Don’t be fooled by the fitness magazines, the “fitness guru” blogs, sites, and articles, you don’t train to get a six pack. I don’t care what age you are, you’re not in the gym, working hard simply to build confidence or to get stronger, at least that’s not where it ends. Our reasons for training aren’t selfish, like we may think, or are told to believe.
Why I Really Train
There are two kinds of men… There are protectors, defenders, and warriors, then there are victims, cowards, and worriers. I hate to make this comparison. It hurts me to say it like it is in this instance, but it needs to be said simply so we can all become the former, and rid any part of the latter from who we are – on some level, we have both within us, but the warrior within is what we need to release, he’s also why we train.
Most days I work from home. The silence, the space, the access to tasty, healthy foods all make for a great work environment. Some days, however, I head to the nearest Starbucks, pop in my headphones, and let Bruce (Springsteen) or Johnny (Cash) blur the noise and give way to the muse.
Today is one such day.
I sit down, open my laptop, espresso and large glass of water to my right, about to start writing when I’m given a glimpse into two different kinds of men.
In front of me and to my left, is a dad sitting with his two daughters, and one of their boyfriends. In front of me and to my right, a father sitting with his wife and daughter.
I’ve seen the guy on the left before. I’ve seen him – his essence – too many times. In this instance, he’s overweight, but he could be underweight, feeble, and weak, that’s not the issue, the main issue is that he’s timid. He isn’t the protector he’d like to be. He’s not the alpha, the warrior that you can tell he has somewhere deep down dying to get out, but pushed down and suppressed by years of weakness.
You can tell a lot about the kind of guy he is by how his daughter’s boyfriend treats her. His hands are all over her, it’s as if her father isn’t even there. He has his hand on her leg, he kisses her, when her dad says something, she snarls at him, belittles him, and he takes it.
The boyfriend tells him what they’re going to do. He pays for his girlfriend, takes control of the conversation – this boyfriend isn’t even much to look at, but he’s in control, the father isn’t.
It breaks my heart to see this guy. To see a guy that isn’t who he wants to be physically, socially, or even financially. It’s like life has kicked his ass one too many times, and he’s taken it every single time. He’s lost his fight. He’s so disconnected from the warrior within that a child – my guess is a 15 year old – can walk all over him, and take command of his family.
If this father took control over only one aspect of his life, if he built a more powerful body, took pride in how he looked and performed, this power would translate to other areas of his life. It would open the door to him being the protector for his family. The gatekeeper. The MAN.
Then I look to my right, to the second guy…
The man sits with his beautiful wife and daughter – the daughter’s a cutie, so most of my initial attention is towards her, but then I notice how he’s carrying himself in comparison to the guy to my left.
He looks strong, powerful – both in how he carries himself, his physique, and his demeanor. He’s in charge. He’s his families protector. He dresses well, not overdone as to look vain, but he cares about how he looks, but more importantly he cares about his family. He shows that love by being able to physically protect them. He shows it through caring about what goes in to his body, and how it can perform. He’s clearly trying to stick around for the long haul – green tea in hand while the other guy is drinking the empty calorie monstrosity that is the Frapuccino.
The two men sit in front of me.
I make generalizations and have no real insight into their character or who they are, but what I see hurts. I feel for the guy on my left. It’s not simply because his family walks all over him, or that they have a lack of respect for him as a father and as a man – although that’s apparent and it’s tough to see – but that they don’t feel his love through who he is.
They don’t feel his warrior spirit by how he cares for his own body. He’s a heart attack waiting to happen, and yet, he’s stuffing his face with a doughnut and a Frapuccino.