I’ve mentioned Theodore Roosevelt on this site before, and held him up as an example as to how a man should live. He pursued his ambitions, even against the wishes of his family. He traveled the world, faced his fears, and was one of the greatest Presidents America has ever known. I mentioned Roosevelt, however, not only as an archetype for the alpha male (let me explain this a tad deeper in a second), but as a shining example for the power of fitness.
First, let’s talk about Teddy the Alpha Male – the reasons aren’t necessarily what they’d appear to be. Theodore Roosevelt has all the trappings of a social alpha male. That is, the social leader of a large group. He walked into the room, and he was often the dominant male. Sure, this may be true, but Roosevelt was also a nerd. He had an intense love of wildlife, insects, and knowledge. He spent more time as a child reading, than adventuring. But adventuring is what makes him a true alpha male, and a real man.
Men, at our hearts, are adventurous beings. We crave it. From a young age we’re drawn to both heroes and outlaws. We like big trucks, gun fights, and adventure. Most of us, however, have that adventurous nature taken away from us. We, in short, become domesticated. We allow society to tame us; to quell our wild spirits. What’s left is a shell of the man that existed in our childhood.
And make no mistake, we let society do this to us everyday, if not by our ignorance, then by our laziness. Rather than swimming upstream, we constantly choose to swim downstream, with the current, with the rest of the emasculated humanity of this world. It’s within our power to change this. You are changing this domestication by reading this article. You alter its effect on your psyche when you give in to your adventurous side and embark on a journey that brings about a giddy feeling that you hadn’t had in years.
That giddy feeling is the joy we get from from unbridled freedom. From doing what we love to do. From being adventurous.
This, my friend, is why Teddy Roosevelt is an alpha male; it’s because he’s a real man. And a real man is more a boy, in some ways, than the “civilized” male that society moulds, shapes, and carves into its own liking. Teddy stayed true. He stayed connected with his innocence. It’s what led him to seek justice, to fight against crony capitalism and for true capitalism. It’s what led him to fight for the voting rights of women, to create more national parks than any person or organization before him or since, and to embark on journeys that have since become the stuff of legend. But he was more than that. And we can learn more from him.
He had is flaws, as every man does, of course. I don’t write this to merely glorify the man, but to give you and I a tangible archetype that we can both read about, study, and learn from.
As an aside, one of my favorite songs is Tim McGraw’s, Better Than I Used to Be. We’re all flawed. Whether you’re a recovering drunk, drug addict, womanizer, or scumbag, you’re walking forward, you’re being better than you used to be. And you’re not alone. We all have skeletons in our closets. Just don’t let those old, dusty, even fresh and recent, skeletons ruin the man you’re becoming. Please. The world needs you. But back to Teddy…
Roosevelt isn’t simply an archetype for an alpha male, he’s a shining example as to why fitness is so important. All we see now is the bravado of the man. Him sitting perched on a beautiful stallion, decked in his military outfit, or sparring at lunch even as President, as he would every afternoon. We see the result, not the journey.
Teddy was born sick and weak. As an young lad he’d cough blood, wheeze, and have trouble doing any activity other than sitting. It was his father who both loved him, and despised his feeble condition, that would be responsible for his transformation. His dad, a guy who was also - if not more-so - an alpha male in every sense of the word, put Teddy under a strict workout routine.
He saw his physical weakness for what it was: a limiting factor in a boy’s, and a man’s, life.
No man should go through life being physically weak. Every man should be blessed with strength, and strength is something we incur through hard work and training, not from God-given ability. Teddy is the perfect example of this. His dad got him into weight training and boxing, and the result was a completely transformed human; a human that would go on to impact the world as much as any man had before him, or has since.
We train to be at our best, not just to look our best. We lift weights and spar to become better, stronger men, capable of doing more with our lives than we would be had we remained weak. Had Teddy’s dad not pushed him physically, he’d most likely have died before he reached twenty. The world would have never been impacted by such a great man, and guys like you and I would have never been inspired to push ourselves in our own lives, and in our own way.
To live a great life is a wonderful thing for the individual himself, of course, but the impact that that life has on others is far greater, and far more important. Forget about the impact Teddy had on people during his time – the incredible, inspiring speeches he made that inspired his fellow countrymen to live a Strenuous Life, instead of a life of ease. Forget what he did to inspire and uplift during his life, and instead think about how his actions effected us, even today.
Living with such a passion and zest for life, adventure, and discovery, has inspired more than a few men of today to do the same. Had Teddy’s father, Theodore Senior, not had such a deep loathing for his son’s apparent genetic frailty, the world most definitely wouldn’t be as good of a place as a result.
This is one example of the power of fitness, but there are many, many more. William Wallace and Abraham Lincoln immediately come to mind. However, for all we can learn from these great men, their deeds are rendered useless if we, ourselves, don’t carry on the torch. Are you the next Teddy Roosevelt, William Wallace, or Abraham Lincoln?
Don’t forge a great body merely for the aesthetics, and think that’s the only benefit. Use your body to propell you, to enable you to live a Legendary life. Use fitness and how it teaches discipline, focus, and persistence, to become a stronger, more disciplined, more focused, and persistent man. Use fitness to aid you in your quest to greatness in whatever field you choose to conquer. First, however, understand where fitness originates. Connect with warriors of the past, to create a warrior in the present. Use the spirit of this ancient form of practice to forge a body worthy of the epic battles of antiquity, the courageous conquests of Rome, Greece, and Macedonia.
The Way of The Warrior
Sweat pouring from my brow, I approached the 800 pound beast with intent focus. Though my muscles were fatigued, my body near broken, I pushed forward. Quitting didn’t enter my heart, though it invaded my mind like a plague. At some point during the struggle, your mind becomes weak, and your heart, your soul has to take over.
Training was born because of battle…
There was no other reason to train other than to become better skilled at war. Men would run, spar, and sprint in an effort to live a little longer, and kill a few more of their enemies. Vanity, although it can be a valuable friend, wasn’t in the original “training constitution”. Bigger biceps were never the original focus. And, as I approached the 800 pound rubber beast, I did so accompanied by thousands of years of warriors.
I could feel the spirit of Achilles, Wallace, and Spartacus. It sounds funny, sure, but there’s a connection to past warriors when you train as a warrior. A strength and a greater purpose fills your very being. You are Rocky Marciano when you’re slugging away at the heavy bag. You are Ali as you’re skipping, Tyson as you’re bobbing and weaving, and Dempsey as you’re sparring, never taking a step back, always moving forward.
For the first time in my life, I was training for its original purpose: battle.
The 800 pound beast was a tire, an integral part of my training when I was fighting, along with the sledge-hammer and the iron. The tire was an obstacle, but also a friend. This inanimate object would help me win my next fight, sure, but it would do far more than help me physically. Training, I mean really training. Training hard, pushing through pain, and trying what you can’t yet accomplish, strengthens the soul.
As does war.
While some can pursue vain intentions for their entire life, maintaining six pack abs, developing a cut, chiseled physique, I never could. I couldn’t approach my training if my intentions were founded in vanity, in the same way that I could when the goals were performance, like I did when I was fighting. I needed, and still need, a greater reason besides abs and biceps to train.
The reason has nothing to do with me, who I am, and my deep intentions. I think the reason is simple: I’ve seen the other side. I’ve been in the arena, my face marred by dust, sweat, and blood. I’ve strived valiantly, fought my internal weakness, and gained strength as a result.
Instead of merely allowing training to help me become a more confident guy because of how I looked, I have, at least in some part, used my body as Teddy did; to become a stronger man, a man who at least has an improved capacity for greatness as a result of building a stronger body, and a stronger soul from my training. Continue Read on Page 2 >>>