Abandon all weakness, ye who enter here.

What it Takes to Be Strong – How Perseverance Will Make You a Beast

You are nowhere near your limit. There is always a way to get better in strength training. That is one of the best things about physical culture; no matter the impressive skills of elite professionals in physical culture, they can always surpass their limits. You can improve much further beyond whatever fitness level you are currently at. You won't become a beast without expanding beyond your limits. How?

Don't stop.

It's a simple instruction, but it's one that's affected me in my training. This particular day, I was bench pressing with my pal Marcus, who does Thai boxing and is pretty fit mentally and physically. He was spotting me and watching me struggle to do my eight rep. The weight seemed to defeat me, so I resigned myself to only doing eight reps. Yet, Marcus hovered his hands under the weight and seemed to change his mind. He told me simply, “You can do ten.”

TEN?! The seven reps I had just done were already fatiguing my muscles, and I hadn't even succeeded in my eighth. As if reading my mind, he told me “Don't stop.” Rather continuing to go through my mental excuse checklist, I repeated the advice to myself. Don't stop. You got this. You went more than halfway through, Don't Stop.

The weight only seemed like a nuisance then, a nuisance that was blocking me from my goal of being strong. I pushed that nuisance away until I got 10 reps in. I didn't suddenly get stronger; I had the strength to reach those ten reps all along. My MINDSET made the difference.

I had let the weight dictate how strong I was, so I was defeated before it really even became a struggle. When I made the decision to take responsibility for my own strength, I couldn't stop because I was tired. I couldn't stop because I was fatigued. I couldn't stop until I was done, and as painful as it was, that was the most gratifying feeling to have.

There is often a little juice left in the tank that we can only access when our primary tank runs out. That primary tank is our energy; we start with enthusiasm and hydration and verve toward our workouts. Persistence is the only thing that will push you to need that second tank, the willpower. Your ability to grow bigger muscles, your strength, all of your efforts will be diminished unless you push yourself to empty. Don't stop til you're done. That is the mark of a beast.