How Do You Cope?

I’m going to be blunt. I’m going to keep it real. I’m going to keep it 1-hunnit. However you relate to this, because you will, this is me. This is probably you. Where I am now in my career. Where my physique sits. Everything…all comes from this. My ability to cope with struggle. My ability to cope with stress. My ability to cope with frustration, hurt, and anger. My ability to cope with doubt and fear. This is how I cope.

Bodybuilding.

Weightlifting.

Whatever the heck you want to call it. It’s the one life variable I can control. Each training day. Each lift. Each 45, 35, 25, 10, 5, and 2.5lb plate I load on to the bar and every dumbbell or kettle bell I pick up. I control that. No one else does.  ME.

I must say, I credit my father for introducing me to bodybuilding at a young age. He used to compete like every other meathead in Brooklyn and Manhattan. We would go to the local town gym, we would lift, but I always wanted to leave shortly after going. At that time, there was nothing regarding weight training I really cared for. I didn’t care to bench or squat, my pushup looked like crap and was curling more than bodyweight…with incredibly poor form. Many times, I just said, “to heck with this.”

I’ll never forget the very first time I took this seriously. January 2007, I started working at a hospital in Jersey and was spending weekends at the shore. Guidos and Guidettes were in…and so were blowouts…lol. Muscles, tattoos, Ed Hardy and Affliction turned boys in to Gods and these girls ate it up. Around the same time, I had dealt with a bad break up  (well, when I was 19 I considered it bad. Lol). My mother and I argued every waking moment. For the first time, I had a reason to WANT to lift. I wanted payback. I wanted to get even. I, like many of you, male and female, have gone through this, sometimes more than once. I turned that emotional anger and hurt in to energy to lift. After a month of lifting and having my first protein shakes ever, my physique changed and I knew it would only get better from here.

There were many ‘feel good’ moments…hell, there still are. Going from this 135lbs frail dude to 170 for one. People notice you more, whether they’re haters or admires….well both are admirers but one does it in a negative fashion. Probably the biggest change I personally noticed when I lifted was the amount of respect I gained. People notice hard work. The way they treat you is a reflection of that. Not saying ALL the time but it does happen more often than not.

Each day of each week of each month of each year, I got better. My physique got better. My mentality got better. My career blossomed. My wanting of more grew. Why? How? It’s because in the gym, you strive to be great. It’s about taking that same mentality and translating it to other aspects of life.

When you train, it prepares you to cope with life. Do you want that job position? The same exact way you would work up to that day of hitting a PR on your lift is the same way you bust your butt to get that new job. Do you want to be successful in life and get to the top of your field? CONSISTENCY IS KEY. You wouldn’t be stagnant in the gym and make excellent progress so don’t do it in your profession. “Don’t expect to gain the rewards of the work you did not do.” Have your fair share of breakups. Turn those negative feelings in to energy to power your best training sessions. Whenever the thought of that comes to mind, it intensifies a set. One extra rep. A little extra weight. SOMETHING is the catalyst.

This past year has been one hell of a one for me in every aspect of life. From my growth as a trainer, to becoming a man, to the break ups, to being comfortable living uncomfortable. All in all, it’s been the best, most positive year of my life believe it or not and MAN have I learned a lot. There are a lot of things in life that you might have a handle on but the only thing you can TRULY control is that bar, those dumbbells, and your time. Own that shit. Cope.

Biggie said it best, “I turned a negative in to a positive and it’s alllll good. And if you don’t know, now ya know…”

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