Humility is recognizing what you're not good at and what you are good at. It's recognizing that you're not better or superior to others. Knowing that while you may be great at some things, you're not so great at others, and typically, that in any skill, some people will be better than you and some worse.
In genuinely hard training, this virtue is readily handed to you on a plate. You will always be presented with what you're bad at, what you're succeeding with, and so on. As the saying goes, Iron Never Lies.
In order to succeed in our training, in chasing our dreams, we need to be fully honest with ourselves and others about our shortcomings, and fully confident in the talents and skills God gave us and/or helped us develop.
I have run Fatal Fitness since taking over for Dan many years ago. Before that I was heavily involved in the community. I have had the privilege of helping many guys achieve their goals. Occasionally I receive word from the guys about how much the programs have helped them, and that makes everything I do on the site worthwhile. Having said that, often when people meet me they are surprised. Why? Because I am not a jacked, hard-ass looking guy. I am a regular looking guy.
I make no claims of being Captain America. I have many trainees that are stronger than me. Or faster than me. Or both.
But the fact is that our programs work. A fat diabetic or a paraplegic could successfully write strength and conditioning programming (No, I'm not paraplegic or a fat diabetic). One trainee of mine went from quite overweight to doing 20 strict pull-ups while still over 200 lbs. Other trainees, like this one, have found the "sweet spot" in making gains in strength and conditioning! My own brother, who they say is my twin separated by 8 years, has done better on my programming than I have! I am more than happy when members are stronger or faster than me, for two big reasons:
- They're succeeding. This is why I train people. And their success means the programs are working.
- They motivate me to work harder. Competition can bring out the best or the worst in us. Choose the best. Don't resent the guy who's a monster, try to succeed like him.
The programming we use on FF has evolved over many years. Where it is now is the most successful it has ever been. And I am a humble example of it's success.
Back in 2007, I injured my neck in an accident. Apparently, it damaged the edge of a disc in my neck, and gradually over the course of years, that disc began to bulge out. That periodically caused me great pain and held me back in my training sometimes. In 2013, the disc finally popped (and into several pieces as it turns out). An episode of the worst pain of my life came and went, and I gradually tried to rehab my neck and keep training. Then one day, I was warming up for a bench press at just 95 lbs. And the bar came down on me. There was no pain; I simply couldn't move my right side. I could not command that chest muscle to work. I tried pull-ups. Suddenly I was basically doing one-handed pull-ups, my body drifting to my left side- my right lat wouldn't move. What happened was the disc fragments were cutting off the nerves that ran to those muscles, and so they stopped working. And then they started dying. I went to the doctor, and they tried more physical therapy, more traction, more ibuprofen, even some oral steroids. But my muscle was now visibly atrophying. I couldn't even do a pushup or a pull-up, let alone the training I was used to.
Fast forward several months, and I was in surgery, getting a titanium disc replacement put into my neck- through the front. I came out of surgery drunk on meds and with my neck stapled shut. I looked like frankenstein. Weeks and weeks later and I was allowed to start training again. I looked like my pectoral muscle had been surgically removed. I still couldn't do pull-ups, or just a few and they were lopsided. I could handle a few pushups, and my body drifted to the left on these as well, relying on my now stronger side. I needed to change things. I still had dreams and aspirations for my own training, and if nothing else I just needed to overcome this to live better. The hurdle was in front of me, and I needed to get over it, just to get over it.
With our new programming, I came to a point where I needed drastic change. I needed a program that would slowly and steadily allow me to regain strength while I also did some conditioning again. I drew out a simple progression-based system that would theoretically work for just about anybody. I recruited a couple of guinea pigs, and we began to train. Our Simple Strength System was born. I am now stronger than I was pre-injury. Others that train our way put me to shame. But I am proud to say they train our way, and I am happy to let them stir up competition in me.