When I first started lifting, I was playing high school football. I was a skinny kid (as most of us were) and the lifts we did in the weight room were bench press, straight legged deads, power cleans and squats. Anything else was on us. There was minimal coaching in those lifts so the form was most likely horrific.
I look back on those formative years and look at now….
I never would have guessed that at 170 pounds I would shoot up to a 270 pound man, lean and relatively strong.
I never would have guessed that at one point I would have been a sponsored Strongman. Yes, I was in the late 90’s-early 2000’s before the internet really took sponsorship to a different plane.
I never would have guessed that in the last 10 months, revamping my line of thought about lifting would transform me from a big, bulky guy into something I look at and say “is that really me?”
I look at old childhood pictures and see a kid with skinny arms and skinny legs. Now I have a hard time finding jeans to fit me and often have to go up two waist sizes to get ones whose legs even remotely cover my thighs.
Trying to find a solid fitting dress shirt and pants? Forget it. I have to get them custom tailored.
I had bigarexia at one point… at another I was addicted to dropping weight… at another I was a kool-aid CrossFitter… at another I was a high level rugby player…
Stuff that I never thought of as a kid. Not even a glimpse of a thought.
And the thing is.. its addicting as hell.
Part of what makes this journey so amazing isn’t in the weight room, its in the mirror. Its great to get stronger, its great to be in better shape; but if that mirror is showing you something you don’t like to see… that is something that is going to drive 95% of the people out there who lift. The other 5% could care less what they look like as long as they just slam heavy weight.
What separates the trainers from the people who just work out, is that addiction. There is something different about people like us who push ourselves to the extreme.
Most men say stuff like “Dude, Bane was jacked!!!!” while people like us say “he’s tiny with big traps, so what”. Most men look at 3 plates on the bench as THE number they want, for people like us we aren’t satisfied unless we are well above the 4 plate per side range.
Most men are happy with abs and that little v-taper that makes you look like a male model. People like us know that abs are useless without some goddamn muscle on the body and they are for far more than show.
Most women want to be “toned”. Women who train know that unless you are lifting some damn weight, you will have an ass the size of an Olsen twin.
People who are into this lifestyle, as a lifestyle and not just a hobby, have an addictive personality. I have met dozens and dozens of people in strength sports who have turned their lives around from horrible addictions to finding salvation with the iron. Most of us didn’t go down that route, but the addiction is there.
Look in the mirror right now, look at the weight on the bar, is that where you want to be? What are you willing to sacrifice in your life to get to where you want to be? Are you willing to forgo a night out with your non-training friends to get some rest, recover and hit it hard in the morning or would you rather say “I’ll do it next week”? Are you willing to pass up the sugary desserts after dinner, or will you say “one piece is ok, I earned it” even after the previous three nights you said the same thing?
If you make excuses, you lose. If you are as addicted as I am to this lifestyle, you will progress, you will learn, you will shape, you will refine, you will change the way you look, feel and act all because you know what its like to work for what you want.
So I say proudly, yes this is an addiction and if people around me think that I am crazy for it… its their loss, not mine.
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