Most people think of strength as being able to move or carry a lot of weight. A person that squats 400lbs is looked at as strong. To me strength has a much more deeper and powerful meaning, strength can define you as a person both physically and mentality.
I grew up in a very small farm town in North West Ohio, where there were three things for people to do, farm, hunt and drink beer. After being in the city of Toledo for college and two years after for work, my wife and I decided to move back to the small farm town where we both grew up. At this point, fitness was a passion of mine, but I found that no one else seemed to do anything physical. Everyone’s weekends were filled with going to the same two bars, drinking beer, and eating greasy food. This is where my mental strength was put to the test. It was difficult being the odd one out in most social outings. I would constantly be asked, “well why aren’t you drinking?”, or “come on, you work out, a few drinks won’t hurt you will it?” and yet every time I would have to explain that wasn’t my cup of tea. I didn’t need alcohol to go out and have fun, but it was hard for people to understand that. Similar questions would be asked when I would prepare my own food to take somewhere. I would have to explain that it was not meant to offend anyone but I need to eat certain things and certain times. Sure it would have been easier to give in, have a few drinks, have some good greasy pizza, and not care about what it does to my body. But mentally I would feel weak, I knew I was stronger than that. Fitness and health are very important to me so I have built up my mental strength to be able to go out with people who may not eat like me and still have a blast. On that note, you will never see me question someone for eating fried food, drinking beer or not exercising. Each person has their own lifestyle and I know what it is like to be questioned because of the one I picked.
Mental strength plays a major factor in the gym as well, where most people think it is all physical. “Your mind will always fail before your body does”, I try to tell myself this before every workout. It’s the mental strength you need to keep pushing through a workout where your body hurts and you are tired. Naturally your mind will tell you to stop, but that is the point where you need to be strong enough to continue until the workout is done. Your mind can also be too distracted for you to start or complete a workout, but having that mental strength to set things on hold and focus on why you are at the gym will make sure you get through the workout effectively and not just go through the motions.
Looking back it amazes me how I have changed mentally. It all leads back to my strength, my mental strength that started in the gym, that followed me outside the gym into my social life and even into my work ethic in my profession. People may look at exercise as “working your body” but many don’t understand you are strengthening your body, mind, and spirit that will benefit you in all aspects of life. When you train with me, I will teach you the power of positive thinking and how to leverage mental strength to power through your workouts.