath who excelled at anything he put his considerable mind and talents to. The study of land assessment, medicine, and literature are just a few of his known accomplishments but he also excellent in arts such as sculpting, painting, architecture; physical activities such as martial arts, fencing, pistol shooting were also where he demonstrated his prowess; he was well read could discuss agriculture, economics, sociology, anthropology and history at will.

Did I just see “martial arts” in that list? So we see that Rizal was just as powerful physically as he was mentally and to tell you the truth, most likely those two assets have contributed to one another. His healthy body has allowed for the existence of a powerful psyche and a powerful mind has allowed him to realize that a sound body leads to a better mental prowess.

Star Teacher also has this to say about Rizal:

Rizal was a gym buff   To compensate for his small stature, Rizal did weight-lifting exercises to improve his physique. This fact was confirmed when cement barbells were later discovered in his Dapitan home.   Similarly, Leon Ma. Guerrero noted that as a child, Rizal was made fun of by Pedro, another student in school. Rizal was never quarrelsome but in this instance, he challenged Pedro to a fight and surprisingly, won.

If this dude is alive today he might have been a successful “manosphere” writer taking the principles of the truth all the way to Southeast Asia. Not only that, but he would have been as buff as a bodybuilder applying his mental prowess to building muscle and utilizing advanced nutritional principles and regimens not available to him in the 1800s.

Now to answer the question: Can lifting weights help you learn languages faster? Well, it alone cannot turn you into a polymath, and a polyglot being conversant in more than 20 languages – as if learning your 2nd or 3rd language won’t be time consuming enough!

But living the life of a hard core lifter can help you maintain a high level psyche and healthy testosterone levels, and healthy testosterone levels will drive you to achieve more and a healthier psyche will help you retain more of what you learn.

So yes, if you want to learn another language, you’d do yourself a disservice if you won’t lift weights or at least do any sort of high intensity physical activity along the way. BTW, how many of you are polyglots? Can you answer that in the comments? Eat your eggs, people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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