“You need a giant ego if you’re going to lift big weights.” -Dave Tate

A bold claim but it makes sense. You cannot have any doubt that you are the greatest, and acknowledging that you have any imperfections doesn’t do you any good when the bar has been loaded. If your ego has grown swollen enough, you won’t even recognize that you have a big ego. There will be a lack of awareness about yourself in any of your behaviors and actions, and it will never cross your mind if you have an ego. That problem arises when you have the rest of your life to live outside of the gym. If you can’t switch your ego off, you’ll mess up your career, or business, and your relationships as they are incompatible with a giant ego. You won’t be reliable to make good decisions if everything revolves around how you feel about yourself. But that doesn’t mean your lifting is screwed without an ego. Without the ego holding you back, you still have behaviors that benefit both your lifting and your life. Consistency, discipline, conditioning, and diet will do something other than build your squat.

One day your competitive lifting will come to an end, likely due to injuries or physical restrictions. Will you still be holding on to that ego long after? Your friends and family will still be dealing with the aftermath of your ego years later, wondering when you’re going to stop being that same asshole. Dave Tate knows of his experience with ego problems and his regrets that resulted from it, along with him and Mark Bell witnessing how the monstrous ego that JL Holdsworth wielded constantly.

JL used to have no idea what to do in life without resorting to his ego first. While it was a trait to be preserved when he was burying massive squats, everyone would have to try to reel him in so he wasn’t messing up his life or getting in fights.  Think about it. If JL ended up in jail or hurt himself, his workouts would get messed up. If he breaks his hand he can’t bench...

JL is a whole lot different now, but it took time. In layers, he was able to shed his ego and change who he was, gain self-awareness, and acknowledge the regrets he has from life. Now he is an entrepreneur, business owner, strength coach, father, and leader.

Text By Mason Nowak

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