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I often read some of my favorite coaches writing about sacrifice and lifestyle in training and becoming strong. I know they accomplish what they mean, which is to motivate novices.

I’m not sure, but I think a dose of dark truth would be good for these young minds as well.

Until the WPC Worlds in Vegas, when I had a lot of private time with great lifters, I hadn’t realized how much pain and suffering so many of them had endured and that those had led them to the platform we shared for a couple of days. It was not only me: right there were a bunch of survivors for whom strength was the only way to hang on to life.

Therese Janc and Donnie Thompson organized the SHW calendar last year (or was it this year?). Many of these wonderful, big, strong, smiling athletes were bullied kids themselves. Bullying is potentially lethal and, as a social disease, leaves sequels 100% of the times. These people had been damaged and they are strong as they are in great measure because they can’t afford not to.

In April, competing at the RPS at the Arnolds, I met a junior lifter who can only be classified as a phenomenon. He needs to move to a new weight class because there is no challenge for him where he is. He used to be a drug addict. One day he fell in love with a loaded bar: she never betrayed or neglected him (as so many people in his life had), she fed him life and will always be there for him. Yes, “she”, and you know why I used this pronoun.

I knew people so shy or so deprived of educational means to express their feelings or perceptions that the only discourse they had was the movement they could produce with a loaded bar.

Let’s face it: everyone needs to be strong. Your neighbor, your brothers, mother, friends, the cashier, they guy on the sidewalk looking at his cell phone, the beggar and your doctor. But you, my friend, you, champion, elite lifter, you can’t afford not to.

I don’t know your darkness, your urges, the beauty inside you that needs an outlet, I know nothing and I don’t need to. All I know is if you didn’t have any of that, you wouldn’t be where you are.