Hahd Werk

Monday’s are devoted to female related topics to help females begin or continue to train. This particular post is relevant to fellas as well.



I like Erin Stern. She’s not weird and trains hard with sprints, plyos, squats, and (sorta) does Olympic lifting. The “being athletic” part makes me like her over regular figure competitors, but she’s also positive and likes to inspire other people. Lastly, she eats pretty much the same in her “off-season” as her “in-season”; her fitness is a way of life instead of something she cycles.

She posted the above picture on her Facebook page, and it had received a lot of responses. It’s obvious that she’s not out shape in the picture on the left, but there is a significant difference in her development between the two pictures. Erin’s caption was, “If you want something badly enough… you will push through every rep, each set, the tears, and the sweat! Through patience and perseverance, you can achieve anything :)”

Kinda corny, but Erin’s goal was and is to be win the biggest figure competitions in the world. 8 years separates the two pictures above. 8 years of training hard four to six times a week and making consistently good decisions in her diet. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s goal was to become the best bodybuilder in the world. Then the greatest bodybuilder in history. A successful businessman. A Hollywood star. A politician. Successful people aim their goals high and bust their ass to achieve those goals.

I looked at the comments on Erin’s photo, and some of them irritated the shit out of me.
“ya, like we’ll ever look like that”
“so how do u stay so lean now without gaining all that back with one cheat meal… do u eat “diet food” all the time?”

“Ordinary” people think that extra-ordinary feats are out of their reach. There were also other comments from people who were fawning at Stern’s feet, expressing how AMAZING it was that she could accomplish this change and how MOTIVATING she was. The former group doesn’t think that they can do it all and the latter didn’t think they could until they saw someone else do it. I have a secret for you: successful people never feel either of those things. In actuality, successful people don’t have a set of skills that are different than you or “ordinary” people. Instead, they have an extra-ordinary desire to “get after it”. They look at the pinnacle, or beyond, and say, “That is where I want to go, and I won’t rest until I’m there.” They will fight, bite, and scratch their way to get there. They will push harder and farther, they will bloody themselves nearly to death, but they will never second guess themselves. They know only one thing: they should go forward and never look back.

It pisses me off when someone looks at a picture of Erin Stern or a video of Chris deadlifting 705 and voice how they think that the performer just “has something” that they don’t. They see the end product and compare themselves to it. What they don’t realize it that there are hundreds, thousands of hours of sweat, grit, and pain to get to that point. What they don’t realize is that the person they compare themselves is not any different than them. It’s just that the successful person made a decision a long time ago to be the best that they could possibly be.

I can also tell you that a successful person is never satisfied. Do you think Erin Stern is okay with not winning the figure competition at the Arnold this year? Do you think Klokov is content with the fact that he hasn’t won an Olympic gold medal? Do you think that Arnold thinks he has peaked? Some in the Army consider Ranger School as the pinnacle of success, but I know guys who get their tab pinned on and then quietly walk away as they think, “What’s next?” Chris didn’t go home and think about how he’ll deadlift 705 for the rest of his life. No, each person craves the next challenge and busts their fucking ass to get there.

Someone recently commented on the site and said something like, “Some of us aren’t trying to be mega jacked and just want to get good, healthy workouts in.” I responded respectfully, but I honestly don’t understand that statement. You don’t want to be as strong or jacked as you can be? What does that even MEAN? It’s totally fair if someone’s family and work are the focus in their goals of success, but you’re never going to have any meaningful progress and success if you don’t step into a gym and aim to crush your god damn enemies.

Male or female, weak or strong, make a fucking decision to be great and never, ever look back.

30 thoughts on “Hahd Werk

  1. 5th paragraph, 2nd sentence. Should be feat. I read it quickly and thought why did people comment on her feet?

    And good post. You don’t get anywhere in life being spoon fed. Do work.

  2. Pisses me the fuck off when people make excuses as to why they can’t achieve something.

    Almost as much as it pisses me off when other people tell you that you can’t do something.

  3. I like the part about Erin eating/training year round not just “in season.” I think this is the biggest problem. If people don’t see dramatic results in a month they quit. It has to be a lifestyle not a one time ting.

  4. Quotes pertaining to this post, and most people can relate to in some way or another

    “Ambition is so powerful a passion in the human breast, that however high we reach we are never satisfied.”
    – Henry Hadsworth Longfellow

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
    – Theodore Roosevelt

    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
    – Mark Twain

    “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

  5. Agreed as usual. Fuck believing. Go out and start doing. Otherwise, shut the fuck up and go home because it’ll never happen. It’s a nice reminder to hear this sort of thing but it’ll never change the willfully ignorant. For, just as Ron Swanson defined Honor–positioned high at the apex of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness– “If you need it defined, you don’t have it.”

  6. I like to compare my performance to records and I’ve had a friend say that you don’t have to compare yourself to the greatest. I was like NO!

  7. +1 to all of the above.

    This post reminds me that one of the greatest benefits of competition is the motivation it instills in a person. Would Erin have gotten the body she desired without knowing that she’d be judged by a panel at the Arnold? Probably. But I’m sure it helped to be able to think about being on that stage, judged against others who trained extremely hard, during all of those reps and bites of broccoli.

  8. Love this post! It’s when shit gets hard that we find out who we really are and what we’re made of. None of us are born great.

    Look at Ray Rice. Dad died in a driveby when he was 1, cousin that helped raise him died to a DUI, people told him he couldn’t ball because he is only 5’8″ A couple of Pro Bowls later..

  9. Great post man, as they say around here- get motivated son! Competition and training with a coach are two must haves for getting maximally strong and striving for excellence. I recently started training with a coach and it has made such a difference after only two sessions. I highly recommend it to any aspiring lifters out there. I had a training session at 5:30 last friday that I really didnt want to go to, but then I thought about my coaching saying “if you are dedicated, you will come” and until that point I hadn’t thought about it that way. And I dont know about you, but i am a man whose dedication will never be questioned. Lets go baby! Anyone competing at the capitol classic wl meet on the 21st of april?

  10. ugh, i will NEVER be as tan as Erin Stern. I suck.

    i read the comments under that pic too, and the comments that pissed me off were the ones that said “i’d rather look like the one in the left” or “your too muscular, not my thing” and shit like that. Obviously those are opinions and everyone is entitled to them, but A) why are they friends with Erin Stern, how do they even know who she is if they don’t appreciate a figure competitor. and B) that’s fuckin rude. She worked her ass off for 8 years to achieve that picture on the right and then her fans are like “eh you were better when you didn’t try as hard” it’s like telling a chef who has worked YEARS to cook the best dishes ever, and then a friend is like “eh, you were better when you cooked hot dogs and spagetti” it’s insulting. but whatever, as i said people are entitled to their opinions.

    i happen to think Erin Stern is super hot and super down to earth, I enjoy her training videos and her Q&A vids when she’s just sitting in her car like the most normal person ever.

  11. Lots of motivation on this site as of late, I like it.
    Oh and Criedthefox, you too can be as tan as Erin Stern. You just have to buy and apply the right bottle of liquid pigment cause that ish ain’t natural.

  12. After I got my tab all I could think about was what I was going to eat next…the only enemies I was crushing were pizza and ice cream…on my couch…in Ranger sweatpants. I actually went to Waffle House in those sweatpants. As I was finishing up a chocolate chip waffle, the waitress asked if I wanted anything else? While still chewing I managed to mumble, “another waffle please.” It was around this time that I hit rock bottom. Then I asked myself “what’s next?” I sure could have used this post back then.

    I lol’d @ “hit rock bottom”.

    –Justin

  13. @ziggityzerg that was me too, back when I got mine. “I want a pizza, and a bed. No, three pizzas, and a bed.” As long as you bounce back, it is fine.

  14. I enjoy encouraging people, I like energizing people, I love helping people…. but I HATE trying to motivate people. It is consistently the most unproductive, unrewarding exercise in futility as 99% of the time, if they do not HAVE motivation, they will not KEEP motivation.

    It may be because I mix mostly with folks in their 30’s and 40’s at work and the fire department, but if they are weak POS’s, it is well-and-truly earned through years of dedication to their couch and cupboard.

  15. I hear it all the time: “I need to get a personal trainer because I need someone to motivate me.” If your motivation doesn’t come from within, it’s not a matter of IF you will fail, but WHEN you will fail.

  16. say it brotherrrrrrrrrrrr.

    I can’t tell you how many times I hear a friend or someone at the gym ask me what my goals are and when I say bench 350lb, squat over 500lb and deadlift over 500lb they think I’m crazy. One of my best friends goes “why, that’s pointless can’t you just be happy with 225” I walked away after that. He just doesn’t get “it.”

    Everyone wants to get rich, get huge, land the hott girl (or guy) and live an awesome life. But few every really take the plunge and give a full 100% effort. Set your goals high and work to achieve them, don’t settle or let others put you down or say that you can’t. If you give 100% it’s pretty amazing what a person can truly do.

  17. Thanks for this, Justin.

    I’m 30kg from the qualifying total for the American Open, but I’m busting my ass every day to qualify.

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re competing in figure competitions, weightlifting, archery or curling, if you want something bad enough, there are no excuses. Just work, work, work, work.

  18. this is an excellent post. i am active duty and as such am subject to pt tests occasionally. whenever one comes up, people are always talking about the minimum number of pushups/situps/run time they need to pass. i never understood this and i have no idea what minimums are. i don’t max the pt test or anything, but screw shooting for just barely scraping by.

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