You know you are putting in time when it's just you and the bugs. You unlock the door and feel along the wall for the three light switches that will provide that all too familiar flicker and buzz, like a bad horror movie. The floor begins to move as you enter. You gotta get up pretty early to wake up the roaches; watching them scurry under mats and into corners. There is no amount of polish that can remove this grit; not from this room, not from my hands or my heart. I can feel my blood moving through my body. It is like a mixture of oil and sand. Nothing is easy, not even that. But if we embrace suffering instead of struggling against it and begin to realize we are better for it; we can carry it as earned and not something forced upon us to endure. We can live in both the darkness and light equally and not seek out dark corners when they present themselves.

Inevitably you will become entertainment for almost every onlooker and passerby you encounter. With slight glances from the corner of the eye or full on gaping stares, they hope to be regaled with stories of unreal oddities. Whether you speak to them or not is of no consequence. You are an aberration simply because you exhibit and embody a life that they will never be able to live. What if it wasn't a story and you actually show them the madness, have them live it. It is inconceivable that you eat as much as you do, or to be the size that you are or lead a life of commitment in a world very much void of fortitude. Things that make little to no sense to them make all the sense in the world to you. ‘What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly.’ And these unfathomable extremes are your everyday life. It has become the norm; it just IS. You see, your shattered glass is merely my window and I can see just fine out of it even if you can’t.

We often hear the saying, “If these walls could talk...” What would they say about you and your apparent commitment? They would tell us who cuts corners, who really goes hard, who spends more time on their phone than with weight in hand, who comes in for a pump and flex and who comes to tear the mutha fucka down. They can speak to your motives and ambitions. They may know your heart better than you do; your strengths and insecurities. But most importantly, if these weights could talk they would tell us who shows up and keeps showing up; without excuse or qualification can make it happen day in and day out with purpose. I guarantee it’s not who you think it is. It may not be the biggest, most flamboyant loud mouth. It’s gonna be the quiet dude who trains by himself, gives you a head nod, rips himself apart and heads home. Coaches say it all the time of great players, ‘I want the guys who keep showing up.’ In the weight room, as it is in life; success favors those who find a way.

You may have the money for the meat and potatoes, the time for the training, the strength and genetics to look the part. That is not all this life costs though. It is not all that is owed or must be spent to be one of the few. An entire lifetime can be devoted and you will be have not spilt enough blood to gain that which you so desire. Because it was all a guise; just for show. It's much easier to play the part rather than be part of it, easier to talk about it than to actually be about it. You will buy your ticket and sheepishly stick your head into the tent of the freak show, but never go in. What you don't realize is that we are the fire-eaters, the Siamese twins, the goat boys; and this is our home. Gawk amongst the rest of the crowd and come to the realization that you wasted your time and money gazing upon this life you will never know.

What will your weights say about you? The majority would never enter the gym again for fear of the truth. One thing I know for sure; if nothing else, mine would say of me, “We beat this bastard down every day but never once has he not come back for more.” It isn't this one contest or lift, one moment in the spotlight. It is the hundreds of thousands of reps that led you here.