Real Strength – What Do You Want To Accomplish?

As Told To Critical Bench by Mike Gillette

Over the years I have trained everyone from military and law enforcement personnel, executive bodyguards, competitive fighters, to regular guys looking to get strong.

And along the way I have helped all of them attain some pretty incredible results.  But for most people, the whole idea of strength training is pretty subjective and seems to mean a lot of different things.

So before we start talking about exercises, programs or techniques, I need to make sure that you understand just what I mean when I talk about strength.

So my first order of business is to define just what strength is and my approach to building it.  After all, we need to be on the same page, speaking the same language, so stay with me…

For me, the whole idea of strength starts on the inside and moves out from there.  It’s all about what you want to accomplish.

Many people talk about strength but what they’re actually talking about is the visual approach to training.  Meaning… they just want to look good.  Now I don’t have anything negative to say about that, it just holds absolutely no interest for me as a singular goal.

So when someone tells me they want to ‘get in shape’, I have to ask them what they mean by that.  What does ‘in shape’ mean to you?  What’s the desired outcome… the end goal?

I have had some people look to me because they want me to tell them what their goal is.

So I have to draw things out further and say, “Okay, what do you want out of life?” “What do you want from your relationships?”  “What do you want from yourself?”

Now why do you suppose I would ask such questions? Why would this have anything to do with strength?

Here’s why… If you want everything you can get out of life, you need to be strong.  If you want long-term, healthy relationships you need to be strong for other people.  If you want to achieve anything meaningful in life for yourself you need to be strong for YOU.

Here’s the thing… just looking good doesn’t get anything done in this world.  A spray on suntan and a nice set of abs can’t do anything.

Capability is what counts…  Performance is what counts.   So getting strong, really strong, is what gives you the ability to make yourself and your corner of the world better.

I have a saying… “Don’t pump iron, become iron.”  And this what I want you to do… to become like iron.

Become strong so you can start making the world a better place.  You need to remember that your body is designed to do this, to adapt, to get stronger and stronger.

So let’s get to work making your body fulfill its intended purpose.

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Mike Westerdal here.  I just wanted you to know this is actually the introduction from the Savage Strength Training Manual.  I wanted to share it with you to open up the conversation and get you thinking about what it is that you want to accomplish with your training.

What’s your reason for working out?  How will becoming a stronger person help you live a more fulfilling life and allow you to serve others?

For me becoming stronger physically, mentally and emotionally are all connected. Acquiring real strength makes me a better father, husband, friend and athlete.

If you train to become strong, you still build muscle and burn fat but that outcome is actually a side effect of your training, not the actual goal.  On the flip side if you train just for aesthetics, you may sculpt the body you desire but you’re not ensured the strength to match.

I’ve always said that I’m a “powerbuilder” who wants to be strong and look good though. If you are too, I invite you to read this article about the……..

4 Keys To Unlocking the Hidden Strength That Is Within You

Leave A Reply (3 comments So Far)

  1. Kelly
    8 years ago


    I totally agree that strength is a combination of physical, mental and emotional. You can’t really have one without the others as they are normally each others driving forces eg, wanting to be physically strong you will need to have the right mental attitude and strength.
    It’s like a balanced meal that you can tweak to achieve your goals

  2. ricky
    8 years ago

    being powerful and stong and looking good

  3. Michael
    8 years ago

    To me being in shape means your body is functioning according to the nutrition it is given and absorbed which places you in a position to use your body to work, run and yeah play. 🙂