Picture of author on the deadlift platform at The Mecca Gym in Meridian, Idaho

FREEDOM is closer than you think

Why are we afraid to risk?

No, this isn’t a post about national freedom. It’s about mental freedom. If you’re not up for that, you can gladly move on to your next read…

Strength will do more for you mentally

For many of us who participate, powerlifting is freedom. It’s therapy. It’s what keeps us from tying a noose to hang our sanity and individual potential…

Any strength athlete who competes whether it be sanctioned or mock meets, knows the moments before pushing or pulling an RPE 10 in the squat, bench and deadlift. And what it takes is something that you don’t know unless you’re in it.

If asked any random person off the street to pull 405 pounds off the floor, 99% would say no. Most people, for the sake of their health and the risk of injury would tell me I’m fucking nuts…and rightfully so. I’d be a horrible human asking that of a untrained human. Even 315 or 225 are numbers most people wouldn’t attempt(if you know 405, 315, and 225….we should be friends).

Asking this of anyone is obviously crazy. As an athlete myself and a future CPT, I know the physiological adaptation that’s needed to do these things. And that’s why I’m proud to be a person that can. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone…I’m saying this is a skill most people don’t want to undertake.

But, what are we if not the most potentially awesome species this world has ever created?

Anyone can be an athlete. Limitations don’t exist unless you set them yourself. I feel strong as a 145lb lifter, yet I still saw an amputee with a prosthetic from left knee down just today pull 460 pounds off the floor. Limitations. Don’t. Exist…unless YOU set them.

The moment before a max attempt on one of these lifts is one that’s crucial for lifting heavy weight.

It’s just you, your music of choice, and your ability to believe you can do something you’ve never done. It’s focus. It’s confidence. It’s muscle fiber recruitment to the max. It’s a moment that so many other humans don’t have to conquer, nor do they want to. Not like this. Max effort lifting takes all of you, all at once. It can be exhausting.

The mental game

Truly, there is arguably no cheaper mental adaptation through struggle than strength training. There is no therapist. You’re the therapist. There is no person that can tell you that you can make this lift more than yourself.

Powerlifting is an angel and a demon all at once. You’ll be stronger than most, yet still at risk for breaking down. You’ll sustain mental and physical strength, deter aging, create bone density, and make physical life overall easier…but you’ll also deal with hours used to maintain it, ghosting aches and pains, and have an unrelenting discipline for sleep, diet, and sessions. You gotta give up some average stuff to do this.

It will test you daily. You will have to fight yourself on days you don’t want to go, you’ll have to push through sets and reps when you feel exhausted both physically and mentally. You’ll push through wanting to quit thousands of times…for years.

Being any form of athlete no matter what it is will always take sacrifice.

Not everyone wants to be here. Fuck, there are months when I don’t want to be in this…but I’ll also be able to look back and know I’ve done what most people can’t or won’t. One of the few things that I can be proud of before I leave this place.

And that’s worth the risk of training and breaking barriers.

You’re 1 in 1000…

A 2018 study said that only 23.2% of US adults met the recommendations for weekly physical activity in 2018

I truly wish more people could understand what it’s like to be in a sport as an adult. To me, it will never matter what you do, but how you include it in your life. You don’t have to be a pro making six figures or on the face of a cereal box. That’s not the best part. The best part is doing what an excessive amount of people won’t.

True freedom is realizing what the body is capable of.

Call it whatever you want….but we were meant to move. We were meant to adapt, to grow, and to sustain years of physical adversity. Just because we don’t have to run from predators or climb trees for fruit doesn’t mean we can get away with it.

Long(and healthy) life with require you to train your body and mind…and if you do, you’ll get moments that so many others don’t.

Worth it.

Ever thought about powerlifting? I promise, anyone can do it. Belief is half the battle, action is the other. Check out my IG account, @damusclehamster and look into all the other strength athletes that will show you what powerlifting is all about…you might just like it.

Stay strong and free my friends.



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