I am going to share with you two of my favourite fitness quotes which I have found to be the most inspiring and reassuring of my continued journey through fitness. These two quotes are not of the bland, overused, thoughtless variety, because they provoke some thinking. You see enough of those empty quotes on instagram like #squateveryday or “surround yourself with people who motivate you” and other bullshit people use to pretend they have a reason to show you their face(s), ass(es), or what they did that day. I honestly hate fitness quotes for the most part, but the two quotes I am going to share go deeper, and that is why I like them, and they have really stuck with me.
“The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”- Henry Rollins
This is the final paragraph of a wonderful essay called Iron and The Soul by Henry Rollins. Rollins isn’t your typical fitness guy. He was the lead singer of one of the most influential punk-rock bands of the 80’s called Black Flag. Looking at Rollins you can tell he’s hit some serious iron in his life, but its not often you get to hear about a performing artist’s relationship with fitness. The result is beautiful and you can tell he is the real deal.
There have been many times when I have read or remembered this quote in times of self-doubt or criticism and have been brought nearly to tears by its message. Lifting weights has been not only my litmus test, but also my baby-blanket since I was a teenager. In times of mental or emotional need a trip to the gym can feel like a good talk with my folks and leave me feeling much better. There is another aspect of weightlifting that he pulls out which I find beautiful as well. It doesn’t matter whether you are a millionaire or poor, good-looking or ugly AF, Ukranian or Cree, a liberal or a Trump supporter. It doesn’t matter if you are succeeding or failing at work or in your relationships, if you have lots of friends or are a complete loner. No matter who, or what, you are, and how you are doing, the bar is always going to weigh the same and there is something I love about that.
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”- Socrates
I love this quote because it is literally ancient, and the man who spoke it is heralded as one of the greatest thinkers in the history of humankind. It fascinates me that all those years ago, a smart person recognized the innate value in challenging oneself physically. Your body is a gift and not finding out what it is capable of is just such a waste. A person can learn so much about themselves through challenging themselves physically. Fitness isn’t something you do because you have to, just to look good, or because your doctor tells you to lose weight. It is something you do because it is a virtue and you are going to improve your life and experience of the world around you.
Furthermore, I love that the responsibility is placed on the individual. It falls on you to know how to take care of yourself. It is a duty. Nowadays people too often think they need to wait for a new expert, the right training method, or right gym to open in their city before they can get in shape. Let me tell you, all the information that is needed for you to reach your potential physically has already been discovered. It’s all out there. There is no big secret. You just need to start doing the work.
I am a fitness coach so I know first hand that having a coach can be a great boost towards reaching your goals, growing as a person, and seeing what you are capable of, but the onus still falls on the individual. With that in mind I’ll leave you with a third quote.
“The words of the teacher cannot change you, only your effort to follow those words can.”
If you are ready to find out what you are capable of physically, and making the virtue of fitness a part of your life feel free to shoot me a message.
Grit Human Performance.