Life: The Choice of the Two Pains.

The great philosophers pontificate about man’s existence preceding his essence. This in short means that truly every other species on the planet has a purpose in life, its rightful place in the food chain, a responsibility, a function. We as part of the human species being aware that we are aware, realizing that we can realize and thinking about how we are able to think, puts us in a situation where we are more than just food for the next highest form in the chain. Since our existence precedes our essence, we have to make our own reason for being here on this planet. We have to make choices each day and truly strive to accomplish something significant before we end up pushing up daisies like all other little creatures do. We have to make our lives significant and of substance, because we, unlike a fish or bird, know we are going to end up “dead as a doornail” one day.

How do we make ourselves significant, and what in the world does that have to do with Powerlifting? As we go through our lives there are basically two pains we will encounter on our journey. The pain of discipline and the pain of regret. The first pain, discipline, as relates to powerlifting is the pain the powerlifter goes through if he/she is truly a student of the sport. We come to the gym like clockwork; we push our bodies to their limits, and often time past their limits. Our discipline involves our ability to stay with a nutritional plan and pass on things that could take away from our goals of being the best powerlifter we can possibly strive to be. Discipline drives us to perform the next rep, the next set, the next movement. Being disciplined means rarely cheating ourselves by avoiding the hard work that is involved in being a true champion. Ernie Frantz always says, “Winners are simply willing to do what losers aren’t.” Being disciplined means keeping your eyes on the prize, setting little goals to reach that one big goal, and following the plan to fruition. This involves the pain of discipline. These physical and mental components of discipline are literally painful. It hurts pushing your body so hard you risk injury, squatting so deep and heavy that your nose bleeds, pulling that third super heavy rep on the deadlift and seeing all those stars before your lifting partner helps you to the bench before you pass out. Spend a couple of sessions at QUAD’S gym and watch Ed Coan deadlift. When “the man” passes out from the set, that is truly the walking, living and breathing definition of the pain of discipline.

So fast forward with me and look at the two lives I am going to paint for you in these last paragraphs. Life one is the lifter who chose the pain of discipline. He/she is now 45 years old and in addition to all the typical things that life serves you with such as a home, family, job, etc. this lifter has reached his/her long-term powerlifting goals and has won a state, or national, or perhaps a world championship. They can enjoy their healthy lifestyle, they can look back at the relationships made, friendships they have forged, records they have set. They can say, “Hey, I took life by the horns and rode it all the way, never looking back, never giving up, always choosing the pain of discipline and now I have one more precious part of my life that I can hold my head high and say that I made that portion of my life significant. I accomplished what I went out to accomplish. I have made my mark in the history of Powerlifting, but more importantly I have no regrets.”

Now, life number two. He/she is also 45 but chose not to endure the pain of discipline, but rather chose the path of least resistance. They look at their ailing health, their potential lost, the 25 years that have past since they were a 20 year old with endless potential and promise has been squandered. This person has become one of ten million average, remote control flicking, beer-bellied would-a, could-a, should-a’s that every morning feels the pain of regret. Regret of a life wasted with “Three’s Company” reruns and fast food. That person will have a life of suffering due to the pain of regret that is by far a greater feeling of suffering than the powerlifter would ever encounter in a thousand squat days. No pain hurts like the pain of regret.

Powerlifters choose the pain of discipline because they have a zeal for life and a desire for victory. They live life fast and strive for excellence. If you are taking the time to subscribe and read this magazine and this article you are most likely looking for something to jump out and move you. Here is that something…Regardless of whether or not your lifts at the gym are insane like Chuck Vogelpohl’s, Jessie Kellum’s, or Paul Urchick’s, or your lifts are half-hearted efforts and you are really just going through the motions, 5, 10, 15, and 20 years of your life are going to come and go and you can never get that time back once it has passed. Take the time, make the physical and mental investment, choose the pain of discipline and make each day in the gym a day that you can look back at and say “This was a good day.” Regret nothing! Celebrate everything!

Ever Onward,
Eric C. Maroscher