I had just finished my Friday morning weight training workout, which is usually a lighter workout since I go pretty heavy during the first part of the week. I was doing my normal cardio routine, 30 minutes of walking a steep incline on the treadmill, and noticed a small, skinny kid sweeping the floors at my gym. I know our head maintenance guy there fairly well, so this kid must be a new hire. He reminded me of myself in my younger years when I was just starting to lift weights. I remember having a part time job on Saturdays at the Powerhouse Gym in Pensacola, FL, my hometown. This was probably the mid-late 90’s. I was in my early 20’s and in fact, I had been lifting weights since I was about 15 (I had an extremely difficult time gaining mass). But I was that same skinny kid doing everything I knew to build muscle and grow. I’m guessing I was probably 140-150 lbs back then (I was only about 135 lbs when I graduated high school in 93). My job was to wipe down the equipment and help anyone that needed assistance.
I recall a specific incident of one of the staff coming over to me and telling me that this group of guys wanted me to go organize the dumbbell rack. You know how people are; they’ll put the 20’s in between the 40’s and 50’s, or there will be 75 lb dumbbell off on it’s own somewhere. The dumbbell rack can be a mess when people don’t put the weights back where they belong (and sadly, many do not!). The problem was that these were some pretty big dudes at the heavy end of the dumbbell rack training. I was intimidated and I remember saying ‘Man, I’ll just wait until those guys are done, then I’ll go organize the dumbbell rack.’ I didn’t want to walk my skinny 140 lb rear over there among these beasts that were over 200 lbs, pounding out sets of heavy dumbbell presses.
There are times when I wanted to throw in the towel because for so long it was such a struggle to gain weight and to get stronger. I’ll admit, I didn’t know a whole lot about nutrition back then, or supplements either. I wasn’t one of those guys that was naturally big or strong. I had to fight a world war for every ounce of muscle I got. But I couldn’t quit. I wasn’t anywhere near the size of most of the guys in the gym but I had come a long way from where I was. Nothing was granted to me in regards to genetics. I didn’t have a lot of money so buying adequate amounts of food and supplements were out. But I ate as much as I could and I trained with all heart.
My point to this reminiscence of my younger years is that you’ve gotta start somewhere. And it doesn’t matter where that starting point is. If you have the drive, the passion, that force that’s deep down inside that normal people can’t grasp, you know that you have to keep pushing no matter what odds are against you. You may never be the world’s strongest powerlifter and you may never attain the eye popping physique of a Mr. Olympia competitor. Or you may. It’s really all up to you and how bad you want it. But this passion for the weights goes much deeper than winning contests. It’s easy to get discouraged when you see someone that’s so much stronger or so much bigger than you. We should instead harness that and allow that to drive us to train even harder. This battle isn’t so much about beating the other person as it is a battle of you against you. Don’t worry so much about others; focus on you, your own training and your own nutrition and make a decision to be better today than you were yesterday. Remember, this is your passion, not someone else’s.
Train with Passion,