"Do you compete?"
"Well a few things. I compete in powerlifting."
"So you're a powerlifter."
"Not exactly. I also train in fighting down with the Krav guys."
"So you're an MMA fighter?"
"But you train in MMA?"
"Yeah but that's not my main focus. In fact I'm not training for fighting right now."
"Oh what are you training for?"
"Well, right now I need to get leaner so I'm doing a lot of conditioning, dieting a bit."
"Do you have some sort of competition coming up?"
"Just my usual."
"Try to get better."
This was a recent conversation I had with this young man who stopped me as I was walking out of the gym.
I've known this for a while but I don't "love" anything but training anymore. I like to powerlift and get stronger, but I'm not a powerlifter. I don't live and breathe it. I'm just as excited about getting stronger on chins and incline press as I am anything else.
I'm not a bodybuilder. I don't want to diet for 14-16 weeks and get up on stage and smother salad dressing all over myself and flex. I admire the grueling ass shit those guys have to do, but it's just not for me at all. But I still want to look a bit like a bodybuilder to be honest. I think there is a bit of a hidden bodybuilder in every guy that steps into a gym for a long enough time.
I am not training fighting right now because it beats me to shit and my elbow won't hold up at the moment. I also want to total 1800 raw when I do a meet again, and personally if that happens I don't know if I will ever do another powerlifting meet. I love to train in that fashion but it's not my "love". For a long time martial arts was my love, but I'm not sure if it is anymore either.
Football was out years ago. The last practice I had for an Arena team I woke up the next morning and could barely move my neck and instead of relishing that pain like I used to, it was a nuisance. I knew I was done with that right then.
So what is your "bang"? When I say bang I mean what is it that you are training for? What drives you?
The fact is, most of us are generic men in that regard. What I mean is, our goals are vague and generic and it all reality it looks like this.....
I want to look badass
Lift some badass weights
That's about it.
Those are generic goals, but in our own mind we know what they mean. You can't explain to the next guy what you mean exactly when you say you want to look badass. But generally speaking we mean we want to be in shape, be lean, look good nekkid, have our clothes fit good.
You can't always explain what you mean in words what it means to feel badass. But it's probably something like be able to do a shit ton of hills and not feel winded, do an hours worth of 60 yard sprints and feel great when you're done, go trail hiking or canoeing or whatever for the whole day and kick ass doing it.
Lifting some badass weights is more tangible. You can say "I want to squat, bench, deadlift, press X amount" and there it is.
Our "bang" is fairly generic but specific as well. We aren't always training for something, but yet we are. Sometimes we get off track in the vision of it, but we can get it back too if we find something more specific to latch onto.
There is nothing wrong with this. Sure, it's always great to compete and put it on the line but you have to keep that into perspective as well. I've trained my ass off for months for meets and pulled out last minute because of an injury or because of other issues. If I can't show up and perform well I would rather not. I've done it before and it felt like the biggest waste of time ever, and all I ended up to show for it was a badly blown out adductor. Never again. Fuck that. Wasn't worth it.
The only bad part about being the generic man is, you can sometimes toil around in supreme mediocrity for a long time, and lose sight of how to get out of it. I've done this too. I kept on training, but had no real goal other than showing up. Then I realized that years had gone by, and I hadn't progressed in anything. I mean anything. Wasn't any bigger, or leaner, or in better shape, or stronger. Nothing. No progress made in years.
What the hell?
When you wake up to these moments of clarity it can be a very sobering and depressing experience. It's during those times that you might sometimes hear the phrase "are you still working out?"
God damn I hate that one.
It's phrased many different ways too.
"Did you stop working out?"
"Did you used to workout a lot?"
"You look skinny."
"You used to be like...wow real big and shit."
"Oh you workout?"
Now sometimes when you are in the midst of transition from fat guy to being in shape you can get these. I don't sweat that. It's all part of the game. It's when you know nothing has changed and you get it. That means somehow you have gone backwards and that's a shitty feeling. When other people actually notice that you haven't gotten better. You kick less ass than ever. Is there a worse feeling than this? I mean besides taking a javelin to the taint. I think not.
Sometimes it's good to get ridiculed to snap you out of a funk.
And then you gotta turn shit on. You have to define some of the generic man goals. Get your waistline down to X size, get your bodyfat tested and then decide on what you will go for.
This just isn't about goal setting but getting your shit back together. The guys who don't compete but still want to be awesome for awesomesake still need to train at times like a competition is on the line.
Write down (realistic) goals -
Write down (realistic) timeframes -
Study on the best way to accomplish written down (realistic goals -
Kick fucking ass -
This is it in a nutshell. Training for the sake of training is fine if your goal is maintenance only. If you have some real goals, what the fuck are you waiting for?