This is an important post which, if you understand the importance of it, could massively improve your success in everything you do, not just your strength training. We will be discussing many of the whats, hows and whens of strength training in the future, but, first and foremost, we need to discuss your why. What I mean by this is, why are you doing this? Why do you want to be strong? Why do you want good health? These may seem somewhat trivial, but having good answers to these questions and keeping them with you at all times will give you the temperance to keep working hard when the going gets tough. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche: "He who has a why can bear almost any how". But what are good answers to these questions?
Some of the common reasons people choose to get strong and healthy are to avoid disease, to live into old age, or simply because their partner is nagging them to do so.
You need something deeper than this though, ideally something internal; if your reasons rely on the approval of others, then so does your motivation.
Maybe you want to avoid disease so you have the strength to achieve all your life goals and ambitions.
Maybe you want to live into old age so you can see your children grow and pass your wisdom onto them.
Maybe you want to make your partner proud of you and set an admirable example to those close to you.
Even now, ask yourself why: why is it important to realize your life goals, or to see your children grow, or be a positive example to others?
Be like the incessant child who keeps asking why? why? why? after every reason given.
These are only examples to facilitate you in finding your own reasons, you should never copy someone else's why as they will likely have a very different set of values to yourself. With that in mind, I would like to share my why and how it has evolved over time. My passion has always been for strength, in all its forms, physical strength being only one part of it. However, building physical strength has been scientifically proven to build emotional and cognitive strength as well. I like knowing that I can hold my own should I or someone close to me be attacked. I like knowing that I have the capability to carry a grown man out of a burning building, should I ever be placed in such a circumstance. I like knowing I have the power to live a good and virtuous life; what good is a virtuous, but weak, man who will be subdued by the littlest of opposition? The practice of strength training also teaches me the value of discipline, dedication and resilience. A well-built physique cannot be bought, borrowed, inherited, or stolen. It's something you can only gain with patience and unyielding work ethic. Even then, you can only hold on to it by working consistently. These are some of the reasons I work so diligently on my physique which, as you can see, is far better than "I want to be fit and healthy".
Strength training is hard. It demands a lot of pain, struggle and sacrifice: dealing with muscle soreness, striving for that last rep when you could easily give up, saying no to that iced doughnut that's calling out to you. You need a reason to do these things, otherwise you won't (obviously). So don't only ask why you want to be strong and healthy, ask yourself why you're willing to suffer for these things. Why are they that important, because maybe they aren't. Maybe you'd prefer to live fast and die young, it's up to you. The important thing is that you've asked yourself these tough questions so that you will have the drive to continue on when the going gets tough.
I hope this post has helped you commit to your strength training. The key is to just get started, your reasons for doing so may change over time, but as long as you do have strong, well thought out reasons, you'll never give up.