The lure of the iron

I am writing this at 2AM because I can’t sleep so forgive the run on sentences or any redundancy that can occur.

When I first started lifting weights I hated them. My old FB coach was quite a dick to me because I was skinny, but had a lot of heart. He liked his star players and I had to work extra hard in practice to even see playing time at a 10th grader.

That was my first exposure to the weights and my first exposure to playing FB as well.

During practices I would be on the other side from the Varsity starters, and we had a good team that year.

As a skinny kid I had to take on blocks from our starting OL and I got knocked down a lot. I gave out a few solid hits as well, one I remember very well was against Izzy Gonzalez, our guard.

He was the pulling guard that play and we met head to head… literally.

His helmet was a mass of scars because the dude just loved to hit. We collided hard and neither of us gave any ground.

Did that earn me a spot on the backup team? Not at all, but it earned the respect of him.

I started lifting weights on my own a year after that season because I wanted to, and it stuck with me ever since as I learned to love the changes it made in me.

Through trials, hardships, ups, downs and through my many moves in life; the one thing I had to look forward to was the solitude and brotherhood of the gym.

That pull is strong, and there is nothing like it.

I was injured, got fat, got in shape and it all stayed the same… I worked through everything in the gym.

Those of us who take part is the masochism of lifting weights understands this. To us, it isn’t just exercise, it is a part of who we are and a part of our blood.

We celebrate PR’s with our gym buddies, we meet people who share the same interests and we form bonds that last a lifetime through that.

One of my greatest friends of all time was met in a gym, Bob Ihlenfeldt. I lifted weights with Stallone’s cousin, I trained next to IFBB pros and I learned from powerlifters who are among some of the strongest people I ever met, and was lucky enough to train with.

The people I call closest to me share that same pull. I don’t actively try to find people like that but it happens by the sheer nature of my passion.

I made it a lifestyle because of the pull of the iron.

I train people because of it, not because I want to be rich, but because I enjoy it that fucking much.

It allows me to truly love what I do even though it can be hard work at times.

Because of the lure of the iron, opportunities have been given to me which I am grateful for. Writing for magazines, working for a supplement company I truly believe in and competing in a meet called Relentless that gives back to those who need it the most.

It isn’t just a hobby, as I have said many times before in an attempt to downplay the significance of it, it is a lifestyle and one that should be given the proper respect it deserves.

This pull allows me to celebrate others who are stronger than me and wish for those who aren’t where they want to be yet to make it to their goals.

This pull allows me to appreciate other iron sports like bodybuilding, CrossFit, Highland Games, Strongman and throwing sports.

We are all part of this lifestyle together, the only thing separating us is the style we choose to take part in.

I am not perfect, I am flawed, I am human and I am me… but as long as I live the iron will be a part of me.

Hurt, old, tired, weak, strong, doesn’t matter… this is a huge part of my life and I made it a priority for me.

I am sure you can relate to this. Many of you fight through your own injuries and life battles to keep on top of your game physically and mentally.

We share that passion. We share the same goals. As cliche as this sounds, we are the same type of people and that is what makes the iron so great.

When you go to a contest, a show or a meet you are surrounded by people who share that passion. Sure you may come across people you don’t like, but 95% of the time your peers will pat you on the back and say “good job” even if you think you sucked….

I read somewhere recently that Ed Coan still helps lifters out backstage and wraps knees if needed.

Here is a guy that is an absolute living legend in the powerlifting world who isn’t above helping people out no matter how strong they are.

That is the lure of the iron where no matter how old you get, how good you are, how hurt you are at the moment or how you finish your contest you just want to be a part of it and will help others, pick yourself back up and try again, cheer your teammates and support companies that are involved in our lifestyle.

The lure of the iron isn’t a hobby… it is who we are. It has rooted into our lives so deeply that most of us cannot imagine a life without it.

Some call it obsession.

I call it beautiful.

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