What the fuck is the point of what you’re doing? This isn't just a derogatory rhetorical question, it’s the sort of inquisition that every person that steps into my training space has to answer - eventually, hopefully, but every now and then we forget to turn this question on ourselves.
We/I/us repeat often about “solving problems”, we reiterate the harangue first uttered by Gym Jones in the first days of the project. Most of us soaked up every word and spit out our variation of it, we repeated enough that we might actually live by new philosophical rules. Some of us changed our lives drastically, invested fully, we traveled from far, we quit our jobs, and ditched acquaintances; truly trimming the fat as we were instructed by sermon to do. It made us better, more resolved, like an entire generation that finally found a “coming of age”; a tradition to pass on to those we met that shared similar frustrations. The words, the conviction, and the absolute purpose in giving yourself physically so that you might reap a psychological benefit spread exactly how it should of; to those who needed it. The beacon was loud and clear, and it didn’t matter that we found it through Hollywood, it mattered that the message was bright and honest.
I remember what the original message was and that I hope it still is, and I realize the expansion dilutes what was once concentrated and strong. This is inevitable; in order to change the masses the net cast must be vast. The mistake is in keeping all contents, just because the fish are willing to stay on the boat doesn’t mean it’s proverbially satisfying. Much like non-parable life there are a lot who pretend to be big fish. The Internet has compounded this problem; access to good information increases exposure to bad, copied, misstated, and just dead false information. It also breeds parrots, the mimicking of knowledge that when looked at closely is not thought, but assumption squawked from places of authority. Originality is dead, owning a blog and taking “edgy” photos, quoting dead people who actually accomplished something does not lead to progression but actually the opposite - regression.
I revere what Gym Jones has taught me, what Mark has taught me, and that’s because it isn’t governed and specific. They didn’t teach me what to say, what to tweet, what to repeat, they taught me how to think, how to question and how to make it my own to share. Most miss this last part; I find it the hardest because my own characteristics falter and my fluency is not of the quality of which others can express. But I practice and search for a way to pay homage, to light a fire in others.
“What are you doing?”
Don’t answer that I’ll interject anyways, it doesn’t matter until you can learn and understand the prerequisite: 1) Don’t be lazy 2) Don’t be an idiot. The apprenticeship for the latter, to be sure is extensive. Proving you’re not lazy usually confirms idiocy and so forth, so the fine balance begins. In the gym more than 5-8 sets of anything is contradiction of the former, and admission of stupidity or arrogance disguised as hard work. The ego takes responsibility, waving proudly when our question is posited. “900 sets of x” A fine mental stretch, plumbing the depths for character, but usually just an exercise in “attention whore 101” If a person trains without a transcript on Instagram, did it happen? Just be honest and move on: “I lack self-esteem. I hate my father. I can’t achieve full erection without a ‘like’.” Oh good that’s why you ignore scientifically proven training methods; in order to self-medicate. It is not hard to train correctly, not every act at a barbell needs to be a reenactment of the Buddhist monks' self-immolation to protest Vietnam, I would claim the opposite, unless 30-years of laziness is being overwritten in a 6-week cycle, by all means Mettre le feu.
“What’s the point?”
There is no “arrival”. No belt signifying your position. No one cares about your trial enacted by a Stairmaster. When the catchy Facebook progress-photo updates cease to signify transformation, you need somewhere to go. You will spend years telling yourself you’re improving only to use what you are already good at as a dick measure. It is intelligent physical exertion limited by psychological boundaries that keep this worthwhile. By all means discuss what you are doing and the process, gather around others that don’t believe your hype. If your grounding is right others will take note, if you’re wrong the ones you stood with will show you the right way, as long as you’re humble enough to accept it. The commentary for watching great people accomplish phenomenal acts is not made by other great people. Be critical with yourself and leave the talk to those unwilling to do. The point of all of this is to be more capable, NOT to be correct. Do what you are most afraid of; practice what you’re least proficient with. You need a solid foundation to hold up a fine sculpture and without refinement nothing will be clear. Like all great works, appreciation for the final product is for after you’re dead.