Let me explain my opinion and outlook on this world through lifting weights—a lifetime of relentless obsession and pursuit of muscle inside the four walls of a gym.

Where are you right now? I'm not talking about your physical location. I'm asking you where your mind is as you read this. Are you paying attention? Are you willing and wanting to learn something of value? 

Are you fully 100% here, or are you mindlessly skimming through this as you piss away time at work or class? Are you wasting your limited time on this earth because you're bored and need some temporary distraction from the reality of your existence—like a damn child whose brain has not yet fully developed?

Most people today can't concentrate on anything longer than 30 fucking seconds. I hope you can be honest with me and realize that I'm giving you my full, undivided attention as I write this—pouring my passion and soul into this to ensure a few of you will take something of value from this article. 

So for those few of you who are reading this seriously, let me do my best to offer something of value to you. 

It starts with a desire and a will to look better or get stronger. Maybe it starts as a kid because you were the fat one everyone made fun of, like me. Or perhaps you're the scrawny one, and it starts because you're sick of getting beat up by the bastard bullies at your school. Whatever the reason, you decided at some point in your life to start doing some form of physical activity to better yourself. You made a wise decision, even if at the time it was made in vein.

So you start doing something to get better physically. You LOVE it! You're hooked from the jump, and you give it a lot of your effort and energy. You VALUE it and give it hell. You scream with joy-filled pain as you feel that burn and then push past it! Your mom yells at you for being too loud and aggressive in your basement as you pretend to be Arnold and scream at the top of your lungs as you curl up the weight. 

PROGRAM DESIGN: 5/3/1 and Run

You lose yourself in your thoughts in between or during endless reps and sets. You have visions of being a superhero, saving the helpless and innocent from those evil doers or slaying the mighty dragon and rescuing the beautiful princess from certain doom.

With every rep, you scream with excitement and ecstasy as you push yourself to the absolute limit and imagine everything you'll do with these growing muscles.

But then something happens... 

You grow up and became an adult, told to act your age, and scolded for being passionate and intense. You're laughed at for wanting to be the hero and save the princess—that's for kids and losers who never grew up.

Society tells you that your dreams are unrealistic and to fall in line with normal people. 

Who the fuck wants to be normal anyway? 

What great thing did any normal person ever do? What extraordinary thing did an ordinary person ever do? Nothing! You see, you have to do extraordinary things to be just that…EXTRA-ORDINARY. 

Do you want to be another sheep in the flock, wandering through this blessing we call life? No! Hell no! Certainly not you, no, not you who is reading this article this deep into it. You, my friend, are different. You have a greatness that lies within you. You have a gift. And society, those normal people, and those sheep want to suppress it. They don't want you to let out your greatness because they fear it may make them look bad. It may make them have to work harder! It may make them realize that they are not fulfilling their life purpose. It may make them realize they live in the version of hell they created.

You can change your surroundings. You can ALWAYS control your response to anything thrown your way. You are always in control of your actions. You and you alone! And if you can control your actions and your responses to life events, you can control your destiny!

We aren't going to let them suppress it any longer! We are in this together. No matter what life circumstances you were born into, no matter your skin color, level of financial wealth, gender, sexual preference, religion, ethnicity, age, or genetics. If you have this gift inside, this rare and amazing gift of having a strong will and a desire to be great, you are the same as the rest of us. 

We must come together as brothers and sisters in iron arms and fight back against this society of normalcy! Be brave, like I know you can. Start getting comfortable being uncomfortable OUTSIDE of the gym. 

You know what it's like to step out of our comfort zone; the gym has taught us that under the bar. 

Put up or shut up. 

Take that risk of being crushed under that heavy iron bar for the potential reward of succeeding and achieving a new personal best! We love that feeling and thrive on being uncomfortable in the gym. It is how we get bigger, stronger, faster, more endured—it's how we get better! But that doesn't just have to be constricted or confined to the gym, my friend. This can be applied to life in general. 

Lifting those weights, pushing ourselves as hard as we possibly can for as long as possible, day in and day out, striving for those PRs in the gym, isn't so different from life outside of the gym as long as we consciously realize that and then deploy it into action consistently. 

Focus on you and your aspirations in life, no matter what others may think of them. 

Hell, it is YOUR LIFE, after all. Why keep living it for others? 

Utilize your ambitions and discipline gained in the gym and apply it to your life. You'll quickly realize that to become a truly strong person, you must be strong across all planes of existence and being. Engage in other activities that will increase your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical resolve. 

Treat all people with respect. 

Take the higher road. 

Become a role model for others like you, like us, including that younger generation that watches you with every move you make. 

Be a great leader via EXAMPLE, through actions or inactions. Having the discipline and willpower to do both is very important. Have the will to push yourself through the most harshest of situations, no matter what the level of risk or danger (action). Resist immediate self-gratification by not indulging in that bag of chips or having the resolve to put down the alcohol, chew, or drugs you know are slowly killing you and taking away from that greatness within (in-action). 

Great lives aren't made through comfort. Instead, they are made through adversity, consistency, and persistent hard-ass work—forged in the furnace of Hell. Iron is forged through fire! We MUST become the iron! 

Find your purpose. We all have one. Fight to fulfill it! 

Take chances. Fail. Get up. Try again. Don't quit. Don't you ever fucking quit! 

In the words of the great Tom Platz, don't ever let yourself leave the gym a loser!

Don't leave your life with what-ifs and regrets. Just go for it. 

Go with haste. Go with glory. Go with guts. 

And like we walk out of that gym with nothing left to give at the end of a great training session, feeling complete and fulfilled because of it, do the same with your life. 

Let the greatness from within bloom. Be your own unique individual and NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR IT! 

Do something unique and great with your life before you leave this earth. 

Discover your purpose and align your life to it.

write for elitefts

Mike Holder is from Royal Oak, Michigan. He is a United States Marine of eight years (Infantry, Mortars Division – 5.5 years; Scout Sniper – 2.5 years).

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