I get asked a lot of questions about training, why I do what I do, or my reactions. It is often from a good place or an intellectual curiosity on why I perform certain acts of strength or develop habits throughout my life. I wont lie, many times this is beyond flattering and for the most part, grumpy face aside, I always try my best to respond in a genuine manner. What I find to be the hardest moments and questions are the ones that come from within. I can assure you, I have sat with some of the best of the best in their fields and for the most part, have stood amongst giants comfortably but no greater giant slayer has come across my path to sling a stone into my confidence like.. myself. Yes, despite what man may believe I have to deal with MDLP too. I have to sit and talk to Michael, Mike, Bear, the Rhino and the Old Wolf. I have to sit with my own bullshit day in and day out. Relax, I am not painting myself a miserable person but I do recognize the difficult nature and personality I have developed over the years and no one feels it more than Michael De La Pava.
When the gym first opens and when she closes her doors at night the mind starts to turn. When the barbell is warming up and being brushed clean from its chalky handprints, it is my voice that rings ever so loudly. Yes I am you and you are me many times and many times a day. I have my stressors, my heart breaks. I have my family problems, I watch my bank account every day and I count my quarters just like any other American. I thumb through instagram like you, consistently let down and inspired on the same screen and I get distracted by dog videos and tiny chef memes hourly. I also have the whispers of fear and doubt. I have these very real voices that march across my soul like an imperial march of stark sentinels. I have standards far beyond my reach, just across the horizon of the rational man and yet… and yet I find myself some where else… somewhere real...
I sit there at night, day, evenings, foggy dusks.. I sit there on balconies, red lights, dinner tables and family gatherings.. I sit there at events, showers, football games and bars and I think… I ask myself what u ask yourself and I try to answer myself why. Why is it I am truly doing this? Why do I go above and beyond to celebrate so much? To grunt, yell and scream? Despite the hate it may generate on line because some may think it comes from a non genuine place I have received praise for it as if it was something I do for reward or attention. On the contrary, despite me knowing why I do what I do, those reactions come from somewhere guttural.. unnaturally natural.
As long as I have been alive, my passion has always danced on the toes of my discipline. Many times my passion has overwhelmed me and as many times as I can say it has lead me to great things, it has also taken me down the paths of injury, heart breaks and major regret. On the opposite side I can also say my discipline has flooded my passion several times leading to moments of emptiness, distance and unwanted isolation. But it is somewhere in this awkward prom night dance between two teenage fools that my passion and discipline find its way. They find the rhythm and sync their heart beats to create some of the best moments in my life. It is in these fleeting moments, these fragments of time and just mere seconds, where I find Love for what I do. I react the way I do because in that very moment there is no tomorrow, or a second rep, or bills, or bullshit life. There are no past injuries, failures, the weight of responsibility or the blissful burden of leaderships. The pieces of my broken soul are whole and the arrows in my back are non existent. In those beautiful moments I am truly free. I am the wolf running along the frozen earth with the scent of a hunt in the wind. I am the bear on the icy river with endless stories to tell. I am the rhino on the sands and mud of effort. I am the man as much I am the boy who ran around celebrating every touchdown and who threw the dice across the room when he lost in parcheesi.
I am the way I am and I train the way I do because life has lead me this way and I have made decisions to make my resolution finite. I am like you and you are like me or you are not. There is no middle ground when you truly love something. There is no time off, or breaks, or a lets see other people between me and sport. It is me and the bag, the yoke, the log the barbell. It is me and the blood, the pain, the scrapes, the PR songs and the tears shed far beyond the eyes of those around me. Life doesn’t exist past the the single set, single rep, or lift or throw and for that I am eternally grateful. My mind is the impossibility of a three dimensional Picasso painting that serenades you with a whispering hum of Bach and stretches out like a cerebral quantum physics and an unending pace. It is a daily routine to fight against doubt, fear, anxiety and loss. I dance with regret as much as I fight with courage but training… training frees me. It unleashes the animal that is man and it sets me free. I am who I am because I am like you and I am not. I am who I am because fighting , strongman, rugby, powerlifting and sport has shown me what it is to be truly FREE if for merely seconds and for that I am willing to DIE for… I am willing to LIVE for… for that I am willing to LOVE for.
When I approach a lift, I am not asking for success… I am asking to be set FREE
Never Stray from The Way