What to Do When Life Hits You Square In The Jaw

Billy asks…

What do you do when life hits you square in the jaw? Where your commitment and focus is 24/7 at the bedside of a love one after a long illness and their recovery takes up your full attention?

What to do when you obviously can’t workout under these types of life’s blows and your diet is going to suffer as well?

What you should be doing is train. You’re not going to convince me that you can’t free 3h/week to go to the gym, lift weights, and – most important here – keep your sanity. Heck, worst case you just Squat, which would take less than 30mins, and you’d still be doing more than 95% of the guys in your gym.

Some guys, when one thing in their life goes bad, react by throwing all the rest down the toilet too. They get into this negative, downward spiral where losing your job or breaking up with your wife doesn’t seem enough. They also need to quit training, eat crap, let themselves get fat, maybe even stop showering. Total self-destruction that obviously only aggravates the situation they’re in.

Other guys react to the exact same circumstances by keeping everything they can control under control (and you control more than you think). Because as Henry Rollins wrote in his legendary essay “Iron and the Soul” (1994), I quote…

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength.

As an example, during the time I was coaching StrongLifts Platinum Member Tom (page 76 inside the 5×5 report) he broke up with his girlfriend, his best friend attempted suicide, and he had lots of family issues. Many days he didn’t want to get out of bed, didn’t want to eat anything and didn’t want to train.

Yet he DID. I never saw him skipping a single workout.

You’ll say “but my situation is different”, and I reply: put me in your exact same situation and you’ll still see me training. Because it’s been now 12 years since I started lifting, and while I have trained 45 weeks per year on average, it NEVER was a day at the beach – working 2 jobs, working shifts & weekends, working nights, starting my own business, working 100h/week, not sleeping enough, often not motivated, freezing in my gym, too hot in my gym, injured, sick, …

Yet ALWAYS lifting.

I’m not special. I just know that life is tough and mean, and that you better get used to it fast. Start by reading Alan Low’s amazing story for a new definition of “life hitting you square in the jaw” – this guy is doing with 1 arm and 1 leg (in his frigging 50s!) what other guys with twice the limbs are too lazy to do. Jeez.

Look, you shouldn’t be as extreme as Arnold Schwarzenegger who claimed that he didn’t go to his father’s funeral because he had a competition. But you better make sure that you get a change of mind when things get rough.

I don’t care what your situation is but you go to the gym, lift and then eat. One, you’ll feel better afterwards. Two, you’re the guy – toughen up.