Push, Be Pushed

It’s easy to quit in the middle of a workout.

Sure, you have fitness goals. Sure, you know that if you finish it, you’ll come out better for it. Sure, you probably could do it too, especially if it’s something a trainer gave you – after all, he wouldn’t have made you do it unless he was confident in your abilities.

But the weight’s too much. The cold iron is pressing down on your shoulders. Your legs are starting to buckle. Your breath is catching in your throat. It hurts too much to continue, to finish your current rep, let alone another one.

Suddenly you don’t care about your goals or your potential or what people think – you just want the goddamn barbell off you.

This is the most crucial moment of the most demanding workouts. Arguably it’s more important even than the race or the beach trip or the movie: you have to decide that what’s waiting for you on the other side of the crucible is more important than ridding yourself of the pain, or you aren’t going to get there.

Sometimes the voice inside is loud enough to spur you on. Sometimes that goal is so embedded in you that you can – for just a little longer – bear the weight and force yourself to keep moving.

And sometimes – perhaps in the worst of times – you need someone else there to drive you on. You need someone who understands how hard it is, but believes you’re still harder. It can’t be a pithy “I believe in you” – it works only when it is a true, honest proclamation of faith in the process that has led you to this point. They aren’t telling you something you don’t know – they’re reminding you of what you can do.

I have written repeatedly about Mark Twight and the Man of Steel training process because of my admiration for what Twight did for Henry Cavill and the rest of the cast. In particular, I draw inspiration from this video, in which Henry says one of the great things about Mark was how he helped Henry do things he didn’t think possible.


In the absence of a multi-million dollar movie or a clear career goal, I could use a Mark Twight right about now. Not necessarily to drive me through difficult training sessions – I can manage those well enough, amusingly – but to remind me that, yes, the circumstances are far less than ideal, and it feels like shit some days, but it’s nothing you cannot handle.

It isn’t that no one’s told me. It’s that I need them to make me believe.


5min Row @ progressive pace

5x10s hard / 50s light Row

2×10 Squat

5x Goblet Squat @ 20/25/30kg

BB Complex

1 set each @ 35/40/45/50kg

2min rest



Bent-over Row

Hang Clean

Front Squat

Push Press

Back Squat


100x Back Squat @ body weight

20x Burpee Pull-up per drop / rack

Final Work

10-1x Toes-to-Bar


  • This may seem familiar to anyone who’s read my post on challenge workouts. It’s taken from the Mass Gain phase of Gym Jones’s Man of Steel training program, meant to be attacked in the sixth week. By this point you will have been training for about four months – plenty of time to develop your strength endurance, especially in the squat. When I took this on, I weighed 185lbs. That’s a lot of iron to load on your back for 100 reps, and I was unable to make it through without having to pay the penalty. 
  • The really hard part about dropping the barbell isn’t the penalty; it’s psyching yourself up to put it back and keep going, even if you’re barely 10 reps away from the end. 

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