In a previous post I asked the question, “Why do you race?” In that post I also took a moment to answer that question for myself. Self-reflection can provide clarity or motivation, but it also provides you with the opportunity to self-correct or re-evaluate your actions, revealing the reasons for success and failure.
People ask me all the time, why do you race, run an ultra marathon, bike hundreds of miles? They say, “that is insane.” The same can be said of someone whose endgame is to pull as much weight as possible from the ground during a deadlift. (For the record, our resident powerlifter Casey Williams pulls 700 lbs)
Physically, a triathlete and powerlifter could not be more dissimilar. However, you may be surprised to find out that the psychology behind what motivates us to train and drives us to compete is one and the same. In the post that follows, Casey takes you through the self-talk that enabled him to answer the question, “Why do you lift?”
Enter Casey Williams…
Why do I lift?
When the guys at Hybrid asked me to write an article on “why I lift,” I set aside fifteen minutes to get this post done and thought I would have time to spare. In reality, it was difficult for me to start this blog post because it required a lot of self-reflection. Truth be told, I don’t know why I lift. I’ve been a weight room regular since the eighth grade where my early years were devoted to training for football. After my final year of college football, two years ago, I’ve dedicated my workouts to powerlifting. To be candid, I never thought I would still be lifting heavy weights after college football.
I’ll try to explain my obsession simply – lifting was so engrained in my routine that I couldn’t give it up. It had become a part of me and a part of my personality. I enjoyed when friends would ask me what I weighed, what my numbers were, what supplements I was taking. Lifting gave me strength in times of weakness and clarity in times of confusion. I guess a better way for me to approach this question is what has weight lifting done for me?
First and foremost, it gives me balance. In my world, balance is key. I tend to have an all or nothing mentality with things in my life, which can be detrimental if I let it get out of hand. Without lifting I would work all day, and vice versa. A bad day at work often leads to a good day in the weight room. To quote “The Iron” by Henry Rollins,
“The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.”
I try to be in tune with my body, and I’ve found that when I don’t lift I don’t feel like myself. I’m sluggish, more irritable, and less outgoing- in short, lifting makes me a better me.
Lifting has also given me an outlet for competition. I’m referring to powerlifting meets. Meet day is like payday; you work really hard to get there and then you spend everything you worked for. But I prefer the competition I have with myself every time I step in the weight room. Training is the meat and potatoes, keeping you from getting too high or too low. Every time you step in the weight room you are afforded an opportunity to get better; to compete with yourself and win a small battle to prepare you for the war of your choosing.
Balance and competition keep me on course while constantly improving. Keeping my compass pointed North. That’s why I lift.