Why do you train? Do you want to get stronger? Faster? Fit or healthy? Do you aim to compete in a particular sport like powerlifting, weightlifting, or catfish noodling? Wanting to get jehcked is good. Striving to get better in a sport is good. But, I ask you…what is best in life?
So true. Let me ask you another question. When you step into the gym each training session, are you seething? Are you rabid? Are you shaking with hatred, wanting to kick the SHIT out of somebody or some…thing? No, you will never tap into your full power, young padawan. To develop your full destructive capabilities, you must know hate.
If your mom told you that you weren’t supposed to hate, it shouldn’t be hard to remember that your mom doesn’t deadlift 500 pounds. Your preacher can’t press 225 and your grandma can’t squat herself off the toilet. This isn’t a game. This is competition.
My friend Brent has used this mentality ever since I’ve known him. His unassuming method is to observe all kinds of lifters, coaches, and trainees on the internet. Inevitably there will be a good chunk of them who act like dickheads. They may even be stronger than him. And if they are, then beware. Brent’s hatred runs deep, right into the marrow of his bones. Instead of aiming vitriol at his targets, he files it in his brain’s Hate File. The Hate File is a rolodex of names, faces, videos, and…targets. I’ve learned that Brent will sit seemingly calm waiting for his next rep in training. But what’s going on is a whirlwind of accusations and speculation that results in a furious attempt.
So-and-so doesn’t think I’m an athlete.
Fuck-face is squatting more than this right now.
Piece-of-shit is totalling 90% of me…I need to do much more…to EMBARRASS HIM.
Brent not only wants to be better than those he hates, he wants to annihilate them. But he’s not in a hurry. He knows that for some of his tangos, it will take time. And that’s why he places their file gently in his mind, thumbing it every so often to give himself a paper cut that reminds himself why he trains his dick off every day.
This. This is only one way to create Antagonistic Motivation. Strife, anger, and — god forbid — challenge are avoided in today’s society. What enemy can you find or create to challenge you to be better? When I was in high school, my early methods of spiking adrenaline consisted of imagining that a fullback was coming to block me in an iso. An “iso” is a football term for when the full back runs directly at the linebacker (me) to block him with the running back directly behind him. It’s a play dependent on the guts of the fullback and linebacker; who will deliver the bigger hit? Who will blow the other person up to make a play. I would think about this direct challenge to my honor right before squatting. I would routinely squat 425 to 445 for sets of five…beltless and in running shoes.
Is there a specific person or competitor that you will face in the future? Is there a hypothetical fiend on the enemy team who is aiming to make you fail? There is a quote that has percolated around the Special Operations community that reminds trainees of their true threat:
Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn’t worry about what workout to do – his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about ‘how hard it is;’ he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn’t go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.
Still want to quit?
If you can’t bring yourself to hate, then personify the reason you should be training. In this case, a failure to put full effort into training can result in death, dismemberment, or torture in not only one’s self, but friends. There is no higher antagonistic motivation than knowing that your success effects the lives of other people.
Observe these strategies of Antagonistic Motivation and force a bout of introspection to figure out what you can put yourself against. You’re a desk jockey with no real life threatening challenge? Put yourself in situations of challenge. Aim to medal in your weight class at your next meet. Every day when you walk in the gym, think about how the guys in your weight class are training just as hard, if not harder than you. While they may be at a higher or lower level than you, you ignore those excuses. Instead, focus on your opponent, your challenger…your enemy. Will you let him train harder than you today? Will you let him beat you? You better fucking not.