Why Do You Train?
Jul 14, 2014
When I was in high school, we had a 300 club. It was a "club" of guys who could bench press 300 or more pounds. If you could press over 300 pounds, you got a T-shirt that you could proudly display over your inflated and pumped up pecs. It was awesome! Every guy wanted to be in that club.
It is really kind of funny now that I think about it. We didn't have a club for the squat or the deadlift, or even all 3 lifts. We only had a club for the bench press. Why? Because no one cared about the other lifts! That is the same reason health clubs once overflowed on Mondays - the designated chest day.
Anyway, when I was a sophomore, I got the T-shirt; which I proudly wore until it met it's demise in the laundry. I wore it a lot! I had a huge chest and string legs. I probably looked like I was riding on a chicken. Back then, for me, having a big bench meant something. It meant I was strong. It meant I was tough. It somehow meant I could play football. It symbolized power. (Keep in mind, I was a teenager. Though, I don't know that this mindset wasn't the case even in my mid-twenties.)
That was then. Today is different - for me. I no longer care about having a big bench. If someone asks the coveted question: How much ya bench? I simply say, "I have no idea." My views of strength and my goals for strength are different today than they were 20 years ago.
I simply want to be strong; not to advertise my strength on a T-shirt, but to be capable of enjoying life. I don't care how much I bench, squat, or deadlift. I don't really care how many times I can snatch a bell or a bar. I don't even care how far I can crawl. I only want to be strong and able. I care about that. I want to feel good. I want to feel strong. I want to be a capable husband and an able dad.
If I want to sprint, I want to be able to sprint like a teenager. If I want to climb a tree, I want to have the strength to do so - like a ninja. If my son wants to wrestle, I want to be able to tie him into a pretzel - even when he is 30. If my wife needs me to lift something for her, I want to be able to do it - always, at any age. If an adventure should call out to me, I want to be able to answer the call and then conquer it.
A strong bench press, or a 1000 pound squat, will not help me enjoy and conquer life. I know of a lot of people who are strong in particular lifts, but that is all they are strong at. They aren't really strong enough to enjoy the thrills and challenges of life, they are only strong enough to move the bar they are chasing after. I chased and fought the barbell for almost 20 years. And this is what I learned:
Many of us train for the wrong reasons. We train for temporary glory - for T-shirts, for recognition, for some mentally imagined prize or self-worth. Training for the wrong reasons leads to a life of "use to coulds." Who wants to live a life of "use to coulds?":
"I use to be able to...." , "When I was younger, I could....." , "I once pressed 378 pounds in a bench press contest...." Who cares about a life of "use to coulds?"
All of us should train for a life of "now", a life of "I can.":
"I can play with my kids." , "I can push mow my own lawn." , "I can go for walks." , "I can run." , "I can...."
"Now" is where life is found. The "now" that is, and the "now" that is to come. This is what matters. Life is found in the "now", in the moment. "Use to coulds" won't help you now. But "cans", "cans" will help you now.
How strong are you? How capable are you? How able are you? What can you do "now." Who can you be in the "now" to come? Life is found in the now.
Why do you want to be strong? Why do you train? To be able to say, "I used to could...", or to be able to say, "I can...."?
So, Can you?
Original Strength is the "I can." training system. It restores you. It allows you to live in the now.