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4/24/2013 10:24:45 AM -

Five years or so ago, I worked with two guys (at my "real" job) who were college football teammates at a local school that had experienced some success. A couple of guys they played with made it to the NFL, and one of these particular guys had a shot at getting there if he hadn’t been injured his junior year. In other words, they were pretty good players.

At one point, I said something about the way I train. I don’t really remember how it came up, but I was telling one guy—a linebacker—that I was still squatting, deadlifting, sprinting, jumping, etc, etc, etc. His response?


In other words, what the hell was the point? As a college athlete, especially if you play for a decent team at a decent level, you feel a certain way when you’re done playing, like, “I’m done. I did it. I have nothing else to prove as an athlete, and I can f*****g relax now because I don’t have some asshole telling me to be in the weight room at 6 in the morning, yelling at me to do a whole bunch of shit I don’t want to do.”

I’ve felt that way a lot since I finished playing competitive sports—and that’s reflected a lot in some of my comments about all these “fitness lunatics” who are in sick shape now after they started lifting weights when they were 25 or so, i.e., the whole Kenny Powers, “I play real sports, man. I don’t want to be the best at exercising” thing.

For the past five years, since having that conversation, I’ve wondered why I do what I do. As I’ve said before, I’m not going to purport to be some kind of freak in the gym. This site is populated by world class lifters, and I’m not on their level in terms of performance.

I’m no slouch, though—and I can still do shit that turns heads in commercial gyms, at least, for what little that’s worth.

But that guy got me to thinking about why I bother. Ever since I stopped playing, nothing has really fired me up competitively. Not powerlifting meets or anything else. It’s like I shot my load playing ball for so many years, and I haven’t been able to find anything that matters other than competing against myself—and my training partners—in the gym. Yeah, I’m ecstatic when I set a PR, and I typically fall asleep at night thinking about the numbers I’ll be working with the next day in the gym, but I honestly don’t think I care as much about this as most people.

Competitiveness in coaching is another story altogether, and I’m leaving that separate. I’d cut off my left leg to win a football game—but I’m not playing, so that’s a whole different issue. I’m talking about the shit we actually DO.

After thinking about this over and over again, I’ve figured out that I still try to train the way “we” do because I want the best for myself. If someone handed you a million dollars and said, “Go buy whatever car you want, but you have to spend all the money on the car” would you go out and buy a Nissan Sentra? Hell, no. You’d buy the best possible thing you could find, and you’d trick it out with every amenity known to mankind.

That’s why those of us who, again, “shot our load” years ago still go out and do this shit—because there’s no point in settling for something less than the best. I don’t like the gym, really. I don’t like being there. I don’t want to go there to hang out, and I don’t want to go there to talk to people. I want to spend my 60-90 minutes there and get the most out of it that I possibly can. I’m not going to get that from running marathons, or doing CrossFit, or f*****g around with anything else.

I’m going to get the best quality product I can by getting as strong as humanly possible within the limits I have (time, because of work, and my desire to keep it natural). I’m not going to go out and get a Timex when I can have a Rolex for the same damned price.

So, that would be my answer to the guy who asked me why I still did “hard” shit in the gym even though it supposedly didn’t matter anymore. Why even bother spending that 60-90 minutes per day if you’re settling for the fifth, sixth, or seventh best product out there? You may as well just stay home.

Angry Coach

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