I recently watched an interview in which Steve Jobs said that the only way to be find true happiness and success is to be a little crazy. His reasoning was that you have to be crazy to stick to your dreams when times are tough—you can’t see the end of the tunnel, and everyone is telling you to give it up. This really hit home for me not only as a gym owner, but also as a lifter. Mr. Apple kind of opened my eyes to the fact that very few of the decisions I make or have made are very rational.

A sane person isn’t going to push his body to the point of injury, pain, and discomfort just for a bigger lift, a little more muscle, and/or a little less fat. Why would he? If every part of your being is saying quit, shouldn’t you quit? If you feel like your heart is about to explode, shouldn’t you stop and catch your breath? If you feel like your muscles are going to snap, shouldn’t you stop the set or take some weight off? I don’t know how to answer those questions, or at least I don’t know how to answer them in a logical way.

As a trainer, it is often difficult for me to understand the mindset of some of my clients who struggle. On one hand, they tell me they want results. On the other hand, many do very little of what I ask them to do. And yet, I understand that what I am asking them to do goes against what their logic tells them...

I often wonder if in order to see success in fitness, you must possess a certain level of lunacy. Personally, I know that the smallest chance of improvement, of victory, is worth putting myself through hell. Why? I don’t know. I can’t really say. Maybe I’m crazy.

After 14 years of training, the gains don’t come quite as easy as before. I have to push harder and I have to push smarter. My returns are diminishing, but I can’t quit. I used to train in a commercial gym, but I got tired of being the outsider. I got tired of being the weird one. I wanted a place where people like me could come together and push each other, a place where improvement was inevitable…a place for the insane.

So I created it. I made the ideal training facility. Anyone who is serious about training would love it. It has all the equipment elitefts™ followers drool over. But opening up my gym was scary. I had to work 80+ hours a week for zero pay for three months. Looking back, putting all my time, money, and efforts into building my dream wasn’t exactly a logical decision. I only had a handful of members and clients at the beginning, but then they slowly started showing up. Powerlifters, strongmen, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts from all around Memphis started showing up and signing contracts. I figured that once they got a taste they’d be hooked, and while many were, not all of them were quite as fond of training in a serious training facility. What I came to realize is that while many “lifters” like to bitch about their commercial gym, they also like being the big fish in the small pond. They don’t like it when not one person bats an eyelash at a 315-pound bench press. They don’t like half-squatting 405 pounds next to a 54-year-old squatting 600+ below parallel. And they don’t like not being the “go-to” guy for knowledge at the gym. As a business owner, this frustrated me. I listened and watched as people begged and pleaded for a serious gym in the Memphis area. I listened to their bitching and moaning about all the commercial facilities that they were forced to train at. I listened to them complain about the equipment, the music, and the people. And so I gave them exactly what they asked for. I gave them the best strength equipment out there, I gave them hardcore music on the best sound system you’ve ever heard, and I gave them a gym full of serious lifters—guys and girls that live to train. And they gave me back excuses. Every excuse under the sun. As a business owner, this frustrated me.

But as a lifter, I am grateful for this. Why? Because they were full of shit to begin with. They never had what it takes to be successful. They weren’t willing to make the sacrifices and the tough decisions, and they weren’t willing to deal with the pain and discomfort. They weren’t willing to step out of their comfort zone. And that’s okay with me because I know the guys and girls that train at NBS are exactly the type of people I want training here. I didn’t create NBS to attract a large, diverse group of people. I created it to attract the people willing to look the lion in the eyes. And that is exactly what they do, day-in and day-out. Because they are all insane…and I love it.