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Separating Yourself From The Majority

The following video was recently passed along by a reader of the site (be aware of foul language). It’s focused on power lifting which I’ve never pursued but the narration resonates with me clearly. The mentality discussed is applicable to athletes from many sports.

The message will likely appear harsh or extreme to many exercise enthusiasts. That’s okay. I am not sharing this video in hopes of creating an army of maniacal followers. Clearly, you must pursue goals that matter to you. Those goals could be casual or extreme. The choice is yours.

More importantly, I am sharing the video as a reminder to promising athletes of any sport. Rarely does one achieve greatness by playing it safe. There will be times when you must take risks if you wish to separate yourself from the majority. No, I’m not suggesting that you seek out injuries or hardship, but you can’t live in fear of them either.

It’s also worth noting that such decisions will often lead to criticism from those around you. Many people in this world do not understand why others live and train with the intention of becoming everything but average. They do not understand the sacrifice, dedication, or work that is required. They will not understand what you do and why you do it.

That’s also okay. They don’t need to understand. Don’t waste time justifying the passion you have to someone who doesn’t share it.

Regardless of how or why you train, there will always be those who disagree with your approach. A week rarely passes without someone asking me why I train as hard as I do. I even have people suggest that something must be missing in my life. They assume that anyone who works harder than them has no life outside the gym.

I am here to suggest otherwise. It is quite possible to live a rewarding life despite training like a beast. I live a regular life outside the gym, but I’m everything but normal inside. Normal is boring. It’s the last thing I want to be.

We all have the right to push ourselves as hard and often as we wish. The critics of the world don’t need to understand why someone opts to be different. There is nothing worse than living your life constantly seeking approval from others around you. If your goal is to become a special athlete, don’t let others dissuade you.

Unfortunately, such words are rarely heard in the industry today. The fitness industry is one that thrives on deception. Supplement companies want you to believe that you just need to pop their pills. Trainers want you to believe that you just need to follow their routines. Equipment manufacturers want you to believe that you just need to use their gear.

It doesn’t work that way. If it was easy, everyone would do it. You can’t train like everyone else and expect to be different. There will be times when you need to train or compete despite pain or fatigue. There will be times when the only decision that makes sense is a decision that doesn’t make sense on paper. Don’t expect to separate yourself if you aren’t willing to separate yourself. At some point, you must be willing to raise the bar to surpass those around you.

Be different, do more, do better, and ignore the haters. When in doubt, follow your passion. It may take you down a bumpy road, but the journey promises to be everything but boring. It’s clearly an individual choice, but I’ll take a few bumps and bruises over a life of mediocrity any day.


Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. – Bernard M. Baruch

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14 Comments so far

  1. philip November 17th, 2013 3:53 pm

    very well writen love the video talk about beast mode. my thought on training in have good form (or at least try) bust ur ass in the weight room and always always learn from everyone you can. that’s just me.

  2. Chris November 17th, 2013 7:22 pm

    Awesome article and video Ross! The raw emotion and effort in power-lifting is so motivating; keep up the great work.

  3. Dean November 18th, 2013 4:40 am

    As ever, a massive inspiration to me. Love your words

  4. Darren November 18th, 2013 5:03 am

    I was listening to this video while on a different web page. After the first word was spoken I instantly knew who it was. Smelly!
    I think I have watched ‘Bigger, Stronger, Faster’ 30 or 40 times. I have it on my phone, tablet, PC and USB stick. I tell everyone I talk to about fitness with to watch it. Hope the Bell family continue to succeed and power on in life after losing one of their own.
    Huge respect.

  5. Richard November 18th, 2013 5:22 am

    It is the most fruitless endeavor to attempt to explain to people why you do what you do especially when it comes to the things that are extremely difficult. So I don’t bother I just train and train others to bring them to higher ground. The ones that don’t want to come can enjoy their life of mediocrity in the valley I’ll be on the mountain top!

  6. Stuart Young November 18th, 2013 2:33 pm

    Inspiring stuff, really enjoyed the post. It’s tough to keep having to justify training this hard to friends and family. Most don’t understand, and some will write you off as crazy or assume you’ll fail. It’s all just fuel for the workout though! If people can’t/won’t work as hard as you then you’re truly exceptional.

  7. Eric November 18th, 2013 3:52 pm

    Ross, enjoyed reading your post, and while I don’t train with the same vigor or enthusiasm I had years ago, I still have to justify to haters my passion for working out. After 37 years it is indeed a way of life and continues to stay with me through thick and thin. Probably couldn’t have imagined at 15-16 years old that I would still be exercising and working out at 52, I’ve definitely went through a lot of training partners, running partners, through the years, many don’t do any exercise at all. I’ve been questioned about why or what am I training for since the beginning and it continues nearly 40 years later. Unfortunately, I believe many people LIVE their lives to do nothing more than criticize or hate on other people, and I’ve bascially learned they’re not even worth one second of my time or effort to spend worrying about.

  8. David November 19th, 2013 8:06 am

    Don’t think it is good advice frankly yes under certain circumstances it id right to engage in beast mode. But this is a modern malaise that simply wanting it enough is enough. First comes finding the right teacher, then comes perfect form then possibly beast mode. We have it the wrong way around tho

  9. admin November 19th, 2013 8:50 am

    @David – No one is suggesting that proper instruction isn’t also useful. Far more people already have such guidance however. They falsely believe that such knowledge is enough. It’s not.

    Hard work means different things to different people. Taking it to another level is a rarity. Wanting “it” more than anyone else is what is often necessary differentiate oneself from the rest. That level of commitment and desire is far from common.

  10. Mike April 6th, 2014 5:47 am

    I used to try to do the ‘abnormal in the gym/normal outside the gym’ thing but it didn’t work for me. I found that the laziness and bad habits outside the gym interfered too often with my in-the-gym performance. I’ve had a lot more success embrassing my in-the-gym self. That doesn’t mean I ask everyone for their bench numbers before I talk to them. It does mean that when I consider eating something, I think about what I’m doing in the gym that day and that cycle. It also means that when I consider a social engagement, I think about how it will impact my workouts.
    I’m still working to find the perfect balance and it shifts from time to time but I’ve found that approach satisfying for me.

  11. Marc April 6th, 2014 8:23 am

    Great stuff, Ross. Every time I read one of these, it sounds like something I could’ve written myself.

  12. Lucas April 6th, 2014 11:27 am

    A bunch of insecurity man abusing steroids, fuck all them, i´m a 5´9´´ 160 lbs amateur kickboxer, Judo Black Belt and Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt, I train every day without using PED´s, put me in a cage with any of this “savages” and you will see…

  13. Chris April 6th, 2014 11:55 pm

    So true, Ross.

    Don’t remember the actual saying, since english isn’t my first language, but why choose the road most traveled upon if you want to achieve something more than the rest.
    Your post made me think of the legendary Ricky Bruch, he wasn’t your normal discuss thrower, not by any means, however he was also in a league of his own.
    Thought maybe this documentary could be inspirational, if you haven’t already seen it:

  14. Christian April 6th, 2014 11:59 pm

    So true, Ross.

    Don’t remember the actual saying, since english isn’t my first language, but why choose the road most traveled upon if you want to achieve something more than the rest.
    Your post made me think of the legendary Ricky Bruch, he wasn’t your normal discuss thrower, not by any means, however he was also in a league of his own.
    Thought maybe this documentary could be inspirational, if you haven’t already seen it:

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