Are You Doing What It Takes to Gain Strength?

Yesterday, today, and the rest of his week, Jon North is training about 4h/day, lifting to his limit every session, even if he’s sore or not in the mood. No drugs or steroids are involved, but 9 hours of sleep every single night, 2 naps each day and lots of recovery methods like stretching, foam rolling and plain relaxation. The result: Jon is now only 5kg away of breaking the American Snatch record.

Obviously, you and me aren’t paid to train, so implementing that kind of routine is hard when you got to go to work. But imagine you do NOT have to work – would you be ready to do what Jon does? Could you stick to this kind of daily, strict routine for months, even when you don’t feel like it? Think about it.

12 years ago, I started lifting weights as a student. Then I became employed, working shifts and weekends. Now I’m self-employed, easily working 70h/week, sometimes more. Over the years, I’ve often not been in the mood to train. Most of the time I was training at home, alone, and had to motivate myself. It was too cold, it was too hot. I was sore, sometimes injured, and often had no time. Yet, I’ve averaged +45 weeks/year of training. I almost never miss a  workout unless planned. Because I may not be born to be strong or big with my skinny buillt and 6.7″ wrists, but I won’t let inconsistency prevent me to gain.

In August 2000, Tiger Woods almost lost the PGA championship but then won. What do you think he did the day after? Take a “well-deserved” break? No, he was back on the range, practicing. Everybody knows Tiger Woods trains more than his competitors: he wakes up at 6:30am, spends 5 hours on the golf course each day, add 2h30 of weight training + cardio. That’s more than 7 hours of training every single day, a day that ends at 7pm.

The other day, it was snowing abnormally heavily in Belgium. Not as bad as in NY, but pretty bad to Belgian’s standards. As a result, and for the first time, my new training partner didn’t show up. Well I may not get the best sleep ever with my 70h/work week, but I refuse to let some frigging snow get in the way of my training. I showed up and did my 440lbs sets of Deadlifts as planned.

Many guys want to have what others have but aren’t willing to do what it takes. Quick they are to accuse you of amazing genetics, steroid-use, cheating, luck, obsession, “freak”, crazy, and other utter nonsense that justifies their own lack of commitment and hard work. Yet it is this very behavior that keeps them from achieving the exact same results as the guys they envy deep down.

By the way, it’s perfectly okay if you don’t want to break American records and get your name in the books. I value other things to be honest and definitely don’t want to be great at lifting at the expense of the rest. Just don’t lie to yourself or others about it. Do not gramble when some guys Deadlift 400lbs in only 12 months of training. Realize this is a matter of priorities in the first place. Choose yours, act accordingly, and then be happy about it.