T Nation

The 'Iron Game?'

I think this buzz-word concept is a strange one. Because there’s no playing around when it comes to hard training. Hard training isn’t a game. It’s a battle. Because what is always at stake is your life!

For people that don’t take training seriously… that’s a game. You know the types. Those you see in and out of the gym balancing on bosu balls and using their spinning cycles as a couch to watch tv- and as a perch to spy for real LIVE BREATHING girls walking around! The locker talkers. And I’m not limiting this to “trainees.” I went into my campus gym a couple of months ago. Great facility and brand spanking new, but something was missing… a power rack.

When I asked the “trainer” behind the counter why they didn’t have one he looked at me like I was crazy. “A what?” he said completely bewildered. “You know,” I tried to break it down for him: “It has four posts, and safety bars. You use it to safely do squats, benches, rack deadlifts, and pretty much everything else.” “Oh,” he said still questioning himself. “We’ve got one of those.” And he pointed me at a Smith machine!

This kind of “game” mentality is akin to playing paintball. Sure it might hurt a little, but you’re around friends and you KNOW you’re walking off the field no matter how much you get hit.

This is not hard training. Hard training involves something deeper. The KNOWLEDGE that you CAN’T mess up. The knowledge that you ARE fighting for your life. You are lifting that weight and eating right because it sustains your life! Because you don’t want to be a fat pig outside of the gym. Because you don’t want to be crushed by that ton of iron inside the gym.

Because you don’t want the collateral damage of cluster bombing yourself with heart attacks, obesity, cancer, emphysema, and several other nasties. Because you want to roll through the streets confident with a Sherman tank, not wheezing atop a moped. And to those who say it is a game, because you can have fun. Sure. You can have fun. You should have fun.

If this stuff doesn’t excite you, or you’re doing it to prove something to SOMEONE ELSE, you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. You do it for you. To know you can continue to press on. To know that you can take the hill, and have the courage to fly in the face of society’s heavy machine gun fire of dirty living, drugs, and shitty food all around you. But you are courageous to know that you WONT get hit. Because you are a friggin’ superhero. You are bulletproof.

What if there’s an emergency and you have to save someone else’s life- OR your own! Then will you think it’s all a game? You are Captain America in battle. Your own Hulk or Superman. You CAN bounce back.

And you can do it because you are strong. And nothing will stop you or hold you back from that. The bodybuilders, the strongmen, the power lifters, the athletes, the gym rats. These are the superheroes. And these are the soldiers of the T-Nation army. And you know what…

they’ll win the battle. Because everyone else refuses to fight.

[quote]strongfan15 wrote:
they’ll win the battle. Because everyone else refuses to fight.
[/quote]

Great post, its weird because in todays society strength is esteemed by the media and people “an ancient novelty” of sorts. Yet the process of attaining it is considered undesirable aka hardwork.

Ya great post but I expect to walk out of the gym every time…well at least hobble out on leg day

I think you pretty much summed up my mentality. I don’t do this for anyone other than myself, with one exception… My little girl.

I don’t want to be the father that bitches about his daughter being too heavy when she wants a shoulder ride. I want to be able to chase her around the yard without losing my breath after 30 sec. And I want her to have a positive outlook on fitness and health.

And when she’s 16, I want her boyfriend to be scared of me… scared to fucking death.

I do not think this is a great post. THe self-congratulatory attitude around here drives me nuts sometimes. IT’S JUST - LIFTING - WEIGHTS. We are not an army (and if we were I wouldnt trust 90% of the people on here) and we are not superheroes. You have your own reasons for training, that’s fine.

I think it’s awesome that JayPierce gives so much importance to being able to be physically active in his daughter’s life. But the rest of this is perlor-room semantics. It’s not a game because it’s important?

Football, and dozens of other organized sports are important to the lives of hundreds of thousands of jr high, high school kids and college athletes, as well as a very few, very lucky pros. That doesn’t mean it’s not a game. We need to stop being in such awe of ourselves around here.

[quote]KBCThird wrote:
I do not think this is a great post. THe self-congratulatory attitude around here drives me nuts sometimes. IT’S JUST - LIFTING - WEIGHTS. We are not an army (and if we were I wouldnt trust 90% of the people on here) and we are not superheroes. You have your own reasons for training, that’s fine.

I think it’s awesome that JayPierce gives so much importance to being able to be physically active in his daughter’s life. But the rest of this is perlor-room semantics. It’s not a game because it’s important?

Football, and dozens of other organized sports are important to the lives of hundreds of thousands of jr high, high school kids and college athletes, as well as a very few, very lucky pros. That doesn’t mean it’s not a game. We need to stop being in such awe of ourselves around here.[/quote]

I totally understand you point here. I’m not a professional. I am not a soldier. But I understand OP’s point also. Outside of training, I’m a nice, laid-back person. But powerlifting is my PASSION. I know it isn’t everything to most people, but it is to me. Does that mean I think I’m the shit, or some kind of superhuman? No, but I view powerlifting as more than just a game, the same way I viewed football while still playing. Simply put, I will strive to be the best. I probably won’t be the BEST. However, that will make me better than I was.

[quote]KBCThird wrote:
I do not think this is a great post. THe self-congratulatory attitude around here drives me nuts sometimes. IT’S JUST - LIFTING - WEIGHTS. We are not an army (and if we were I wouldnt trust 90% of the people on here) and we are not superheroes. You have your own reasons for training, that’s fine.

I think it’s awesome that JayPierce gives so much importance to being able to be physically active in his daughter’s life. But the rest of this is perlor-room semantics. It’s not a game because it’s important?

Football, and dozens of other organized sports are important to the lives of hundreds of thousands of jr high, high school kids and college athletes, as well as a very few, very lucky pros. That doesn’t mean it’s not a game. We need to stop being in such awe of ourselves around here.[/quote]

You know what we need now? The PERFECT CHEER!!!

So you only do it cause it’s fun? If you only lift weights because you enjoy it, then you don’t have to be so serious about it. It can be a game. Hell, you can have bad form (like they teach you when training you for junior high, high school football or whatever- PROS hopefully, aren’t trained by people who DONT know what they are doing). If you lift for physical and mental HEALTH however, it’s not to be taken lightly. Or you might… I dont know, throw out your back or blast your knees. And I’m sorry, but to a pro, it’s not just a game- it is a way of life (otherwise they wouldn’t stick with it- they would have dropped out at little league). If you quit after being injured (The guy above- Derek Poundstone BROKE HIS BACK, and is now America’s number 1 shot at becoming the WSM), then it’s not too important to you… then it’s a game. But if you endure, it’s not. If you need to train the way you need to breathe, then it’s not just a game. You have to look at your motivations for training. If you walk into a gym and see people “just lifting weights” you’ll also see a lot of potential injuries. And it’s the responsibility of those in the know who it IS important to, to keep those who are just “playing around” from hurting themselves now or somewhere down the line. And I was using that army thing as an analogy. This is not self congradulatory, and it is not a way of getting others to agree with me. Far from it.

What I AM saying is that if you’re going to train you should be serious about it. Don’t dick around. Cause if you aren’t serious, it can do more harm than good, and you are only EGO STROKING (Mr. hawt abz). In my OPINION, training is not about physicality no matter how much we like to think so. Hard training is MENTAL TRAINING. If you just want to lift weights, that’s fine. More power to you. But if you want to learn about yourself, and BETTER yourself, it should be one of the MOST serious things in your life (inside the gym). If you don’t have a life outside the gym, that’s your own problem.

You don’t have to like the post. It’s your opinion. But if training isn’t THAT important to you, why do you have over 1,000 posts on HERE of all places?

This post is about EARNING your accomplishments, and having a REASON for what you’re doing. And those kids you’re talking about on sports teams ARE trying to prove something to themselves, unless their parents signed them up of course. Haha. They’re just getting started earlier than everyone else. The drive to be better is serious. And if it’s not, you shouldn’t be doing any physical activity that requires you to gut something out. You should be a pro couch surfer. But becasue this drive is so deeply ingrained in us, we are MENTAL WARRIORS. To take metaphors out of context is questionable. More clear?

And JayPierce our friend up here, IS training for the right reasons. He’s being a HERO for his daughter, and showing her the healthy path other fathers WONT walk. And if there’s ever an emergency where he NEEDS to be mentally or physically strong FOR HER, he can be. Becasue it’s important to him. I’d say that’s pretty damn important (if not the MOST important job of a parent other than loving their kids). You’re teaching her to be healthy and happy, adn you’re staying strong for her! Good job, Jay.

Haha, and I never said I was a superhero. But if a challenge comes along I know I wont back down and cower. if you don’t have a passion for lifting, then why do it?

On a similar note:

If all you get out of training is muscles, then why do it? What do you learn about yourself?

Great post.

Nice Post :smiley:

Although I do like to have fun with weights every now and again just to throw something in the mix maybe like 20-Rep Challenge or how many 50kg powercleans I can do…

I think I found it:

"We’re rough! We’re tough! We know it and we show it!

We got power! Whoo! T-mag Power!

Whoo! We’re rough! We’re tough! We know it and we show it!

We got power! Whoo! T-mag Power! Whoo!"

“Uh-huh! Uh-huh! Uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh!”

Cute. Of course, this post could very well be preaching to the choir. But isn’t that what every article by TC, Shugart, and everyone else on T-Nation actually does? If you don’t ask yourself the right questions you never learn anything of importance.

And yeah echelon, challenges are fun… but not just cause they are challenges. They’re more fun to accomplish, or try your hardest to, right? I think that’s a good sign that you’ve got the mental strength to perservere- once a challenge is fun. Depending on the challenge of course. If you’re actually having fun storming a machine gun nest you probably need some meds.

[quote]strongfan15 wrote:
Cute. Of course, this post could very well be preaching to the choir. But isn’t that what every article by TC, Shugart, and everyone else on T-Nation actually does? If you don’t ask yourself the right questions you never learn anything of importance.

And yeah echelon, challenges are fun… but not just cause they are challenges. They’re more fun to accomplish, or try your hardest to, right? I think that’s a good sign that you’ve got the mental strength to perservere- once a challenge is fun. Depending on the challenge of course. If you’re actually having fun storming a machine gun nest you probably need some meds.[/quote]

Thanks. I thought it was kind of funny…I looked it up on the interweb, cut and pasted it and everything. If I could hang it on my fridge, I would…;>.

For me lifting is as important as breeding air. Many people don’t get that. It is quite some relief to have a home gym.

quick responses

  • I know EXACTLY who that is in the photo. Interestingly, I just had a conversation with him on saturday that might pertain to this thread. to be brief he noted that while a lot of people think that being a strongman must make him a better cop, he thinks it is actually being a cop, the more demanding of the two (my conclusion, not his) that makes him a better strongman

-no, you didnt call yourself a superhero, but you did make reference to the hulk and capt america

-for the record, since it might not’ve been clear the first go around, I think JayPierce has an AWESOME reason for training, i was not being sarcastic at all. That is his daughter, now THAT is life (or I would think so, at any rate)

-you mentioned that it may indeed be preaching to the choir, but isnt that what TC and Shugart do? Interesting analogy, given the thread that’s going on in the T-Cell right now, the one that Shugart started

-why do I have a 1000 posts? sometimes I ask myself that same question. Dunno, I’ve been reading this site for 5 years they all sort of accumulated I guess.

Maybe this is all just semantics. Yeah, it’s a game, but no, that doesnt mean it has to be unimportant. If somebody wants to call it a game that’s fine, heck I’m sure I’ve referred to it as a game before. These days everything is a game, business, whatever. I guess it makes sense that something that may lead to competitions - BBing, PLing, OLing, Strongman, HG - is referred to as a game. I just see too many posts over the last few years in the “HOLY CRAP I AM T3H HARDCORE!!!111!!!1” variety that it makes me shake my head.

Liftiung does not make you a good person, and there are plenty of successful (at lifting) jerks to prove it. There are plenty of nice, decent folk that dont lift to prove the counterpoint - and no, you never said that you had to lift to be a good person, but I think sometimes people here act that way. Sometimes there is too much waving of the flag of weightlifting, and commiserating over how misunderstood we are. The bottom line is that I do what I do because this is part of who I am. Anybody who needs that explained to them probably wont understand it, and anybody who understands it doesnt need it explained.

“To this game you stay slave”

[quote]KBCThird wrote:
quick responses

  • I know EXACTLY who that is in the photo. Interestingly, I just had a conversation with him on saturday that might pertain to this thread. to be brief he noted that while a lot of people think that being a strongman must make him a better cop, he thinks it is actually being a cop, the more demanding of the two (my conclusion, not his) that makes him a better strongman

-no, you didnt call yourself a superhero, but you did make reference to the hulk and capt america

-for the record, since it might not’ve been clear the first go around, I think JayPierce has an AWESOME reason for training, i was not being sarcastic at all. That is his daughter, now THAT is life (or I would think so, at any rate)

-you mentioned that it may indeed be preaching to the choir, but isnt that what TC and Shugart do? Interesting analogy, given the thread that’s going on in the T-Cell right now, the one that Shugart started

-why do I have a 1000 posts? sometimes I ask myself that same question. Dunno, I’ve been reading this site for 5 years they all sort of accumulated I guess.

Maybe this is all just semantics. Yeah, it’s a game, but no, that doesnt mean it has to be unimportant. If somebody wants to call it a game that’s fine, heck I’m sure I’ve referred to it as a game before. These days everything is a game, business, whatever. I guess it makes sense that something that may lead to competitions - BBing, PLing, OLing, Strongman, HG - is referred to as a game. I just see too many posts over the last few years in the “HOLY CRAP I AM T3H HARDCORE!!!111!!!1” variety that it makes me shake my head.

Liftiung does not make you a good person, and there are plenty of successful (at lifting) jerks to prove it. There are plenty of nice, decent folk that dont lift to prove the counterpoint - and no, you never said that you had to lift to be a good person, but I think sometimes people here act that way. Sometimes there is too much waving of the flag of weightlifting, and commiserating over how misunderstood we are. The bottom line is that I do what I do because this is part of who I am. Anybody who needs that explained to them probably wont understand it, and anybody who understands it doesnt need it explained.

“To this game you stay slave”[/quote]

This is a fair response. We are not in dissagreement here. I don’t see anything with the results attributed to weight training as a game, however. With a game there is a winner and a loser. In training, that’s not the case. And there is never a tie. If you are not always pushing yourself harder than you did, then there is no growth. To paraphrase Shugart himself, a diamond wihout pressure is a lump of coal.

Anyone who needs to feel better about hard training for themselves is probably in it for the wrong reasons. You don’t train so that someone can tell you how good you are. Now I make a very clear distinction for myself at least, in the difference between sport and game playing. To play a game is to play AT something. But to REALLY be IN a sport is to make it your passion. And I feel many people here on T-Nation do exactly that. At least I would hope so.

I know that you do because of your quote. I’m not belittling anyone who lifts for whatever reason (regardless of their language). I am praising those who do. I am simply asking everyone to ask themselves WHY they do it, and what they are getting out of it. And I am also listing the important lessons that I think hard training has to teach. Will it MAKE you a good person? No. Will it teach you a whole hell of a lot about yourself? Yes. I don’t need anyone to convince me that I’m doing a good job, or that I push myself hard, because I know I do.

And I know that hard training gives you an inner strength that little else does. It can change your life, and open up entire realms of possibility, but if you treat it casually then it will not change the way you think. And it certainly wont show you how deep your reserves are. Hard training isn’t limited here to weight training. Boxers, runners, wrestlers, ironman triathletes- whoever, puking their guts out who keep right on training are the same way. The main lesson is: how far can you go? When you reach that point- it’s not a game. It’s mind over matter. You vs. you in that second of doubt.

This is all applicable outside the gym too, though. Every time you sit down at a meal, time when you hit the sack, or mix up a supplement. It takes discipline. Just like it takes to step back up to the dead lift when you’re feeling completely done. And you can apply it to your entire life. But like I said, once it’s in there, it’s in there, and you can enjoy all of it, esp. the stuff outside the gym. I mean, c’mon… if your head’s always in the gym, your little head’s never gonna be in anywhere else. Haha. Just some food for thought. And that’s what forums are all about.

And yes, being a cop or a soldier is where you will really find out what you’re made of. I’m not arguing that either. But for those of us who are NOT involved in enforcement of any kind, hard training is a place where you can test your ultimate limits (also, ptsd and other stresses associated with being a soldier and officer in modern warfare, and society is NOT healthy- read the excellent book On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman).

But that lesson is exactly what boot camp and police training school teach you… how much pressure can you take and keep going? Can you perservere? It seems to me, that hard leg or back work can teach you the same thing. Not quitting on your twenty or (gasp) thirty reppers is one of the hardest physical and mental activities there is.

As a side-note, I personally, do not think that hard training has anything to do with how much you lift, what your poundages are, etc. But, it does have everything to do with pushing yourself as hard as you can.

Just a casual comment and no offense intended because I respect everyone who chooses to do what we do, but perhaps the point of view depends on level of maturity. I very passionate and dedicated to lifting. I read, eat, research and work my ass off to get better. I’d do the same if my passion was golf.

However, by no means is it my life nor is it a battle or anything else of that nature. It is a very big portion of my life, but it isn’t my life. No one can question my dedication to training. If it was my profession, and I didn’t have anything else in my life, perhaps I would feel different.

Wasn’t it Kevin Winslow (sp?) who got chastised for likening football to a battle - a war? His expression was no less passionate as strongfan15. Ultimately the comment was chalked up to youthful exuberance. Hell, I felt the same way when I was a younger man.

And JayPierce, I’m with you on the 16 year daughter thing. My girl understands that the only rule I have about dating her is that the boy has to have bigger arms than I do. I’m not worried.