Kentucky Strong: Passion, Consistency, and Strength

TAGS: Kentucky Strong: Passion, and Strength, determination, consistency, Kentucky Strong, Chase Karnes, passion, strength

A lot of guys say they want to get bigger and stronger. So they’ll train for a little bit—say, six months or so, and then they’ll take a break. They’re going to take some “time off” they say. Well, after a few months off they decide to train again for a couple of months...before taking some more “time off.” Typically, these guys will never achieve the goals they want. If you want to be really strong and/or really big, then you must be consistent. And that doesn't mean being consistent for 12 weeks, a year, or even five years. I’m talking years and years.

That’s the problem. A lot of people want to be strong, but they want it yesterday...they want it right now! Ultimately, they don’t want to put in the time that it takes. They don’t want to earn it—they want it magically. I always say that anything in life worth having doesn't come easily. You’re going to have to work for it. You’re going to have to make sacrifices. You’re going to have to put in the time. The time to learn more and educate yourself. The time to train. The time to travel to meet other people who are stronger than you in order to learn from them and train with them. The time to attend seminars. The time to compete. If you truly want to be really strong and really big, it’s going to take years and years. That’s just the truth. I’m not going to sugarcoat it and bullshit you. It doesn't happen quickly, and it isn't easy. There’s not "12 weeks to anything" that’s impressive.

Sure, some guys have better genetics, and it may not take as long for them, but they still have to put in a lot of time and effort. It’s still not easy, even for the most genetically gifted. Trust me. I’ve trained some guys who have absolutely unreal genetics for size and strength. However, they also worked hard and got great results. But you know what they lacked? Passion. They didn’t have the passion to continue on to the next level. They didn’t stay consistent. They took “time off.”  I’ve also trained guys with less than average genetics but who have ended up becoming pretty damn impressive. Why? Because they had passion and were willing to put in the time, sacrifice, and hard work that it takes. As cliché as this old saying sounds, it’s true...“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.”

You’re going to have to put the years in if you want to get really, really strong. I’ve been training for almost 15 years and I’m still getting stronger every year. I’m still getting stronger every time I compete, and I’m still hitting PRs consistently. The thing is, is that you have to be smart with your programming. Sure, there is an increased chance of injury as you get stronger and stronger, but with smart programming, proper technique, proper recovery methods, good nutrition, and sleep, you’ll decrease the likelihood of injury. Even if you get injured you can still fight back and be strong. You just have to be consistent. It's true that many top powerlifters and strongman have been injured—biceps tendon ruptures, back injuries, shoulder injuries, etc. Getting really strong does beat you up. However, if you’re consistent with your rehab and training, then you’ll be able to bounce back. I have seen it numerous times. Yet, if you’re scared, you may get injured because you lack what it takes. Plain and simple. And you have to be a little bit crazy to do what we do. We don’t want to be average, right? We want to be far from average. We are passionate about strength.

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You must have that passion in order to stay driven and disciplined. It's the only way to continue doing what we do week upon week and year upon year and keep progressing until, ultimately, we can be the strongest we can be. At the last UGSS, I pulled a nice deadlift PR. Steve Goggins asked me, “Is that a PR?” I said, “Yeah, but it isn’t good enough.” His reply was that “It isn’t ever good enough.” And he’s exactly right. Those who are passionate are never satisfied. We are always training and striving to hit that next PR, to add on those next 10 pounds. That’s one thing we all have in common. We are never satisfied. That’s what drives us. It’s not always about competing against someone else. It’s about competing against yourself. I see lifters stronger than me and that motivates me. If they can be that strong then there’s no reason I can’t. I was listening to Chad Aichs respond to a question at dinner one night in regards to his world-record bench press. To paraphrase him: when he was attempting this lift, he had no doubt in his mind that he couldn't do it. And this is a world-record attempt we are talking about! It hadn't ever been done by anybody. Yet, he had the confidence to achieve it and got rid of any self-doubt. That’s what it takes. Just because it hadn't been done didn’t mean it couldn’t be done. That passion, desire, and drive to be the best that you can be is what separates the biggest and strongest guys from other lifters.

If you want to get really strong, then you must be in it for the long haul. Every decision you make—what you eat, how much sleep you’re getting, how much you’re partying, when you decide to train...every decision you make in your everyday life is going to have an impact on your training and training goals. Obviously some make a greater impact than others. Being in college a few years back, I certainly had nights where I partied and felt like hell the next day, and it definitely affected my training and recovery. The thing is that you can’t do that every night. You can’t be partying multiple nights a week and still get big and strong. I think there’s moderation in life and training. Yet, at the same time there’s time to dial things up and dial things down. When I’m getting ready for a serious contest, nutrition is kicked up even though I eat good year-round. It’s taken to that next level. Everything is measured, calculated, and is precise.

Training is always important, and I don’t miss sessions regardless of when it is. Then again, when training for a serious contest, training is taken to that next level. Same thing goes for my recovery and sleep. If I’m in an “off-season” phase, then I may stay up a bit later, have some drinks with my wife, and not think twice about traveling, vacation, or whatever it may be. However, when it’s contest mode...you flip the switch. All things training related are dialed up and things that aren't are pulled back. One thing that doesn’t change—the constant—is that you will be training. You must be consistent. You can’t miss training sessions. Let’s say you’re scheduled to train on Monday, but for whatever reason you’re just too beat up. Thankfully, your training is set up so that you can move that session to Tuesday (and a good program should be set up as such to allow these accommodations) and that’s fine. That’s not missing a session. That’s being smart. There’s a difference.

If you’re in it for the long haul, then you must have that passion and consistency. While all top lifters may have different training philosophies, nutrition ideas, and the like, one thing you will always find is passion and consistency.

With passion and consistency comes strength.

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