Sacrifices for Strength

177573806_crop_north…What do you have to give up to focus on strength?  That’s what I wanted to share with you today.  These are just my short-term observations and my own experience, of course.  Please comment below if you agree, disagree, or have something to add.

If strength is your #1 priority…

  • …eating to support your strength gains basically necessitates dealing with a small to moderate level of body fat increase while you build.  There’s a reason Bill Kazmaier, Brian Shaw, and Zydrunas Savickas look the way they do.  None of these men put low body fat on their priority list.  Now, they are all three insanely talented athletes who are much more than “big fat guys.”  They strategically eat to support their performance.  That extra mass not only helps them pull trucks and lift barbells, it supports muscle gain and hormonal changes that bodybuilders in that 5-7% body fat category dream of.
  • …you will have a much more inflexible, and sometimes “rude” schedule when compared to your family and friends.  Training is dialed in, scheduled, work has to be done, etc.  You can’t just make it up some other time – it must be a priority.  Ask any powerlifter or strongman (or bodybuilder, for that matter) and they’ll tell you that consistent hard work pays off.  It looks like obsession to less-driven people.  I’ve already heard that word applied to me several times since I started training for this Strongman comp in March, and I’ll continue to take it as a compliment, within reason.  My family and faith still rank above strength training… but not much else does right now.
  • …you will feel uncomfortable in your skin for a while.  I’m still getting mentally beat-up for not having my ultra-low body fat that I had last year.  BUT I can lift around twice as much as I could then.  I’m preparing for a challenge that requires extreme dedication.  But it’s a new goal, and a new set of priorities.  I can’t judge my success by my 6-pack.  I can judge it by how much iron I can move, or by how quickly I can transport 450 lbs.  It’s a mental issue that I’m getting better with, but I’m by no means NOT struggling with.  Choosing to be proud of a bigger, stronger, more powerful body is like an anorexic learning to be proud of her curves.  It’s a radically different standard of “success.”  I’m no longer training for P90X-style well-rounded fitness.  It’s explosive power and raw strength.  It’s a new day, baby.
  • …you will take a beating.  Being hypertrophy-sore is very different from being CNS-drained.  What I mean is this: 12 sets of 30 push-ups will make most folks very sore in their chest and arms a day or two later.  That may last for a few days.  On the flip-side, 5 sets of 5 deadlifts, 5 sets of upright rows, and 5 sets of shrugs may total less than a third of the reps in the first example, but you’ll recover completely differently.  Hypertrophy (muscle building) makes you sore.  Strength-training hits your nervous system in a way that just drains you.  You’re not stiff and sore, you’re DONEAnd we haven’t even talked about callouses, joint pain, or that crazy twitchy quadriceps when you are trying to go to sleep…


billkazmaier2…but you get a lot more than you give up.


1 Comment

  1. Shawn Fausey

    Awesome Blog! Loved this!

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