Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Power of Focus

I have always despised excuses. I would rather be told the truth than hear some lame excuse about why someone can't train. And I have heard them all. I would say that the most frustrating one for me is the "My wife (or girlfriend) doesn't want me to train today." Or "My wife (or girlfriend) has some chores for me to do." Or some bull about a "honey do list." C'mon, man.

So you mean to tell me that the one thing that you do for yourself, the one thing that is going to make you a better man, a stronger man, a healthier man, is something that is negotiable for you? That all of that other stuff cannot wait so that you can have one hour a few days a week for the betterment of yourself? Leave her. Or him. It doesn't matter. It's ridiculous. And amazingly soft.

Get your ass to the gym. Go alone. Go because you must go. Go because it is for sure about physical health but also about your mental health.

Because the solace of training is something that I have come to love, have come to look forward to, have come to count on when all the distractions such as phone and computer and people  and traffic and the noise of life become too much to take. Training becomes a welcome respite to real life.

I use training as others use meditation. I don't talk when I train. The only words are a quick hello to the cheery girl at the front desk and maybe I will ask if I can work in when someone else is using a piece of equipment. I try not to make eye contact with others when I am in the gym  because it just invites them to waste more of their life and mine by saying something inane to me regarding who the hell knows what, and I am definitely not interested.

Sometimes, when I am done, I watch people. The guy on the phone at the squat rack, the ten people that are watching videos on their phone or texting while actually lying on the bench between sets. Just stop it. Go away. Go do something that really excites you. Then, if you have any testicles at all, make up your mind that either you will get serious about it all or quit altogether. That special protein and peanut butter smoothie won't do you a bit of good if you don't actually break down some muscle by training. 

Muscle and strength are so hard to come by that you must squeeze out everything that you have in order to make gains, and you are definitely hampering them by not concentrating fully.

My friend and champion powerlifter Kirk Karwoski used to say that when he is training that he doesn't want to hear about "your old lady, your problems or who you were with last night."  To Kirk, his training time was sacred and he didn't want to waste a minute with frivolous , distracting silliness. 

And the thing about all of this is that training can be still enjoyable because the enjoyment comes from being in the "zone" or " flow state" where you are lost within yourself and moving and sweating and striving and pushing and finally, relieving all that was in your head before. And all thoughts are gone because there is only the rep right in front of you and only that matters and when you are finished, your thoughts are clear and everything that you were so worried about before seems like not such a big deal now, and what were you so worried about anyway?

 So let go of it all, find the state that allows you to be present and allows you to go deep inside of yourself to tap into the inner drive that needs to be exercised just like your muscles do, and you will never look back. You will yearn for it and wonder why you have not always gone to that magical place all of your training life.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a year...it's for life. Whether its training or your family or your job...it doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.