While this phenomenon of 'Throw Back Thursday' always amuses me, today it has me thinking and wishing I had more pictures from my past. Since everyone loves posting pictures of themselves I decided to post one of the entire gym set up that helped create my love for strength training and to reflect on my Journey in Strength.
This was at my first duty station in 1980, I was a Military Police Officer at a Nuclear Missile Defense Battery in West Germany, I say 'West' because this was during the Cold War and the Berlin Wall was still standing and Germany was divided into East and West.
The gym you see in the picture just happens to also be my barracks room and this massive weight set was passed down from meathead to meathead and was probably 5-8 years old when I got it. About 30 miles away in Wertheim there was a larger base a decent gym but I could only get there a couple of times a week and getting there was an ordeal in itself!!! We worked 24 hours on duty and 24 hours off duty guarding the launch pads and missiles so when you finally made it back to the barracks at 6am all you wanted to do was shower, eat the nasty gruel they tried to pass off as food and get some sleep. Now the bus that went to the base in Wertheim left at 11am so if you missed the bus and didn't have a ride you'd be forced to hitch hike which back then was very popular and you could generally get a ride then just catch the bus back to base when it left at 4pm. There were a few other guys that enjoyed training as much as I did and since our base was at the top of a big ass hill we had a great training schedule set up. On off days we would head to Wertheim and do our cleans, squats and pulls then head back to base and get a jeep or load up a wheel barrow and take turns pushing it up the hill. On days we would be on duty we did our presses and pullups then we would carry each other up the divider berms between the missile pads or lift the big ole stones we had found or our duffel bags that we had loaded with sand.
Here we are in 2014 and I still train the same way as I did way back in 1980. The lessons of hard work, sacrifice, dedication, motivation and passion still live deep within my soul as they have for almost 35 years. I am blessed with my very own awesome gym and to be able to pass on my training philosophy to others that are not afraid of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to become a CHAMPION.
While I never claim that my buddies and I invented our way of training it sure helped form my own philosophy in strength development that continues today. With that in mind, I will say what I find less than amusing is reading or listening to some of the fakes, frauds, and snake oil salesmen out there that like to create the image that they invented all of the training that people have been doing for generations. NO YOU DID NOT!! Maybe you put a different name to it or a little different approach or maybe your own twist on it but it is still strength training and it has been happening long before you and will continue long after you have left it behind so just because you recently became exposed to it does not mean that you invented it.
I sit here at Revival Market enjoying a flat white coffee and have to smile as I think back to 1980 when after training my buddies and I would head to the little town of Hardheim at the bottom of the hill to enjoy a coffee and pastry and watch the world go by. Although I have been very successful as a Strength Athlete, I have to wonder what type of athlete I could have become had I had someone like me coaching me way back then or had access to the gyms that are out there now. Maybe it's part of the reason I am so passionate about not just the training but the journey as well. I guess its always something to ponder while I enjoy my coffee and watch the world go by.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES