I like stories that make people think. I love stories that can change behaviors.
I sometimes tell this story to my athletes and clients who I think “need to hear it.”
This is not my story; this is a hand-me-down story from my high school wrestling coach which I never forgot.. He tells it better, but I will do my best to get the story, and most importantly the point across.
This story is about a very strong high school wrestler who dominated his opponents with sheer strength and power. This guy didn’t have a great technique; he wasn’t your stereotypical wrestler with flash and style. His philosophy was all about being bigger, stronger and much more powerful than anyone he wrestled. A few days after winning the State Championship in NJ, a young wrestler approached him curious to see how this guy trains and what he does in the weight room. The young wrestler rattled off one of the same questions that so many young lifters are first curious about. The question was not about the State Champion’s training splits, or about his conditioning protocols. The question was rather about something much more simple: “How much ya bench?” Yep, that was it. The kid wanted to know how much this guy bench pressed. Like it mattered? Without taking more than a second to answer, the wrestler replied with a knowing smile, “Anyone I want to!”
This story may sound simplistic and meaningless to you. You might actually think it is stupid and stop reading now, but I do ask you to think about it. This story is not meant to bash the bench press or the numbers that someone gets in the weight room; rather, it points out the importance of the ultimate goal of training, or practicing for your event. It is simply about seeing the forest through the trees. Athletes don’t train so they can bench a lot. People don’t usually just workout only to throw big numbers up (well some do, but…). Remember WHY you are training. Remember WHAT it is you are training for. In this case, this guy was training to win. He was working towards dominating his opponents. It didn’t matter if he benched 200 or 400 pounds. His training was effective enough for him to “bench anyone he wants.”
Take home message: Don’t get caught up in numbers, whether they are weights you are pressing, or weight on the scale. See the bigger picture; focus on why you are doing what you are doing and you might be surprised with the outcome.