Strength is a funny thing, when you think you’re strong, something will be thrown at you that will keep you humble. When you think you lack strength, an opportunity will arise that will allow you to prove how strong you really are.
Training for physical strength has taught me two very important lessons in my 37 years.
Firstly, that being strong is an asset, having strength as a skill in my back pocket has built physical backbone and allowed me the capability to push my envelope and use this incredible machine I’ve been given at a moment’s notice, always able to handle whatever physical challenge life has thrown at me.
Imagine you were given a Ferrari on your 1st birthday and you kept it in the garage, under a cover to collect dust, never taking the wheel, revving that engine and allowing it to go at full throttle on the open highway?
Imagine that your gravestone read “what if”
I recently climbed Kilimanjaro, aside from the spiritual and enlightening journey that it was, I was able to climb this mountain at a moment’s notice. My body was prepared to endure the physical hardship both in strength and endurance without more than 4 weeks of physical preparedness, in fact I made no change to my existing training regime. I was strong. Having physical strength predisposed me to handle this opportunity at the drop of a hat. My brute force was an asset.
Secondly, I learnt that physical strength brings forth resilience and mental fortitude.
Day in and day out we build our bodies, we test our physical abilities and we push that proverbial envelope in our training. Most of us will go our entire lives without learning what our bodies are truly capable, and what’s far worse than this is that even more of us will not experience how tough we really are inwardly as we don’t position ourselves in situations that will challenge our psychological ability.
When it comes to training goals for most people, strength is just one of those things that’s lumped in with intelligence, love, money or sex – you can never have enough of it. Especially if you’re an athlete. Strength will give you a distinct advantage in any situation in life, even if you’re not an athlete, even if performance is not your focal point, training for strength as its advantage, from being obviously healthier to making your everyday life of carrying objects, to washing your car, mowing the lawn and introspectively improving your mental wellness by building a mind that is prone to handle tough emotional situations from work stress, to handling grief, being more confident and assertive in the workplace and having overall improved cognitive function.
If you look at virtually any activity in which strength would be beneficial you will learn that in order for increased strength to be beneficial, you would need to be able to take advantage of that strength over an extended period of time. Strength endurance is the key to keeping our engine fueled, and able to achieve whatever we set out to.
Kilimanjaro was unforgettable yet unforgiving. This is not a hard climb to any degree but it requires a set of skills that I believe each and everyone of us should possess.
Strength endurance and resilience.
After 5 full days of climbing, a dose of acute mountain sickness and a touch of self-doubt I had to tackle summit night. That first step in the dark, at -20 degrees my physical strength was my distinction, and the mental resolve I had been developing through my training for strength and powerlifting came to the party right when I needed it.
There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for the mental challenge of a tough physical challenge and I can tell you right now from this warm comfortable spot on my couch that without mental capacity, resilience and strength – you have nothing.
Whatever you do on a daily basis, however you train your body, make sure that the thing you doing is always developing your mind and is always pushing your “cerebral envelope” because without a strong mind, your dreams will quickly become extinct.