Written by: Coach James “I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts...The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.” – Henry Rollins, ‘The Iron’ The above quote is one of my favorites, and I strongly encourage everyone to read or listen to that short story in its entirety. As I’m sure everyone in this gym knows, Weightlifting is very near and dear to my heart. It has, on numerous occasions, quite literally saved my life. To those who have committed their lives to fitness, the outward manifestations of this lifestyle (i.e. muscles and PR’s) are just a fraction of the benefits to be had, and part of my goal as the owner of this gym is to share that feeling with as many people as will listen. Students and members alike often ask me what it takes to become strong, and my answer to them is usually something along the lines of, “Squat heavy, at least once a week, for a decade. Then, people will start asking YOU that question.” As with most worthwhile things in life, building strength takes a long time, and as any successful person in about any field will tell you, there’s nothing inherent that separates those who have from those who want aside from countless hours of focused, deliberate work behind the scenes. For me, Olympic Weightlifting has shown to be one of the best examples of this principle. Each training cycle in preparation for a meet is usually three to four months of 10+ hours in the gym each week, thousands of repetitions, all for six attempts on the competition platform. Sometimes, the struggle culminates into great successes, and other times, things don’t go as planned. All that work, just for the CHANCE at a moment of greatness. As Ben Bergeron often says, fitness is merely a microcosm of life, and the qualities and characteristics that lead to improved performance in CrossFit can often be translated into improved performance at work, improved relationships with friends and loved ones, and the list goes on and on. It is a commitment to excellence, choosing to do the small things you know are necessary, rather than cutting corners and just getting by. It is the understanding that your best effort, regardless of the outcome, is what’s most important and although we don’t expect perfection, we never allow ourselves to settle for “good enough”. Our world, like the fitness industry, is full of empty promises, encouraging short-term behavior changes with the false hope of long-term results. Multi-level marketing, 6-minute abs, roadside signs that guarantee 6 figure-jobs in as little as 12 weeks, meal replacement shakes and body transformation challenges, they all prey on our insecurities and target the instant gratification centers of our brains. The truth is, real success lies in playing the long game. Be it strength training, starting a business, or any other endeavor, the advice from those who have been there is the same: embrace the process, commit to the journey, and go after it with your whole heart. Decide for yourself which kind of life you want to lead. Will you fall victim to the next latest fad? Or will you choose the hard way, set your sights on your dreams, and do whatever is necessary to make them a reality?