Id, ego and superego

You may have heard these terms in Psychology 101 (if you went to college), if you did or didn’t, here is a basic primer on the meaning of them written in my signature tone:

Id – the animal side of you, the side that doesn’t give a shit.

Ego – the Id’s more rational friend but prone to persuasion by the “alpha” type Id.

Superego – the internal judge that mediates the crazed desires of the Id with the calculating, reasoning nature of the ego. 

The superego is the one that you learn as you go through life. The superego is the one that puts its arm around the ego and talks some sense to it while the Id is saying “come on, pussy, let’s do this”.

How the fuck does this relate to strength?

When you start out, you know jack shit about lifting. Your id is the crazed newbie that wants to look like Kai Greene in one year. Your id is also that moron that wants to inject shit into your muscles when you aren’t fully developed. The id is the impatient little shit that refuses to listen to reason because you want it all and you want it now.

The ego is that little voice that tries to find a more rational way, it doesn’t know right from wrong, but its main job is to find a way to get to the end goal without killing itself or the id. This is the part that says, “maybe I shouldn’t do 15 sets of squats at 90% today, maybe I should cut back some”. But, the ego still doesn’t know enough to know WHY, it just operates on the pleasure principle.

This is where the superego comes in, most young lifters, hell most new lifters don’t know enough about this game to have a fully developed superego to moderate between the crazed shithouse madness of the id and the more rational ego. (Think of the id as Pegasus and the ego as Perseus – Watch “Clash of the Titans” for the reference).

The superego isn’t the one that just reads articles online, you don’t really learn by reading some opinionated piece written with a bias do you? You learn by DOING. The superego is the one that has honed its knowledge by applying knowledge, training with people better than you, attending seminars and listening, seeking out coaches who know how to coach and aren’t necessarily the strongest around, driving to true lifting gyms and training with people who work their asses off to get better.

The superego is the one that says, “guys (id and ego), shut up for a minute, let’s learn before we make complete shit of this body”. Its the superego’s job to tell the id to slow its roll, and to tell the ego “do you really think you can deadlift 800 pounds in a year when you can only pull 405 now? Don’t you think we should get to 500 first?”

Once you humble yourself, listen to others, learn from doing, set realistic goals and strive to meet those goals in a methodical, consistent fashion, you are honing that superego to the point where you drown out the impulsive id and teach the ego not only how to ride that flying horse… but how to control it.

You can either stay in the id/ego zone and never learn, or you can take the smart road and learn from those who have already made the mistakes you have, learned from them and are more than willing to pass on that information to you to help you be better.

One way to learn by doing is to apply the program from my book (insert awesome sales pitch here) to give you a nice, balled up little package of superego-type knowledge.

Check it out here.

Yes, this is a different way to look at training, but the mind can either help you, hurt you or royally fuck you up.

Its your choice, you can go fast and burn out quick, or you can be smart about this and have a lifetime to celebrate PR’s.


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