Tough Love

To me, the gym is a lot like life. We throw around terms like torque, resistance, failure, accommodation, power, strength, and endurance in the gym. Those terms have dual meanings and are readily transferable to our lives. Daily, we find ourselves in situations requiring strength, determination, resolve, if not outright stubbornness to navigate through and beyond. Just like in the weightroom, we must find some combination of those elements to get through the strife that everyday living sometimes offers up. I fault no one for doing whatever it takes to get where they need to go; if it’s not right for you or me, it is right for somebody, somewhere, at some point. I find that I am slightly more understanding than I was in my youth and I find that judging others harshly is difficult to stomach.

Not that I tolerate a fool any better than I ever have; I’m not as evolved in that regard. Finding the right balance of approachability and toughness can be a tricky line to walk. People need help in the weightroom, just as they need help in life. In a perfect world, and this world is far from perfect, we would all just effortlessly teach, assist, and support each other in both worlds. We’d live with one another and seamlessly glide between the weightroom and the outside world constantly evolving. We’d like to believe that there is some other world out there where everything is okay, and everyone is safe and loved…

But there isn’t. There’s just this one.

People dislike change. I find that they don’t want to mentally, spiritually, and emotionally evolve with as much enthusiasm and verve as they approach the weightroom. That is unfortunate, because I am compelled to alert these people to the fact that earthly evolution is kind of a “beat-the-clock” scenario. While I am comforted by the notion that life exists beyond our individual mortality, I am convinced that we need to continually evolve in all aspects every day with urgency. I can think of no fate worse that being lazy or unoriginal, but there are people in my world who seem proud to stagnate. I can remember being around some more experienced athletes in my younger days, when I was new to the iron community. I can remember thinking to myself, “Most of these people are just like the people at home on the couch. Some are worse.” I knew then I’d probably never be competitively relevant, but I vowed to myself that I would never, ever behave like they did. I would drive myself like a demon to evolve physically and mentally. I’m still keeping that vow.

Some of the same talking heads are still out there with some new ones thrown in here and there. They’re hawking this or that system, still bloviating like used car salesmen, still so lazy and unoriginal. It seems as if there is no in between, either an athlete is a saint, and a wonderful ambassador for the iron pursuits. Or he or she is a pompous cartoon character who owns nothing but tank-tops which are two sizes too small. And people wonder why we’re marginalized and isolated as a community. I’d like to give some advice to the people who matter out there. It’s advisable to have an emotional, spiritual, or mental reasoning underpinning your life’s pursuits. If you do not; all of it will come down on your head. Also, when it comes to training, it’s advisable to actively evolve your approach each and every day. If you do not, you will have failed to fully realize all that the iron experience has to offer. You will just be another lazy, unoriginal used car salesman out there hustling butt-blasters to soccer moms. And then you will die miserable, without honor, and totally devoid of character or value.

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