I’m a big fan of Bruce Springsteen’s music. He continually comes out with classic songs that will definitely stand the tests of time. His song “Tougher Than The Rest” helped me come up with this blog post…
Toughness is mental. It isn’t physical. Even if it is physical toughness, it has more to do with the mind’s ability to endure, than the body’s ability to persist through pain. Being in awesome shape simply gives you the tools to be physically tougher, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to be.
Toughness isn’t the absence of fear, but rather the acceptance of it. It’s the willingness to face your worst fears even though you’re scared to shit.
It’s hard to find clarity in the middle of the storm… but it’s something that we all have to do. When life is kicking our ass, the best of us will be able to see the opportunity for growth or success.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. If you’re in financial trouble, for example, all you see is what you can’t do – and there’s a lot that you can’t do. I’ve been there. Limitations surround you, and opportunity is harder to see. Appreciate the struggle, and appreciate the fire that is being lit under your ass because a lot of people don’t rise from this. They remain in a state self-pity.
Ever wonder why there are more average people than successful one’s? There are a lot of factors, but here are a few of the most important things that set them apart from everyone else:
- They have the ability to get back up after they have been – even devastatingly – beaten down.
- They have an incredible belief in what they’re doing, who they are, why they’re here, and where they’re going. They waver at times, but they always come back.
- They simply don’t take no for an answer. They push forward, and work harder, when most others would have already quit.
Great people rise. They thrive on pressure. Yes, they get down, we all do, but some of us stay there and others don’t.
Try and Fail
More is learned through defeat than success.
It’s a simple fact. We learn more about ourselves through failure than we do when everything is going great. We find out what kind of character we have, our work ethic, and our belief in our journey and in ourselves.
As soon as the shit hits the fan, most of us look for the easy way out. I have friends who have went through hell chasing their dream or their goal and have reached – or are in the process of reaching – the top of the mountain. When we talk about the tough times, it’s always with fondness.
“Man I miss those days. The fear of not knowing where the rent money was going to come from, or if it would come at all; the fear of not knowing if I was doing the right thing or going to succeed.” It’s that fear that is exhilarating. Of course they are proud of what they’re accomplishing, but they’re even more proud because they fought the good fight. The destination is a lot sweeter when you’ve had to fight to get there.
More is gained through failure than we ever realize. No matter what you do, you have to be prepared to lay it all on the line. You have to be prepared to completely fail and be left with nothing. You also have to be willing to get back up once you have lost everything.
It’s not always actual failure that shows us what we’re made of, but struggle. You can struggle through the hard times and come out on top, and learn a ton about yourself. You have persevered when you could have just as easily quit.
Get Back Up and Try Again
Anyone can fail. But not everyone gets back up after they fail. Failure hurts, it sucks, it can break you, or it can make you. I don’t want to fill this article with cheesy lines but they’re true.
Victory isn’t as sweet, unless you have tasted the bitterness of defeat.
Toughness can be learned. It can be practiced and it can be developed, even in the gym. Actually, especially in the gym. Human beings don’t like pain. It isn’t natural to go down a road that is going to be painful, but that’s exactly what you can be doing in your training: developing your toughness.
How can you do this?
Train in a way that doesn’t have scheduled rest, or breaks from the pain of training. Train in a way that rewards perseverance through pain. Training through physical pain can prepare you for the emotional and spiritual pain of life.
Try the following workout. Don’t do it more than 3 times a week, because it’s going to be pretty tough on your body. 4 days a week of rest will help you see the benefits from the training.
It’s a challenge workout. Go through each exercise in order – or you can mix up the order – but complete the total amount of reps in each exercise (with minimal rest) before moving on to the next exercise. Time how long it takes for you to complete the entire workout.
The idea is to fail (rest) as little as you can, both in frequency and duration. Try this workout for 2 weeks and track your progress.
Start with a 5-10 minute warm-up – don’t go into this Challenge Workout cold!
1. Squats – 50 reps
2. Bench Press – 50 reps
3. Upright Row – 50 reps
4. Deadlift – 50 reps
5. Push-ups – 50 reps
6. Yates Row – 50 reps
7. Dips – 50 reps
8. Jumps – 50 reps (12-24 inch box as fast as possible)
If you want to get an abs workout in too – add hanging leg raise (30 reps) on to the end of the workout.
Weights for all exercises done with a barbell:
Group 1 – 95 lbs
Group 2 – 115 lbs
Group 3 – 155 lbs
I also recommend doing some rotator cuff exercises after each workout as well.
“I have failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”