The pitter patter of a light rain against the pavement breaks the silence of the early morning. There is a biting chill in the air as I stand in the front doorway of my house, staring into the distance. An aura of calmness takes over me as I reflect on moments to come. As the rain reduces to a slight drizzle, I step out onto the dampened sidewalk. I throw the hood of my sweatshirt over my moistened head and begin to jog towards my destination. It is time to pray at the altar of Iron
I have always been the kind of guy who let the stresses of life build up inside. I’d find myself getting angry at the most mundane things. I would lash out at others and would feel a constant unease deep within my soul. I knew I needed a change, I just wasn’t sure what kind. Then one day I watched a movie called Pumping Iron and all of the puzzle pieces fell into place. I knew what I needed to do.
From that moment on I decided to dedicate my days to not just improving my physique, but my mind as well. To truly become one with yourself, you need to drive out the weakness and turn it into strength. Many people ask me why I find such joy in doing something so strenuous. Something done in such complete solitude. Why indeed.
Arriving at the gym after a 20 minute jog, I unlock the door and enter. It is pitch black as no one else has yet come to illuminate the darkness. I set my backpack off to the side and flip on the lights. With a few flickers of the fluorescent tubes on the ceiling, the musty basement gym fills with color. Without hesitation I start my workout.
Training puts my mind at ease. Even though I’m putting massive stress upon my body, I am at my most relaxed when I’m training. All the stresses of the world fade away and there is nothing but me and the iron. There are no judging eyes criticizing my every move. No responsibility weighing me down like an albatross hanging from my neck. The only thing present is my pride, my will, and my determination to get better. The iron doesn’t judge. It doesn’t criticize. Even though it weighs heavy upon my body, the iron never holds me down. If anything, it lifts me up, freeing me from the problems of my own mind. The iron does not need anything from me. It is simply there, and it is me who needs it.
As the perspiration drips from my chin, I hit the last rep of my workout. Standing in front of the mirror, I take my hoodie off and take a long hard look at myself. What once was a soft, weak body is now hardened like that of a warrior. Many years of blood and sweat have gone into carving this living statue. No matter where life may take me, not one thing can ever take away the hard work I have put in.
For even if it was just an hour out of my day, I lived without fear, shame, regret, or concern for the future. In that hour the only thing that mattered was the iron. The need for improving. The fire blazing inside of me allowing me to complete feats that I have never before considered myself capable of. I put my hoodie back on as well as my backpack. I head to the door and take one last look back at the temple of iron in which I have spent so many lonely nights and darkened mornings. I flip the lights off and head back out into the world.
The sun is just peaking over the horizon as the morning light bounces off of the dewy blades of grass. As the hustle of city life takes hold of the day, I am reminded of why I chose this path in life. Why do I spend so much time alone, breaking down my body? Why do I enjoy the solitude of a dark gym with nothing but the iron to keep me company? Why indeed.