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Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Mention the word strength and we usually receive this reaction filled with images of bulking up, lifting weights that only powerlifters, bodybuilders, Elite CrossFit athletes and strongmen have seen. We walk among those that believe strength is for the reserved few. We walk among those that feel strength can only be worked on till a certain age. “There is no way strength can help me with my problems”; “Everything hurts, it feels like my body is broken I don’t have what it takes to work on strength”.

When it comes to holding back our potential, here is the worst offender - “I can't, I'm not strong enough”.

Training allows us to create a higher potential, and our belief in ourselves allows us to reach for that potential and achieve it. One without the other gives us 50% of the formula. Strength is not merely lifting weights. It is not only physical. It is a physical manifestation of our mental conditioning. Carry that thought into every action, every day and you have taken on one of the most addictive, beneficial, and calming concepts in our life: Strength. It is a necessary part of the rehabilitation process, it is crucial in building confidence, it is inevitable when working on physique or performance (regardless of what your aim is). None of this is to say that there aren’t those that take an incorrect approach to it. We can not expect everyone to be able to do the same thing, we can not expect the same rate of progress for everyone, and we can not expect to eat and train like an elite athlete and be like them (there is a much better chance of breaking ourselves doing that).

Taking motivation to be better from those you look up to is very different from trying to be exactly like them. Be the best version of yourself, not someone else. Be honest with yourself about where you stand currently, set where you want to go, map out how to get there, put your head down and get to work. If you look behind, you only look to see how far you have come. Keep moving forward. If you must stop, stop to collect yourself before you begin again. The nature of strength is that it gives itself to those that yearn for it and work for it. Obstacles that appear as injuries, hardships, time restraints, are all merely opportunities to push forward to overcome them for where we want to go. This is the same idea behind resistance training. The only thing standing in the way between gravity pulling that weight down (the obstacle), and moving the weight against gravity (our relentless effort) is us (the true obstacle). There is a fairly famous quote from Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t….you’re right.” This is in reference to the attitude with which we approach everything in our life. Mind you this does not mean that “I think I can, so I can go lift a car tomorrow”. It means that when you think you can, you admit to yourself that you’re not there yet, but you are willing to put in the work to get there, and get there we will. When we adopt this mentality, we create endless opportunities for ourselves because we have opened our mind and built our capacity for relentless pursuit.

Strength is seen mostly at a physical level, but it begins mentally. It begins as belief, and determination. We all exhibit strength in our lives; however, it is not a conscious effort. It comes to us naturally when our children and other loved ones need us. Most (unfortunately not all) rise to the occasion when they are backed into a corner and there are no other options in their mind but survival. When an individual is willing to work three jobs and make it somehow and are willing to never stop to leave their struggles behind, strength is seen there. When we see a College/Uni student sleeping on the bus after class on the way to an overnight job to pay bills and send money back home, we see strength there. When a single parent decides to be a provider, a friend and a parent to their child(ren), we see strength there. When a baby is learning to walk and keeps falling but keeps getting back up we see strength there. All because of an unwillingness to quit. Strength must begin as a mental process before it shows up as a physical result. Strength is for the elite athlete, but it is also for every person willing to go toward it and work for it. It will stay with those of us that aren’t willing to leave it. It is the greatest addiction we could ever have. It is more complex, and more rewarding than what many think, so take this opportunity, step forward and claim it for yourself…’s time.

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