Congratulations. You’ve decided to take the hard path. Instead of sitting around the house and eating potato chips all day, you made the choice to get up and challenge yourself. By grabbing the barbell and putting the load on your back, you committed to getting strong. With the strengthening of the muscles, bones and soft tissue, you have also sharpened the mind. You gained confidence and forged your mind into steel to push through pain and discomfort. The increase in strength came quickly and explosively. Your body changed and adapted to the stimuli, and you became bigger, stronger, faster and smarter in terms of strength training. As a bonus, you look better in those jeans.
Eventually, the gains slow down. What started off as explosive, energetic and fun sessions, turned into a slow, grinding process. It turned into work. Hard, dirty and sometimes painful work. But this is what you signed up for. You signed up for this grind. This part, the hard part, is where you find it in yourself to keep pushing. You really find out the worth of your metal. Sure, you can manipulate the training program and find ways to keep things fresh and fun, but that can only last for so long. At some point, you have to dig deep. You have to find what makes you tick. What is that flame that starts the fire? What can you use to spark that raging inferno within you?
This flame needs to be personal; something superficial isn’t enough to keep you going for the long term. Short term goals are great. They help you prioritize, plan and take small steps to help you reach your end goal. At some point, you need to remember that end goal. That end goal needs to be something you are invested in on an emotional level. This goal can be anything, but it needs to be something of real significance. You want to be a professional athlete. You want to be healthy. Maybe you’re trying to beat an addiction. Maybe you’re trying to deal with some mental issue. Or maybe you just don’t want to be a quitter. No matter what that deep personal battle is, use it to help you push through the suck. It doesn’t even have to be entirely grounded in reality. It just has to mean something. My “why” is my wife and unborn child. It is my personal opinion that my family cannot have a weak father figure. In my eyes, physical strength leads to mental strength which ultimately leads to courage. It is my duty to protect my family and having strength makes that job a lot easier. In my head, you never know when you’ll need to step up. If that moment comes, I want to have the courage to willingly walk into the fray. I am the tip to my family’s spear. I know that isn’t necessarily a realistic notion. We don’t live in a bad area or really live with any hardship, but I can’t allow that to be an excuse for me to be weak. I need to be capable and ready. Whenever things get hard and I want to quit, I think about my daughter. I think about how she deserves a strong, capable father. I always ask myself this: “What kind of father would I be to my little girl if I’m not strong?” Of course, physical strength is not the only thing that matters to being a good parent, but I firmly believe that my attitude in the gym bleeds into other aspects of my life. If I can’t do the hard things in the gym, how can I be expected to push through the hard things that come with just living? When you realize what that “why” is, you’ll see that you’ll be able to push through the suck. To be clear, I’m not saying you should ignore injuries or do some dangerous training program to prove you’re tough. Knowing your “why” keeps your head in the game. You continue to progress forward, no matter how small each step forward is. You stay focused and stay the course.
That grit and determination you developed in the gym will bleed into your life outside of the gym. It will ingrain a strong sense of discipline. When it’s 4:30 in the morning and the temperature is 17 degrees, you still get out of bed and put in the work. When your work week has just flat out sucked and all you want to do is go home and drink yourself to the bottom of a whiskey bottle, you make the choice to do something productive. When every decision you make results in something negative and you feel like nothing goes your way, you don’t feel sorry for yourself. You put on your Chucks and pull something heavy. That is why finding your “why” is so important. No matter what happens in your life, you go forward. Not only in the gym, but in life. When things are going bad and you’ve been knocked down, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Remember what drives you, get up, dust off, reload and re-engage. At the end of the day, it’s not always the one who’s faster or stronger who gets things done. Sometimes it’s the one who has indomitable will. So, find yourself, find what drives you and be INDOMITABLE.
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On October 30, 2021, the Atlas Strength Shop will be hosting its 2nd annual strongman competition, the Rougarou Classic. If you want to compete, check out our Facebook event page here, or visit ironpodium.com for registration information. If you’re a business owner who wants to expand your reach, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship opportunities.
“When your feelings are screaming that you have had enough, when you think you are going to break emotionally, override that emotion with concrete logic and willpower that says one thing: I don't stop.” -Jocko Willink