The last few weeks, but specifically these last few days have made me reflect on the world events that are tying us together as a global community. Regardless if you are in the camp of 'much to do over nothing,' or 'this is really, really bad,' one thing is certain and that is the world is caught up in this happening.
It makes me pause and think back to a similar feeling that I had, and that feeling was on September 11th, 2001. There were those in the world who were then, like some now, gripped in fear of the unknown. That September event nearly 20 years ago now and this rapidly evolving worldwide event are each in their own way surreal and to that end galvanize the world in a manner of speaking.
That said, the world always has and always will have challenging times. Times that challenge us individually but also as communities. A professional mentor of mine stated to me some decades ago and it sticks with me to this day...."Only in a crisis do you know the type of leader that you truly are." That can also be modified beyond the professional world to, "Only during a crisis do you know the type of person you truly are." I say that as a crisis does not make the person, a crisis exposes the type of person one actually is.
During the race riots in LA during the early 90’s, vast portions of that city were shut down. It was vacant as stores everywhere closed, not unlike we are seeing today with schools, businesses, and gyms as well. During the race riots in LA triggered by the beating of Rodney King, the only place that remained open on the most riot riddled street was a gym. I recall reading an article back in that summer of 1992. I remember reading that this gym, full of all manner and color of lifter, was open during that chaotic scene because lifters, lift. That is what they do, that is what they did, and that is what you do as well.
In Dave Draper speak, with regard to strength, muscle, power and might, the beat goes on. We lift, we train, we compete, we hoist the weight, move the weight, feel the weight, grow stronger by the weight, get challenged by the weight, get built by the weight and become humbled by the weight.
Today (as of this writing), under the executive order of the Governor of the state of Illinois, strongmen and women, powerlifters and those chasing 'the pump,' were training at MONSTER GARAGE GYM on this last training session until the order is lifted, tentatively on April 8th. There is much debate about whether closing a gym or a business is the right or wrong thing to do, and on that, I am hardly an expert. What I do know is that true brothers and sisters of the iron train. Be it during a race riot, a terrorist attack by suicidal cowards or a rapidly spreading virus, right or wrong, we train. That is what we do, that is who we are, that is the cloth we are cut from. We lift, we train, we compete, we hoist the weight, move the weight, feel the weight, grow stronger by the weight, get challenged by the weight, get built by the weight and become humbled by the weight.
During this time while gyms are closed, lifters will find something to hoist, something to push, something to pull, something to carry, something to lift. They will rig up bands in all ways imaginable and they will exercise to maintain during this executive ordered and mandated deload.
Forced time away from the gym and training can have a value. It makes one appreciate what we often take for granted, our strength, power, and muscle. It makes us appreciate the training partners we have that we also take for granted, even those who work our last nerve. It makes us appreciate the feel of the weight in our hands, the steel bending on our back, the grit of the chalk on our fingers, the sting of ammonia in our nose and the dripping of sweat from our brow.
We are lifters and as much as we love training and love the gym, being forced to lose that for a moment in time has a value. It rekindles the flame of our training into a fire and that fire after a time away from the gym ignites into a raging inferno.
Take this time to recommit to your goals, short, medium and long term. Take this time and hone in on the nutrition you always talk about but never seem to do. Take this time and rest and recuperate, take time and put away the devices and open up a book about training methods or nutrition. Take this time you have away from the gym to enhance your focus and commitment and apply those to your training once your gym is open and you are back at it. Take his time to become even more ravenous for the weights. Lastly, use this time to reflect on the now undeniable fact that you never realized how much you took your training for granted until it was forced away from you. That is a feeling some lifters have after catastrophic and sometimes career-ending injury, but you are being granted that insight without having to endure the surgery and the limitations, sometimes permanent, that follow the uncertain road to recovery. Remember this feeling and recommit to seize the day each and every day when you return to the gym and that oh so sacred of things, hard training.
I close with this quote during these unsettling and uncertain times.
“Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.”
Wishing you health, wellness, strength, power, and size. Ever onward.