Editor’s Note: When I saw Colby getting stoked like all hell at ~1:40 in the video below, I asked him, “WTF is going through your mind? What are you doing to get so pumped in the weightroom like that?”
His response became what I think is the absolute best write-up on the passion for weight training that I have ever read.
Colby Gets Pumped. A Real Man’s Story:
This topic was meant to be a serious yet humorous article about why and how I tend to get so intense in the gym, as I begun I quickly realized this a lot more, therefore, this will be an inside look into my life that I have not shared with many individuals. Please be respectful to that.Growing up I was raised with typical values and morals, I grew up in the church and excelled. My dad taught me if I am going to do something, do it, be there; reminding me of the quote from Star Wars “do or do not, there is no try” – this is the mentality I have carried with me throughout my life. Those values coupled with my mind set I developed through 5 years of law enforcement training (warrior mentality, you get shot keep fighting, finish the fight, don’t give up, protect, etc.) my mindset was further developed by watching a lot of intense films, videos, and role models in my life.
Films/Videos – I realize this might come off as a bit cheesy for some, but watching, relating and emulating the passion and emotion found in intense films such as 300 and other films have impacted the way I view the world and further concreted those values and mentality I have concerning intense moments. Videos posted on YouTube such as Power Lifting motivation videos, body building, and team mate’s videos also played a role in deciding to emulate their passion and energy inside and outside the gym.
Role Models – My father has always been a strong figure in my life, he introduced me to weight lifting and taught me a lot about having a strong passion and to go after it aggressively. Other role models include Adrian Larsen, Chris Duffin, Jeff Pearson, Mike and the rest of the team at Elite Performance Center who encourage and push me and the rest of the team to reach past our potential and become world class athletes. Often time sessions become very intense with a great deal of yelling, grunting and puddles of sweat mixed with blood. We saddle up and don’t accept being ordinary or average.
Why I liftTo begin to understand why I push myself so hard day in and day out we need to analyze why I and so many workout so often. As Dexterium stated it, “What Fuels Your Fire.” It was a video response I posted to this that really got me thinking about this topic. We all have different reasons but here are mine.
I grew up playing sports from the time I was old enough to walk, soccer then basketball, football and finished at rugby. I earned a lot of playing time but was never the athletic kid. I was quite uncoordinated, and for lack of a better word, unfit in regards to the rest of the team. Going into my freshman year of high school I started “hitting the weights” for football. I was a little intimidated by the seniors and other kids lifting; I might have put up 100lbs-135lbs on the bench press, which somehow impressed the kids in my age group. It was my first glimpse of acceptance by the other kids.
As the years progressed through freshman and sophomore year I kept my nose to the grindstone, taking “advanced placement, honors” classes but I kept reading and watching those who weight trained and slowly began progressing.
My junior year is when I really dove head first into weight training, and in all honesty is was all for an ego, meaning I (at first) fed off the looks, the acceptance, the compliments and even “hate” I received. The top moment that year is when a senior had the bar loaded on the bench and failed, I waked over and asked if I could try it, they laughed and told me to get the heck out of their way, one kid told them to let me try so they could watch me fail; I then proceeded to add 10lbs to the bar and slap out a quick rep, they were stunned. From then on I was allowed to lift with the “big boys” in the school and was even asked questions. This is where the passion really began and originated. Life events and drama further fueled the fire and lead to the “obsession” and intensity we see today.
By senior year there was no turning back from the road I was headed down. Each and every term I was in the weight training classes, a shaker cup of Jack3d, head phones on and pouring sweat. While most kids were sitting the corner with a bouncy ball or jumping rope I was grunting, having friends scream in my face, slapping my face and repping [email protected] years old, 186lbs (roughly).
A few years later I have turned this passion with the weights into something productive, healthy and a bit “obsessive” according to my peers.
Why the Passion/Aggression?To say I am passionate about weight lifting is a bit of an understatement. There are few things that can pull me away from missing a work out; I schedule my life around the gym. I have had to hit 1am or later workouts just to get them in, I refuse to miss a lifting session due to sickness or injury (unless they prohibit me from lifting) I have awoken at 3am to be in the gym and as stated above stayed up to all ends of the night to lift, I lifted on Christmas eve and Christmas. Often times I will not go out on Friday night with the guys because Saturday morning I know Chris will be pushing me past the limits I have set on myself and demand I rip 600+lbs off some blocks. Many people will look at this and think I have an issue, and they might be right to a certain degree; I however in my current position in life wouldn’t have it any other way.
Reflecting now on this topic has been eye opening. I would say to a certain degree I used to weight train and push myself the way I do to find acceptance, something to be respected for and affirmation that I am doing well. I also have created an identity around it, not necessarily to my liking. For instance, I can’t go or do anything without being asked about the gym, diet or comments on my shirt being too tight or whatever the case might be; some of this is brought on by me, other times not. To state it plainly lifting made me “popular.” People who see me now and knew me when I was in school do a double take and look me up and down and are impressed, not to mention the attention from the opposite sex is a motivating factor to some degree.
The aggression of my lifting is simple to identify – I have experienced a few less then pleasant situations in my life that have left me wanting “hulk out and smash.” Weight training has been a constant outlet for that aggression. I also feel as if I compensate for past failures and try harder and harder to achieve for those failures. When you see me “in the zone” yelling, hitting my face, hyperventilating, pouring a small valley of sweat and lifting till I fall over I am focusing on me vs. the weights, pitting myself against who I was yesterday, I am also listening to very intense music and running those negative thoughts, emotions and failures through my brain and then crushing them by achieving.
During my stint with law enforcement (5 years as a Cadet-worked my way to the top by becoming Captain) I learned a lot about mindset training and again learned from Adrian about training your mind to push past those mental limits you set upon yourself. Back to Cadets, during my time I was an active member, lead trainings/meetings among a variety of other tasks but during a few “ride alongs” (working a shift with a Deputy, an extension of them in a majority of situations, best experience ever) I witnessed and laid eyes on the worst society can offer. I witnessed things that perhaps left a permanent image sketched in my head (speaking of dead bodies) tragic situations/scenarios and was constantly on high alert. I contribute these experiences to part of my intensity in the gym, taking out that anger of the unexplainable. The things that don’t make sense, won’t and can’t.
As I continue to grow and mature my lifting is still keeping the same energy levels and in some cases increasing but for less egotistical reasons and learning to control the negative self-talk and apply it healthily. I have begun leaving my pride at the door, I am simply not the biggest baddest wolf in the gym, there is always someone who is going to be better, and I just want to be the best me I possibly can. However, being a competitor I am always comparing my numbers to others and have the drive and motivation to beat/break records. I have high goals set for myself and know I will meet and exceed them with time.
Lessons Learned and Benefits
Adhering to a strict training schedule, diet, and surrounding myself with goal orientated individuals has definitely been a blessing in my life. Pushing past my limits has been rewarding. The rest of life just seems so easy; school, work and social performance is “up”. I am a very task/job orientated person and would like to think I apply the same passion as I do for weights in other areas of my life.
Lifting has been a healthy outlet for stress, anger and has put me in touch with others who share my desire and I have made countless lifelong friends. There seems to be a “tribal” bond with these I lift with, helping each other when we stumble or need someone to talk to. I have been more than impressed with what we have a team do for each other when times get rough.
I have done my very best to give back to the sport of weight training by writing various articles to help beginners, coaching those who ask for my help and encouraging team members. I also try to conduct behavior to be respectful and set an example for those who might look up to me just as those who I look up to.
Train Hard, There is no Substitute
While writing this piece I was as open and honest as I think I have ever been regarding this topic. Weight training might have started from selfish roots but has taken on a life of its own and is helping me achieve tasks I might have once thought impossible. Weight training has boosted my self-confidence and allowed me to accept my flaws and work daily on improving upon them to become the best me possible. So the next time you walk by, watch one of my videos or read something I write you will now know why I have such a serious, intense, passionate look on my face and the will/drive to achieve.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
I encourage all of you to go and unlock your potential.