Originally posted in Closer To Awesome - August 3, 2011
"Strong People Are Harder To Kill And Generally More Useful ." - Mark Rippetoe
I love this quote. I mean, really love it, to the point that I wish it was mine. Of course, like many quotes, it's a very slight variation of the original, but I like this version better. It rolls off the tongue and gets right to the point - strength is more than a vanity or hobby. It makes you a tougher contender. Tougher to kill physically, tougher to stop mentally, tougher to cripple emotionally. Strength training builds a better body. Period. Do it right, and you're less prone to injury, less prone to illness, and less prone to the breakdown of aging. You'll also find that you become less of a sissy, more confident, and more prone to viewing the world with an internal locus of control - basically meaning that you take some responsibility for yourself. If you find yourself disagreeing with these statements either a.) you're doing it wrong, or b.) you don't train at all and want a justification.
Strong people really are physically harder to kill too. Doubt what I'm saying? Go grab a strong man or woman and try to wrestle them. Have fun. Predators don't like things that can fight back. Nothing in nature goes after something it's going to have to work harder than necessary for, especially if there's a chance of losing. This may sound a little out there. After all, most people get involved in fitness to get in better shape. Personally, I like the concept of training for survival. It's not just about how you look, but how you perform and how you function. Incidentally, the better you can perform, the better your appearance will become (unless you eat a lot of crap all the time, then you'll just be fat, but able to do really cool stuff).
Strength training is just as much a mental and emotional skill as it is a physical one. For me, when the chips are down, do I have the strength to endure hardship and do whateever it takes to provide for the safety and well being of my family, or will I fold and give in because it's easier? Here's an epiphany- nothing worthwhile comes easy or without cost. The lessons you learn through pushing yourself training will help you persevere in every area of your life when things get difficult.
Too many people quit too soon these days. They give up on marriages, relationships, friendships, children, dreams, and ideals. I'll say it again. Nothing worthwhile comes easy or without cost. So, how far will you go to make your marriage work before giving up? How long will you stick with a friend in need at your expense? Where's the point where your patience gives and you lash out at your child? Can you endure unfavorable working conditions because it puts food on the table? Are you willing to do what it takes to make your dream a reality? In this day and age, can you readily adapt to immediate changes in your way of life?
Yeah, strength training builds hard, resilient, capable bodies. It also builds perseverance, endurance, and discipline. It's what we call Mental Toughness. Simply put, strength is the ability to overcome resistance. It's the ability to overcome. Overcome the weight in the training room, overcome hardship in relationships, overcome circumstances in life, and ultimately, overcome yourself.
Eric Chasko is the head of Redemption Fight Club. He is a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Progressive Fighting Systems Full Instructor. From young athletes to busy professionals, he helps people develop the physical, mental, and emotional strength to win on the field, on the street, and in life.