Never wait for your bottle of Jack3d, creatine or “Triple Strength No2 X-Tra Super Extreme Double Nuclear Explosion” to arrive to start training…
And don’t wait til you have more time, more money, more energy and your knee feels better.
I got friends who been waiting for that shit for 30 years. And now, they just look like older, weaker and sicker version of the dudes I knew back then.
Many of us lift for different reasons. Some guys just want bigger arms, nothing wrong with that. Other guys want to defy the aging process, nothing wrong with that either.
Hell, I train for both those reasons.
But there’s another reason that brings a lot of guys to the iron. Some of us needed a new life.
In the 6th grade, it was a little blonde named Julie, a girl I’d had the hots for since the 3rd grade. Jana, her best friend, told me that Julie wanted me to ask her to go “steady”. So right there on the tetherball court of Chaparral Elementary School, I swallowed my nerve, and asked Julie “out”
A half dozen girls bust into laughter. It was a set-up
I was freaked out to ask another girl out for years.
When I was 15, it was the dude who ripped the AC/DC concert shirt right off my back, dragging me down to the asphalt in the parking lot of Irvine Meadows Amphitheater.
After tearing the shirt from me, he asked “What the fuck you gonna do about it?”
The guy next to him echoing his sentiment “Yeah, what the fuck you gonna do?”
They were bigger than me, and there was more of them than there was me. I didn’t do shit.
When I was 18, it was my girlfriend of 2 years who left me for some older dude who got her pregnant.
It was a time of no girls, no direction, too many drugs, too little confidence and too much wallowing in my ectomorphic self pity.
When I was 19, it was the younger brother in high school who could kick my ass, and liked to let everyone know he could.
Shortly after, it was a yoked gang-banging ex-convict who tried to set me up so he and his friends could jump me and jack me for everything I had. Luckily I saw the set up before it was able to go down, it still fucked with me though knowing these dudes had targeted me as a “victim” … and that I couldn’t just kick their gang-banging asses.
My dad raised me on Charles Bronson and Dirty Harry films, dudes who didn’t take shit. I admired guys like that, cuz it seemed everywhere I turned, I was taking a bunch of it.
Tall, skinny and nervous, I needed an outlet. I needed a way to channel the nerves, awkwardness, and rage at a life not going my way, into something positive.
150 pounds at 6’6 makes for a bad look and limbs that are easy to break in a fight.
I was a coward and wanted to be a warrior.
Training became a hard won ally, and for the next few years, it was the only positive thing going in my life. No matter what was going on in my life, girl problems, drug problems, money problems… I could go into my garage, crank Slayer and Anthrax on 10, and push, pull and squat.
Form was of no concern in those years; I have the scars to prove it. Getting the weight up was all that mattered.
Today, nearly a quarter century later, training has been the one constant in my life. Good times, bad times, friends, no friends, girl, no girl, money, no money, training is there.
A few days without it, my body gets pissed at me. I need a way to release the demons. I cringe the weights like a junkie cringes a fix.
Training is my Tao, taking me from the stresses, pressures and frustrations of the day, and transporting me to a better reality, a better me.
Troubles at home, bills, taxes, legal issues, deadlines and that fucking clanking noise the car just started making, don’t matter one bit.
The cage door has been ripped off and nothing else matters except the set at hand. Each set takes me to a single point of focus… one rep at a time, one set at a time, one workout at a time. Completely absorbed in the moment like a man throwing himself off a cliff.
Never more alive, awake and ready to take on whatever the world wants to throw at me.
Training gets rid of stress, anxiety and worry. It transmutes the anger, complacency and self-doubt into something stronger and better, on both the inside and the out.
Training helps one to rise above mediocrity… to recreate, redefine and evolve.
When my daughters get old enough for boys to start sniffing around, I’ll be able to look the young lads in the eye and put the fear of God into them with my sheer presence, a presence that was built with blood, sweat and iron.
When some would-be assailant is looking for a person to rob, I want them to take one look at me and think to themselves that I’m the last mother fucker on earth they’re gonna wanna try that shit on….. “Next!”
When I get old and gray, I wanna have a spring in my step, a smile on my face, and a body that reflects a lifetime spent training… instead of being brittle, hunched over and curmudgeony … which seems to be my only other option.
When this happens, I tell myself a simple lie that goes like this “Fuck it, I’ll just go in and do a few light sets today” and within 10 minutes I’m always training my ass off and glad I came. I’ve been telling myself that little lie for years.
During times of minimal motivation, I’ll either switch it up and do something completely different, like maybe a body-weight, kettlebell or suspension strap workout at the park, or maybe I’ll take it to the hills and incorporate some boulders and shit like Rocky did in number four.
Other times, whether it’s a temporary dip in motivation or I’m just too busy with work and family commitments to keep my regular training schedule, maybe I’ll cut it down to three 20 or 30 minutes workouts a week. And on rare occasions when I’m really crunched for time, I’ll even go as low as one full-body session every third to fifth day.
I’ve found that you can keep most of your mass as long as your still getting the whole body in every few days like that. And before long, usually a couple of weeks tops, I’ll crave more of the iron and find a way to ramp it back up to full speed.
The training is always there. There have been times I’ve completely thrown nutrition out the window, but the training is always there.
If they don’t have all their ducks in a row, they give up completely.
If their sleep, food, and supplements aren’t all on point, or if they don’t have enough extra time, they stop training all together. This is a mistake. In my experience, the ducks are RARELY all in row, but that’s never an excuse to give up on training.
Chaos is the order of the universe, and no matter what kind of shit you got going on… girl left you, you got laid off from work, can’t afford protein powder, putting in long hours, your knee hurts, whatever it is, don’t matter, you gotta train.
Train around injuries and work schedules. Train living on Top Ramen if you need to… whatever it is… the guys who get strong and stay strong over the years fucking train.
No matter what, fucking train.
“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”
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