I Am, I Train

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“There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength”

Henry Rollins

How Training Killed The Coward and Built a Warrior

1985 – Irvine Meadows, Orange County California – Back before I discovered training

Tall, thin, nervous and angry. Mostly nervous.

Queensryche, the opening band, hits the stage. The headliner, AC/DC, a band I’ve been cranking since I was probably 10 years old, is up next. Soon Angus Young is gonna come out in his Australian school boy uniform and rock this place like a frenzied animalScreen Shot 2013-03-05 at 9.59.03 PM

Me and my buddy Bryan crawl in the dark through the three foot high weeds covering the hill that took us an hour to get to the top of, just outside the amphitheater.

There’s probably 15 or 20 other rockers up here on the hill hiding in packs of twos, threes and fours. Casing the 10 foot high barbed-wire fence and the men guarding it with their massive flashlights that 2nd as night sticks

Unlike prison, where the job of the guards is to keep you in, here their job is to keep you out

Our job as rockers without tickets is to run when none of them are looking, throw our jean jackets on top of the barbed wire fence and crawl over it

The guards are best spotted by the shine coming from their flashlights. They are everywhere.

We wait.

Finally, the coast looks clear so we make a run for it

We run through the weeds, scale the fence and hop over it down onto the grounds of the stadium… the energy is loud and intense

We’re in, but we’re not in the clear yet

We hide in some bushes laying at the bottom of the fence we just jumped. All that’s left is probably a twenty yard dash down an embankment before we’re home free and can blend in with the crowd. There are guards all over this place, but so are the cantankerous headbangers keeping em’ busy with their constant shenanigans

Hopefully all the mayhem will keep the guards so distracted they won’t notice us high tailing it down the embankment and into the ocean of leather, hair and pot smoke

We look around, waiting for just the right moment

Bryan says “It looks good” and bolts for it… running from the brush straight into the crowd

For some reason I don’t, it’s like I become paralyzed. Damn am I nervous.

Bryan makes it. Before you know it he’s just one more head of long hair surrounded by 10,000 other heads of long hair.

My heart is pumping faster than I can stand, I gotta do this, it’s now or never.

Suddenly a big ass guard with his big ass flashlight grabs me by the arm

“Gotcha ya little piece of shit!”

He threatens me with arrest and escorts to the front parking lot. A sea of Mustangs, Camaros, pick-up trucks and broken glass. Their cars wait outside while the heads bang

My buddy, is inside. I am in the fucking parking lot.

There’s no way I can sneak back in now, you gotta make your way up the hill while it’s still light out and before the guards get on duty, then hide in the weeds until dark before finally making a run for the fence.

Ain’t no way I’m getting in now

Bryan is in there somewhere with 10,000 other rockers banging his head along with Angus to Dirty Deeds

I’m out here

FUCK

I pace around the parking lot waiting for the show to end so I can walk home with Bryan while he tells me how great the show was.

The whole time knowing I got caught cause I acted like a little pussy and froze instead of running down the embankment and into the crowd.

Bryan ran, I froze. He rocked out, I was kicked out

Things were like that for me back then

AE683006-D301-4E4E-A6BF-3BA233B669CFI always seemed to be more nervous than my buddies. Maybe it was my conscious from my good upbringing fucking with me

We’d get into all kinds of trouble, I’d been raising hell for as long as I could stand on two-feet, but for some reason I always seemed to worry about the consequences and they didn’t

It’s like they were fully living and I wasn’t

Six and half feet tall and a buck thirty… nothing but bones

I lived on a steady diet of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream , Cool Ranch Doritos and Mountain Dew

Afraid of girls, cops and big mother fuckers who could kick my ass.

Full of nerves, fears, insecurities, racing thoughts and uncertainty. A constant feeling of impending doom followed me everywhere I went.

To make myself feel better that night I bought two concert shirts, I wore one and and tied the other around my neck cuz I didn’t want to carry it

Alone I walked up and down the rows of the empty parking and took in the smell of beer, piss and teenage angst

I could hear AC/DC jamming out hard and the crowd loosing their shit more than a few times to the awesome rock that was being created right before their very ears

I thought about what a pussy and loser I was… I should have ran with Bryan… Why didn’t I?

My life sucked and it seemed like this was just the way it was for me

At that moment I felt someone grab the shirt that was around my neck and pull me to the ground

I fell flat on my ass and some older long hair dude, ripped the shirt from my neck and says, “You want it, then take it from me”

He had a few friends with him and one of them goes “Yeah get up and take it back you fucking pussy”

I just sat there on my ass, covered in gravel and small pieces of broken glass… I didn’t fight for what was rightfully mine

I didn’t wanna get destroyed by this guy

I didn’t wanna deal with the pain and embarrassment

What I didn’t know at the time was that the toll this took on my self-esteem was more painful than any ass kicking I could have received that night

My Dad taught me to always stand up for myself, to never back down and to fight back no matter how big the other guy was

You always fought back. End of story.

My dad would be so ashamed of me if he knew about this, he would think I was a coward.

After the show I didn’t tell Bryan about what happened. In fact, I didn’t mention it to anyone, I was too ashamed

It was best just to leave it there on the asphalt that night

Fast forward to 1988.

My girlfriend of two years dumps me. I am lonely and broken.

I hated my job. Smoked a pack of cigarettes a day. My friends were losers. The only comforting thought was the bag of weed I had in my pocket.

Lonely, depressed, nervous and mad at the world… I needed something.

For years my escape had been the music, the metal, but it wasn’t doing the job anymore, now I needed it just to maintain

I needed something bigger that could stop the screaming in my head and get rid of the angst that was with me 24/7

I needed balls.

I needed to destroy the coward who lived inside of me.

Prove to the world I wasn’t just some pussy you could just tread on

Little did I know how my life was about to be forever changed by one simple discovery.

We had an old weight set in our garage that my dad and brother used to use. I started going out to the garage and lifting every chance I got

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 12.23.49 PMThat garage was my sanctuary. Problems didn’t exist in that garage. It was just me and the iron.

I pushed, I pulled, I squatted and curled

The weights were way too heavy and my form was scary, but I had something to prove and fuck you if you stood in my way

I still have injuries today from those sessions in the garage.

I set out to destroy my former self and become something greater

It was the only thing in my life at the time that was positive. The only place where I had goals. Where I progressed. Where I could look the future in the eye and see possibilities.

The magazines said do ‘Bicep 21’s’… so I did ‘Bicep 21’s’

The magazines said eat everything I could see, and then eat some more, so I ate.

The magazines said to buy ‘Boron’, and put it under my tongue and it would get me huge, so I bought Boron and put it under my tongue.

I quit cigarettes, flicking my last one right out the garage door

Dropping the cigs I picked up heavier and heavier weights

Next I joined a health club. Then a World Gym, full of hardcore body builders and powerlifters with big bellies and bald heads

Training was the only positive thing in my life.

At first, the change was too much for me and went straight to my head.

I became a bully, I went from hunted to hunter. I wanted to let the world know not to fuck with me, so I would fuck with it first.

I hurt people who didn’t deserve to be hurt.

Then one day I came close to getting my ass kicked by a dude much smaller than me. It was embarrassing… but it humbled me and taught me not to be a bully, to be cool to people, so from then on I was cool

When I was 24 and went to jail for selling weed, I sensed that because of my time spent under the bar, people probably wouldn’t mess with me. The iron had forged me into a weapon.

There were no weights in the jail so I trained in my cell.. pushups, body-weight rows with the top bunk, step-ups and curls with a jumpsuit full of books. I ran laps around the yard.

When I got out of jail, I became more focused on my training than ever.

I simply cannot, and do not, wanna imagine life without training

I carry my TRX straps around in my truck wherever I go

Whenever I move to a new place, the first thing I do is find the closest gym and join it

When I can’t get to the gym and lift, I bust out a quick body-weight workout or run some stairs

The gym is my church

Training is my brother

It’s been my constant ally for almost 25 years

Good times and bad. Girl, no girl. Money, no money.

The training is always there

It’s my portal that takes me from of the pressures of the day and into a new reality

A new me

Training is my Tao

My ritual

My drug of choice

For the first half of my life I always felt bad… nervous… off.

Training makes me feel good

A few days without out it my body cringes and screams at me “Fuck you Chris, fucking train mother fucker!”

It opens the pressure valve and releases the demons

It takes me out of my story, my life and my problems.

It puts me into the moment. A single point of focus. One rep at a time. One set at a time.

I’m never more alive, more ready to take on the world, than when I’m training.

Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 5.11.20 PMOut of the cage and free to roam and exist

Bigger, stronger and leaner than yesterday

To NOT be like people who don’t train

I look at the elderly who don’t workout… they’re slouched and brittle. I don’t want that to happen to me

I see old people who’ve been training for years. They’re spritely. They stand up straight. They smile. They look like they just got laid. They are able to outrun death one more day

I train to get rid of stress, anger and anxiety.

To look better, feel better and escape the any bullshit that may be holding me back

To rise above mediocrity, complacency and stagnation

To reinvent, redefine and give myself a do-over

To move in the direction of something greater

I train to carve out a better existence than the one I had

A better life for those I love

At 42 and a father of four I do it to live longer and stronger

To be a better example for my children

To protect my daughters and serve my family

When my girls are older and boys start coming around… I want these boys to know that my girls are not to be fucked with

You treat my daughters with respect

I train because it makes me crave nutrient dense fuel for my system

I train because I want the piece of shit who’s looking for someone to mug or rob, to take one look at me and think “FUCK THAT, I’m robbing some other dude”

I train because I love the act, being at war with the iron and becoming one with it.

To hate it and to love it

I love what it does for me and how it makes me feel.

It gives me a fresh perspective and positive outlook.

It resets the entire system. Brings it to life

Training has taught me the value of sacrifice, hard work and discipline

It took a scared little boy and made him a man among men

It’s about being better today than I was yesterday and being better tomorrow than I am today.

I train because I hope to one day run into that fucker who took stole my AC/DC shirt. I wanna look him in the eyes and ask “Do you remember me?”

And then tell him that I forgive him

Training has made me a better man today

It gave me strength, confidence and a sense of purpose when I had nothing to live for. And now I am indebted to it. The only way to pay it back is by training the rest of my life.

Training destroyed the coward and made me a warrior

“Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”

Henry Rollins – from the legendary essay The Iron

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Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 11.07.45 PMI’d love to hear about why YOU train in the comments down below

I do my best to respond to all comments.

Comments are moderated so give yours a little time to show up ok?

Talk soon,

Big Chris

P.S. If you liked this post, I won’t hold it against it you wanna push some of those social media sharing buttons like the Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Google Plus buttons at the top of this post and share it with your friends

Seriously, not only will I not hold it against you, I’d love it if you did (=

Written by Chris McCombs

Just put your primary email in here and I’ll be sure to hook you up ( I hate spam too so I promise to keep it private and never share it with anyone) … I’ll see you on the other side

Comments

  1. You did it once again my friend…. Another great inspirational post. You have a way of writing that is truly unique… Your story telling is amazing. I look forward to your blog posts every week

  2. My 4 year old girl loves superheroes. Over Christmas, she asked if I’ll ever be a superhero. I pick up heavy shit now. And, I told her “yes”.

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Hey Michael, that’s awesome

      One time my 4 year old daughter asked me why i go to the gym, I told her so i can get big and strong, she said, “Daddy if you get any bigger you’re gonna break the house!”

  3. I’m the same, had a fight will a bike gang for standing next to a girl when I was 18 that some guy liked at a party. Got the shit kicked out of me. In hospital getting stitches in the back of the head. Next day I joined my first gym. Best decision ever.

  4. Good stuff Chris. I started training because as a scrawny kid who was made fun of and picked on for being so skinny, I got sick of hearing it. I got beat up at home by my alcoholic dad and I had horrible self esteem. I was angry and insecure and I was going down a dark hole.. I started with booze and drugs to deal with my pain and my anger, i cleaned up my act and then got really into a healthy, spiritually focused lifestyle which turned into exercise, MMA and eventually a career in the fitness and nutrition fields.

    There’s a lot more to my story, but that’s the long and short of it. I love the way I feel when I train and I look great and my wife likes the way I look which is a plus. ;)

    I am in control of how my body looks and how I feel about my body. I really don’t give a shit what people think anymore but I also do care about people. I have a deep respect for the people I coach and train and it keeps me alive.

    Not to toot my own horn but i am very good as a trainer because my own pain and experiences have made me stronger and more aware, disciplined and sensitive to my clients needs and life is really good.

    Thanks for all you do Chris!

    Michael Munson
    Thrive Fitness

  5. Brilliant Post! So why do you Train? :)

  6. Shaun Brant says:

    Awesome and inspiring story dude, I am very excited to start training at my friend’s home gym and take my fitness to the next level and your story has really boosted my motivation to do so. As a man, being strong is essential for a balanced life and I personally know that I could be a lot stronger, healthier and happier if I started training harder than I am now. Thanks for sharing this story of how fitness training helped change your life and I am really looking forward to having the same experiences and transformations from my personal journey into body building.

  7. Beth Jones says:

    For me it it’s simple – I train for my health, both physical and mental ! I did not really know that though until recently. I have been a jock all my life and was always what I thought was fit. I did not realize how unfit I was until I met my personal trainer, Hugo Eraso, 7 years ago. He has inspired me in so many ways….I am now hooked to fitness…..I am now a personal trainer and teach boot camps and group fitness classes !

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      That’s awesome Beth… helping other people to become happier and healthier for a living, through the practice of training, is a highly noble career path

  8. I started traini g because I was tired of being scrawny. I got hooked, I wanted to learn everything there was to know about transforming the body, whether it be from small to big or big to small. I am now able to use that knowledge to change lives for the better and make a living at the same time. I keep training because I’m still learning, and frankly I am no fun to be around if I miss workouts. Another great post sir, keep em coming.

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Ha ha

      Yeah man, I don’t like to be around myself either when I miss workouts

      I think someone puts heroin in them

      potent stuff my friend

  9. Trevor Neal says:

    I train because I believe every rep adds one more heartbeat to that finite total we all have….that…and I like having big fucking biceps. Welcome to the gun show!

  10. Chris –

    Great read again as usual. My new favorite site. I agree, I HAVE TO TRAIN!

    I have quit jobs because they didn’t fit into my training schedule.

    Graduating HS at 5′ 8″ and 120lbs, I hid from every confrontation and used to be afraid of everything. It wasn’t until a girl I liked made fun of me for being so skinny that I hit the garage and then the gym.

    In the next four years I grew to 6′ 3″ and gained 60 pounds.

    Now I’m up to over 230 (Need to bring it down a bit) and notice I get a tad more respect due to my size.

    With a daughter I like being this size!

    Training owns a big piece of my life and wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Take care bud

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Hey Jeff, one of the reasons I work for myself brother is so I can train whenever I want

      I HATE being stuck with either 5am or 5pm , the before or after work thing, fuck that

      Yeah, good to be big when you have a daughter for sure

  11. Marcus Shoup says:

    Chris- I have been introduced to your blog through FB sharings. Every time I read something of yours, I think about leaving my occupation and getting into personal training. Last May, I was 211 lbs(heaviest ever in my life) jobless and depressed. Started training for a tough mudder and got acquainted with an amazing trainer in Seattle area. Nowadays at 175 and roughly 15% body fat. Seeing the change, having an addiction that is positive and being tired of my own excuses is why I train. Thanks for being such a positive example despite so many negatives that could have made you a completely different person.

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Hey Marcus, thanks so much for sharing this

      Congrats on your transformation

      Sounds like you’d make an awesome trainer man

  12. I started training because I was bullied as a kid. So I took up the martial arts and weight training, I later joined the military and got some combat training, basically I lived to train…..36 years later after training like a mad man, I now train to live.
    Now if I need to use the skills and the strength I have a massed over the years… Well it was best said by a friend…. Old warriors don’t train for competition we train to hurt or if need be kill…but until that happens ….. we walk a peaceful path.
    Good article Chris
    Thank you
    Don Burnell

  13. At first I trained cos I was teased at school for being fat and unfit (I was).
    Then I trained cos I enjoyed being able to use my body to climb, walk and cycle.

    Now I train because I was diagnosed with MS and I will not give up. It’s a habit, it’s what I do. And it makes me feel like I’m really not ill at all. Then it becomes true …

  14. Love this article man.

  15. Awesome post Chris. As for me, I train because I want to do things with my body that others can only dream of. If I fall short of my goals, that’s ok, but I’m gonna die trying! I want the total package – the ability to move heavy iron, the muscles that you can see regardless of the type of clothing you’re wearing/not wearing, to run faster, jump higher, and the confidence that comes with all the physical perks. Not to mention the feeling you get when you are in great shape but you managed to lift just a little more than you did last time. When you’re down lifting and you did it right, it feels like you can run through walls. I’m drug free but the natural high from the endorphins has to feel as good as any drug. Lifting is so awesome because it is one of the few activities is truly worth the amount of time you put into it. So many benefits for just a few hours a week. I know you don’t need any extra inspiration, but keep it up big man!

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      PETE! This is awesome brother

      Love hearing what it means to you man

      Endorphins, aren’t they awesome?

  16. Thanks Chris for sharing your story!
    What I love about training is the opportunity to add value in my client’s life. I find so much joy when I encourage, motivate and my client during our sessions.

  17. GOOD SHIT! I read this earlier today and it Fired me up! One of the best workouts I had in a loooong time, I appreciate you brotha.

  18. Fantastic post Chris. I have some similar reasons & history to inspire my training. I had a good, solid upbringing but maybe too good, too sheltered. I was nervous & afraid outside of my comfort zones. I hesitated so many times – like you making that last dash into the concert. That kind of hesitation ate at me – that fear. Playing sports motivated me to stay active, stay fit and get better at the sports I played – mostly basketball, but eventually the training itself took over as my true passion. The iron never lies to you – that is one of my favorite parts of the Rollins essay. Like Jeff above I was a late bloomer – I grew nearly three inches after high school and filled out from the scrawny kid that I was. Strength training is empowering – for many of the same reasons you listed, and I have a daughter too, so I know exactly how motivating that part can be. There is one part, and you touched upon it a little – I love that I am still doing it, just about every day, as I near 42 years old this April. My peers, who seemed to always dust me in sprints or hoist more weight up that I could when we were younger – they quit years ago. I’m still here, proving myself daily against the iron. I’d have it no other way. Be well.

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Andy, thanks for sharing man

      THIS:

      “My peers, who seemed to always dust me in sprints or hoist more weight up that I could when we were younger – they quit years ago. I’m still here, proving myself daily against the iron. I’d have it no other way”

      Is AWESOME Btw

  19. Life is like a giant stairclimber, if you’re not moving forward and picking up your feet you’re bound to fall off. Training allow me to pull myself through the quicksand that is a life of mediocrity. Keep up the good writing.

  20. Mik forfa says:

    Bro acdc went to school up the road from where I grew up. I almost went to that school

  21. Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

    Do you have one of those awesome school boy outfits?

  22. I train for the fact that I was always considered the “under-dog”. This motivates me to break-down barriers of mental obstacles and to accomplish the life of my dreams. That means, I do not want to live life according to anyone else’s terms or to allow someone else’s opinion of me shape who I am. In fact, the difference maker will be my “will” to defy all odds. When I’m training, I am training for a better and improved me. This improvement let’s me know I can always be and DO BETTER! When I break through a plateau, that let’s me know I’ve always had it inside of me to keep going. When other’s say I can’t, I show them why I can. This is WHY I TRAIN!

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Damn Dante, and I thought you did it just to look sexy

      Love it man, dig the way you look at it

  23. As ever, inspiring stuff! Snapped me out of a lazy afternoon and motivated me to get to my log cabin and do a rings/suspension workout. Like you, I was that weak frightened little boy, but, 40 years on, I may still be small but, through training and meditation, I have an inner confidence and determination that I won’t take cr*p from anyone, I will speak my truth clearly, I will defend those who are being bullied and picked on, and I will learn to be big and humble enough to recognise when I need to be firm yet forgiving to others and not to beat myself up when I get things wrong. I want to be remembered by my children as a wise loving role model.

    btw I think Muhammad Ali first started boxing after someone stole his bike when he was 12 – he vowed to ‘whup’ the guy who stole it, and a local cop told him ‘you’d better learn to box first’ :-)

  24. Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

    Love that Ali story, never heard it before

    Sounds like your training has been a huge part of your evolution as a man

    and you got a cabin man? THAT is cool

    thanks for sharing Marc

  25. Chris, I’d love to share my story with you regarding why I lift as frequently as I do, why I eat the things I do, but then it would a bit redundant. It would be redundant because every word you’ve written here I can relate to directly. It’s like I’m reading about my own thoughts, shortcomings, problems, pain, etc. I just wanted to thank you for all your posts. Truly inspirational shit.

  26. Awesome blog post. Reading this post brought me back to why I first started training. I know the weights and training got me through some tough teenage years. In my 20’s I got involved with booze and drugs and completely stopped training. Woke up 30 fat and depressed. I remeber really looking in the mirror and seeing who I had become. That day I quite partying and started back into a journey of health. Since then Training not only has transformed my body but my life. I own a kettlebell training studio and lift/train 4-5 days a week. There really is nothing I have come across that makes me feel as good than training to be strong! Keep up the awesome posts, your an ispiring person!

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Right on David, you’re a great success story of the power of training to change someones life

      So cool you made the change man, a lot of people never do

      thanks for sharing bro

  27. Because I want to be ready. Ready for when I’m needed and for the times I’m not just in case. I’m what’s commonly referred to as a “big girl”. I’m 30, 5’9 170lbs. I can help with the heavy lifting because of my training. The heavy physical and emotional lifting we all have to do for ourselves and others. I’m single but if or when I have a family, or my mom gets too old and needs help, I’ll be ready to lift the heavy shit for them and show them how to lift for themselves (except for mom I don’t let her lift anything penance for having to raise my stubborn Scottish heavy-squatting ass).

    Priceless Posts, Chris

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Right on Allie

      Love this: “Ready for when I’m needed and for the times I’m not just in case”

  28. Dennis M says:

    Thanks for another great post. I’m a CrossFitter, and a lot of this resonated with me as well. CrossFit has been such an important part of my life. Lifting weights is so much more than JUST lifting weights. It pours out into my everyday life. It makes me a better person. It makes me strive to be better than I was yesterday. Kaizen, motherfucker.

    My favorite part of this post was:
    “I train because I hope to one day run into that fucker who took stole my AC/DC shirt. I wanna look him in the eyes and ask “Do you remember me?”

    And then tell him that I forgive him”

    Now THAT is true strength. That shit will save the world.

  29. Cristian Guerrero says:

    The bro of my bro posted this on the facebook. I gave it a glance, then I could stop reading, I kept scrolling and scrolling and clicking links and wondering where this all leads…like whats the catch?

    Anyways.

    I train for two reasons. First, my dad, he is almost 60 years old, overweight, diabetic, high blood pressure, all that goodness. His mother went blind and eventually died of diabetes. When I was young people would always tell me how much I looked exactly like him. I accepted it as a compliment mostly. But when I was in 7th grade I got punked a lot for being a fatty. So my mom took me to a gym and I started exercising and what not. I starting looking at my dad and seeing him deteriorate. He eats a mouthful of pills in the morning to stay alive (not the voluntary kind either). He pricks himself and injects insulin. I cant imagine this being me in the future. I told myself I would break this cycle, and that although my dad is a pretty hard ass dude, I didnt wanna be him.

    Second, at 20 I had a chip on my shoulder, since I was a certified badass from training and all. I was at a party, with this hot ass girl. My boys checked out a bit early, I decided to hang back to see where the night would take me. A friend of a friend was getting punked by this big ass brick shit house, ill never forget his name Donny Sizemore. the friend of a friend was about a buck twenty wet with shoes on. I stepped in between the two hoping to diffuse any tension. Only to make myself the newest target. Im normally a cool dude, but this guy took a long drag of a cig he was smoking and blew it straight in my face. We got into it and immediately took the fight to the ground. This huge ass dude put me in a headlock like no other and put me out. He was standing over me holding his fists in the air shouting when I came to. Everyone was crowded around us watching. They just witnessed me getting my ass beat. Half my face was lumped up from his frying pan sized fists. I had got him good too his eye swollen shut. I could either stay down and give up or stand up and finish was I started. I popped up and right away this dude didnt want anymore of the fight I would undoubtedly put up… he took off running. With his two buddies. I gave chase. My younger brother who I was unaware was still there, jumped on my back to slow me down. He didnt want me to catch them, or catch another beating. But the force was strong in me, and I could still run with him on my back. Minutes later my boy chad jumped on his back and I collapsed under the weight. The fight was over, I couldnt regain my honor. I realized this night that even when you think youre a badass, there is always someone badass-er. The demons inside of me had power like I had never seen before. But that power counted for nothing if it was not focused, refined, and tuned. I feel like I chase an invisible person, who I may someday meet and have to fight. I plan on being prepared. I plan on never giving up. To just progress until the end of my days when I wont have battles to fight anymore.

    These days when I am in the gym. I want to be alone. I tune it all out with some metal or hip hop. I dont wanna talk or have a photo shoot or meet chicks. I want to move and progress to a better me than yesterday. I run in place in the sauna to get a good sweat. I always feel like I worked hard based on my level of sweat. People come up to me and ask me, “are you a fighter? what are you training for?”. “no”, I reply. Their eyes get wide. I tell them I just wanna be fit and stay in shape. They dont understand or cant. They see a person who might look fit. Who might seem in shape. All I see is clay that can be shaped more and more perfectly…that continually changes and gets better. These people are getting older, and I’m getting younger, fitter, healthier. Thats all I want…

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      FUCK YES

      BAD ASS STORIES Cristian

      Hey man, thank you so much for sharing these stories about your dad and about the fight/chasing

      That’s pretty wild, you running with two dudes on your back, one on top of the other

      Awesome

      And yeah man, I like to shut the out the world too when I train

      No time to chat, got work ta do ya know?

      thanks again Cristian

  30. Styles Bitchly says:

    You’re forgetting about DIO when you did make it in, and we made it all the way down to orchestra! He plays Rainbow In The Dark and we’re singing…”cause its free and I see that its me, who’s lost and never found”. Good times!

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      ha ha ha… yes yes yes

      good times

      One of the biggest compliments you can pay a person is “You Rock Like Dio”

      And you my friend, Rock like Ronnie

  31. Because strong people are harder to kill, and I have a little girl who thinks daddy is the strongest person in the world. :)

  32. Bill Carroll says:

    Hey Chris, I really enjoy reading your blog. A lot of your writings are really hitting home with me.
    As far as training goes, I really started in earnest a few years ago mainly to feel better mentally and physically, but also to keep Father time away as long as possible.
    At the age of 53, I want to grow old gracefully. In 2010, I bought the Insanity workout DVD’s, and it about killed me, but I got through the 60 day program. Today I have added weights and Yoga into my training regimen.

    I am going to start another cycle of Insanity in a couple of weeks. Reading your blogs is helping me stay mentally fit, and I thank you for that. As a young man, I was quite bitter. As I become an old man, I will throw that bitterness away, and lead by example. Positive instead of negative.

    Thanks again PEACE OUT Bill C. :)

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Hey right on Bill

      that’s so awesome your training and reaping the benefits

      I know all about being bitter, and personally, training is one of the things that have helped me deal with that a lot

      keep crushing it brother

  33. Ray Carlisle says:

    Hey Chris, awesome read mate, I found several things in your story that resonate strongly with my views on training and life in general. Up until 5 years ago I was an anorexic distance runner with zero regard for how concerned with my welfare my family and friends were, until I realised how frail I was becoming and how much stress I was placing on those people who cared about me, cared about me more than I did. After a friend straight up told me how much of a prick I was for doing what I was doing, and how I needed to “eat a sandwhich, and fkn lift” I took notice, I had nothing, I was weak, and I was a shit human being. From that life changing moment on, I dedicated myself to fixing the damage I had caused to those people closest to me and at the same time fixing the piece of crap person I had become, the Iron became my refuge, It was my place to tear myself apart and rebuild me into something worthwhile. My relationships improved with my family and friends, I became a Personal trainer, met a girl, got a career and became a powerlifter.
    Fast forward 5 years, I’m 28 years old, compete in Powerlifting weighing twice the bodyweight I was, I’m now married to that girl I met with a little one on the way and I know now that I am strong enough in both mind and body to be the husband my wife deserves, and the father my unborn child needs. In short, I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. The Iron gave me that, the iron in the gym and the iron in my heart helped me to transform, shedding my old skin to become the man I always wanted to be. The man writing this. Iron within, Iron without!

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      Oooooooh

      Ray this is such an awesome sorry

      So happy for you brother

      Super cool man, seriously

      thanks a ton for sharing here Ray

  34. Awesome article…The IRON is my salvage, savior, and educator. I always get a fair deal from it, always.

  35. Awesome. I am a chick and older (in my 50’s), but I WILL still kick ass at 80. I vowed the day I can’t kickstart my old Harley because I am fat or out of shape I will eat a .45. Many say I don’t look my age, and I know why – I work out with a goal (no, I don’t run much – hate it), I eat right and have no bad habits….well, define that….and I don’t let little shit and small people get to me anymore. And I don’t let useless clutter take up space in my head. One life – I was born alone, I will die alone. What I do inbetween is up to me, and it’s nobody’s business. Rock on, work out, be alive.

  36. As a kid, I was always overweight, but I was always strong. Strong for my age because I was active, but ate shit. Bullies learned quick to choose another target. I even found myself intervening for my smaller schoolmates. But I lost that, I moved made excuses and got lazy. Now, I’m pushing myself to be what I know is possible. I lost 12 pants sizes. My goal is to ultimately reach the best shape of my life. I will continue pushing my body and mind further.

    Just finished my workout and hope on your blog. Your no nonsense writing and vivid storytelling hits home for me. Truly always inspirational man.

  37. Abhishek I says:

    Hey Chris,

    I’ve always been a skinny kid and I changed that(to an extent). I love working out and how it makes me feel.
    Sadly, over the past few weeks I had lost focus and wasn’t hitting the gym.
    reading your article motivated me again and I went to the gym today, feels awesome.
    Thanks man.

    Abhishek.

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