I’m big on the “why”. If there’s one thing that really irks me personally, it’s eye wash — that is, doing things with no purpose, just for the sake of doing them.
Sometimes in life you have to participate in eyewash, of course. But, when it comes to what I do in my own time, I leave little room for the inconsequential things. So, I read, I write, and I train vigorously, and I do them all for a reason.
In the past I have written Why I Write, giving exactly those reasons for that particular love of mine. I’m sure very few people care, but I believe transparency and authenticity are inseparable from credibility. If I want to be somebody who influences others through my words and my actions, I want others to feel like they actual know me.
A major piece of me — so big in fact that it must then be shared — is my physical training. To know me, you should probably know how much I train; you should know too why I train:
First and foremost, I train because I am a strength coach. For those in our field, training is practicing what you preach, it is learning by doing. I’ve learned more about getting others strong by getting myself stronger than I could ever by simply turning pages in a book. I am, however, an avid reader and book-learner, don’t get me wrong. But, I digress…
Another obvious reason to train is because I am a former athlete. While I will never throw a competitive pitch again in my life, my goal is to have a body more capable of competing — more mobile, stronger, leaner, more coordinated each and every year.
To this end, one of the predominant reasons why I train is to work toward all the things I never thought I would be — or even could be.
When I was 17 years old, I got my first tattoo, placing it over my right shoulder blade. When I was 18, I got my second, this time on my left triceps. It very simply read, “STRONG”.
For years I was taunted, both in jest and more seriously, “Oh, so you think you’re strong?”
I explained that it had a deeper meaning: I was striving to be mentally, emotionally, and yes, physically strong.
“In this way, nothing can hurt me”, I’d say. This answer pacified the heckling, but they were right about one thing in their mockery — I was not physically strong.
Since the days that I first had to defend my STRONG tattoo, I have worked relentlessly to improve my strength. While learning under the bar, I have also learned in the books and on the field, developing as a strength coach while I too developed as a trainee myself.
Over the years, as a trainee and a coach, I have learned new exercises and methods, refined my own standards performing the “tried and true” methods, and have morphed and evolved as a coach, trainee, and as a person.
Eight plus years of training have certainly lead to my physical development. I am stronger than ever, with each and every training cycle that passes. My absolute numbers don’t jump off the page alone — a 345 lbs Squat, 120 lbs Dumbbell Bench Presses, 350 lbs RDLs, a 220 lbs Hang Power Clean. But, in the context of relativity — my weight now fluctuates between 145 lbs and 160 lbs — I am beyond content with my progress.
But, the physical strength is simply a byproduct of a process designed to build something more significant. Yes, I train to become physically strong, but more importantly, I train to develop the mental and emotional strength to keep fighting each day.
That’s Why I Train.