“If you are not strong, you’re weak.”

The above statement defines my personal philosophy regarding lifting, fitness, and life as a whole. My fire and passion for strength in all its forms was initiated by a refusal to feel physically weak. However, in the process of rebuilding my body, I realized that the physical part of training was not the hardest. It was the mental aspect that truly decided whether or not I would be successful. At a certain point, I realized that I had to choose between being “good enough” and being satisfied with what I was, or start pushing past my limits to what I could be.

Since that time, I have often been accused of being too “black-and-white” or too polarizing in my actions or opinions, but I also avoid the trap of “grey” decision making. If you are to truly have clarity in your choices, your decisions must be clear—they must be yes or no. Life does not reward us for almost or mostly or somewhat or maybe or sort of.

At a certain point as a lifter and athlete, as a worker or professional, as a business owner or a husband, father, or lover, we will come to the choice of staying comfortable in being good enough in our current state, or choosing discomfort in trying to be more. Some people are satisfied with just doing enough and no more than that. We are not those people, though. We do not risk and remake our bodies on a daily basis to go home and be a disconnected husband. We don’t subject ourselves to mental grinding and then blow off being productive in our professions. The mental effort and intensity we put in remaking our bodies should be a reflective totality of how we live our whole lives, not an exception to all the things we neglect.

This drive we have for strength is a choice. At some point in our relationship with lifting, we chose strength. We didn’t choose maintenance, we didn’t choose just being healthy, and we didn’t choose mediocrity. We are not satisfied with simply maintaining what we have but instead work to become more than what we currently are. We made a choice not to be weak; we would be strong.

Whether we realize it or not, this separates us from the vast majority of the population—not just people that go to gyms, but the general untrained population as well. How many people spend weeks, months, and years training themselves to be better? How many people wake up every day and ask themselves, “am I stronger than I was yesterday?” Most do not.

We don’t go to gyms to “work out.” We go to the gym to train. Working out is mindless. It’s without purpose or intention. Training, however, is not mindless. Our lifting is more than just getting underneath or over a barbell. It’s a defined mental and physical process that we develop for ourselves, for the express purpose that we will better for it—we will be strong(er) for it.

Like many others, I believe that the iron and lifting are metaphors for life. We either lift the weight or we don’t. We’re strong enough or we're not. How far we go corresponds with how much we are willing to endure. Professional success is the result of years of hard work and learning. At times, our loved ones will frustrate the hell out of us, and we’ll fight and make up and still love them at the end of the day. Your kids will stress you to no end, but when they succeed, it makes everything worth it. We’ll tear hamstrings, throw out backs, and strain pecs. Yet, when we are healed, we’ll come back to the bar and continue on. We don’t quit because it got hard. We don’t say we're good enough because we're stronger than most people. We don’t ever, ever, ever say we could not be strong(er).

 We are not mindless, but conscientious

                             we are not without intention,  but act with intent

                                                                       we are not without purpose, we are purposeful


It’s a choice we make every single day of our lives,

we decide we will be better than yesterday,

we choose to be strong.