Antonio Banderas. Acclaimed actor. Handsome fella. Totally sweet name that is ridiculously fun to say. Great accent. World’s greatest strength coach.
Oh you read that right. World’s greatest strength coach. Oh you want me to actually explain that to you? Really? Man, we are getting soft as a society when I have to spoon-feed y’all the obvious… but I will indulge your need to be coddle just this one time.
A few years back I was watching one of the various news magazine programs like 60 Minutes or Dateline: NBC and Mr. Banderas was on being interviewed. He’s actually a pretty interesting, thoughtful guy, but it was one thing he said that really caught me and stuck with me until today. I cannot find the exact quote, but to paraphrase he said (and please imagine it in his kick-ass Spanish accent), “People today seem to live their lives where they expect to have this kind of orgasmic joy in every single moment. That if they are not happy every single moment, something is wrong. I want to actually have moments of up’s and also the downs and the sadness. That’s part of life and I think not having those sad moments makes you worse off as a human being.”
And yes, he really did use the word “orgasmic” when describing the kind of joy some people feel they should have every day in every moment they experience.
Every person who engages in strength training I think can actually benefit from the point he is making. Lifting in the gym is never going to be that kind of “orgasmic” experience where every single repetition feels like you could hold the world like Atlas. You won’t set PRs every single session and sometimes, you will actually do worse than you did before. Sometimes you will be flat or tired or unfocused. It simply is going to happen. If you somehow expect this to be otherwise, then you are in for an utterly frustrating training career and please accept my sympathies now… except if you truly felt this way, I’m really not going to be sympathetic to your plight.
There is actually true value to those low moments where you push through and find out about yourself. OK, so you didn’t crush out a 10 lb. personal record. Did you still push yourself as best you could despite feel off or like crap? How will you plan going forward? Will you be thoughtful about why things went poorly and try to address those things you have some control over? Or will you curl up in the fetal position so you can rock back and forth while muttering, “Can’t be happening… can’t be happening… find my happy place… happy place…”?
Nobody wants the moments of coming up short, but since you are going to have them anyway, it’s best to get at least something positive out of them.
That’s what Antonio Banderas would do… he’s the world’s greatest strength coach.