Fire In The Belly

Cody (above) and PJ (below) Rubel, 20 and 18 respectively, find their 5RM.

You had it once. No matter what age you are, you can remember it. You may see it in other people, and recognize it because it stands out like a beacon.  Purpose, determination, energy. Fire in your belly.

Yeah, you had it. It was there, burning hot and bright. What happened, huh? You got older, each day lost some of its urgency, your music got slower and the volume way lower. What the hell? Are you going to go gentle into that good night?

Dissatisfaction seems to be the modern watchword. Occupy this, occupy that. How about occupying your own soul. That’s right, get in there, root around, see what you are made of.  Have trouble looking at yourself in the mirror? It’s not your reflection, it’s what is being reflected. Dissatisfaction, man. It seems to be palpable on the currents right now.

The road to dissatisfaction is paved in apathy and laziness, in procrastination and would’ves. It’s the devil’s own path.  But there was a time you were hungry. You devoured instead of merely eating. That fire hungered and burned and pushed, and you fed it with dreams and earnestness and commitment. What happened? Who cares, just get it back. Reinvent yourself, but do it honestly, with sweat and blood and tears and effort, not just with a new car or a new drink or a new outfit. Remember, nothing clothes you more than your own self-perception.

Start right here, with your training. Start with the bar and the bumpers and the iron. Polish your soul with pain and sweat and lack of oxygen. Strain and strive and heave and gasp for breath, your lungs bellowing. You know how a slide in a playground is originally painted, but so many kids slide down it that slowly the paint wears away so only the bright metal shows? That’s what your training, all that sweat and pain, does for your soul. Polish it so that nothing remains but yourself.  Nothing nourishes like commitment. Take your commitment out of the gym and into the fresh air. Into the daylight, into the night, into your job, your relationship, your life.

It’s like the song’s lyrics–If I can change one, then I can change two. If I can change two, then I can change four. If I can change four, then I can change eight. If I can change eight, then I can change, a little change leads to a larger one, and that leads to big change.

Strap that white belt around your waist and slowly turn it black with sweat and commitment. That sweat and commitment will fecundate all the rest of your life.


Rest Day