Whenever I meet with a potential new client at the gym, I always ask them 3 basic questions: Why are you here? What are your goals? What is it about yourself that you want to change/improve? Invariably, they all say some semblance of the same thing…
“I want to lose x number of pounds”,
“I want to be healthier.”,
“My doctor wants me to lose weight.”,
“I need to get in shape”,
“I just want to tone.” (whatever that means!)
Do You Want to be Stronger?
After drilling down into each of these generalities with them and getting them to choose a more specific, meaningful, and therefore achievable, goal, I’ll usually ask them one more question – “What about strength? Do you want to be stronger?”
Surprisingly (to me anyway), 99% of them say no, they don’t think they need/want to be stronger. A typical response is something like, “I think I am strong enough, I just want to lose weight and tone…”
This is absolute nonsense! What exactly does “strong enough” mean anyway??? I had no idea, so I’ve devised a checklist.
Are You Strong Enough to…
- Deadlift at least 2x’s your bodyweight?
- Break down a door and rescue someone from a burning building?
- Defend yourself from 1 or multiple opponents?
- Do a 1 arm push-up (or more than 1)?
- Hike 10 (or more) miles through the woods to survive?
- Do a 1 arm pull-up?
- Push your car out of a ditch?
- Play with your kids/grand-kids without getting winded?
- Defend your family if they are under attack?
- Do a Turkish Get-Up with a 70 lbs kettlebell?
- Carry a wounded friend, child, comrade to safety?
- Do a pistol – aka 1 leg squat (or more than one each leg)?
- Snatch a 53 lbs kettlebell over 100 times?
- Rescue a drowning person without drowning yourself?
- Complete a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder?
- Take a strong push from any direction and be able to neutralize it?
How did you do on this list?
If you said no to one or more (or all!!) of them, then you are by no means strong enough. Even if you are able to accomplish all these tasks, there is still more to learn, more to practice, more to do, more to grow. There’s always more!!
A great new resource out there for anyone looking to get stronger and tougher is my friend Zach Even-Esh’s new book, The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength and Conditioning, Zach Even-Esh
How to get stronger and tougher- In the gym and in life – Using the training secrets of the Athletic Elite