Now is the Time

by Jim Steel | July 08, 2020

pulling jim steel

No more screwing around, no more missed training sessions. There has never been a more critical time to get strong. 

I just returned from the gym where I am a member. I live in New Jersey, and the owners of the gym where I train down the road from me are not “allowed” to open their doors and have their members come inside to train. As a result, the owners are cool enough to carry the equipment and weights out of the gym every morning and into the parking lot to give their members the opportunity to train. Each evening, they carry all the equipment back inside their facility. 

It’s the same gym that was all over the news a month or so ago, because they were losing their collective asses money-wise and decided that, as free-thinking, free-living Americans, they would open their gym against the Governor’s wishes. That didn’t last long, as the Totalitarian Governor of New Jersey decided that liquor stores are essential, huge mega-stores are essential, but getting stronger and healthier was non-essential, and the governor seemed to be indicating that free-living, free thinking Americans are too stupid to enforce their own safe COVID-19 rules in their own businesses. Mysteriously, the Health Department came in after a few days and shut the gym down when a plumbing issue occurred. 

So, if you are not as fortunate as I am and don’t have access to a parking lot gym, what do you do? You buy your own equipment and set up a home gym. I work for an equipment company, writing some articles and doing some podcasts. The owner tells me that the barbell equipment supply is scarce everywhere and frequently sold out. This indicates to me that folks are out there investing in their training. And that’s a good thing. 

Plenty has been written and said about the shutdown or the lockdown or whatever it is called this week. I wonder how and when all of it will end. And then you have violence in the streets and innocent people being attacked for no reason other than being a police officer, or because of the color of their skin, or for sticking up for the Constitution. It's getting to the point where I don't believe one thing that a person “in authority” tells me, and my trust in social media and the news media is practically zero. 

What does all of this have to do with training? Because there has never been a more essential time to get strong, whether it’s because by becoming stronger you fortify your immune system, or because by becoming stronger you are better able to protect yourself and your family. 

It’s time to train for life. Because your life depends on it. Am I being dramatic? I don't think so. 

I am fortunate to train some of our country’s Tier One Operators and to call some of them my good friends. One of them sent me a message the other day, telling me that a civilian had asked him why he ate so strictly and trained so hard. “I told him because I enjoy it, for one, and two, because I’m trying to build myself up to be able to withstand an unbelievable amount of punishment, and to be able to deliver more than anyone else can withstand.” 

If that doesn't get you fired up to train and get stronger, go sit on the porch. You should want to go squat and punch something right away. By all means, do some martial arts, hit the heavy bag, run hills. But the foundation for all of that is to be stronger. It's the base of the pyramid that all those other things feed off of. 

When I coached at the University level, I always challenged my athletes to “give me a situation, in sports or in life, where being weak benefits you.” Nobody could give me an example of a situation where weak is ever better, because it never is better. 

Whether you are training in a basement or a garage or in a parking lot, now is the time to get more serious than you ever were before. Don’t miss workouts. Every one of them should take on a new meaning. Don’t waste your time on bullshit exercises that don’t help you kick somebody’s ass if need be. Every rep brings you closer to being tougher and more resilient. Get your cleans, squats and deadlifts in, no matter what – it’s that important. 

If you are one of those people who need a goal to train for motivation, you now have a clear cut one: training for your life and your family’s lives. Not for looks, or for bragging about poundages, or putting up a shirtless video of yourself online. Just for getting it done because it has to be done. You can believe what you want, but one fact is clear: you are less protected than ever, in many ways, so it's now your job to do the protecting. My advice is to accept that and train your ass off. Start now.

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