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Rings of Power: Rekindling Your Passion for Training

Mike Gillette Weighted Ring Dips

In the first installment of this article series, The Road to Restoration, I talked about my training history. I shared the good, the not so good as well as the bad. And in retrospect, the bad was not actually so bad. This is something I can say now, because I was fortunate enough to have overcome that "bad" time. A period which was long, physically painful and marked by what might best be described as ‘reverse progress’.

But it was because I experienced those things that I was driven to think beyond what I knew or was even familiar with. Experiencing that time is what initially led me to the rings. And it was ultimately what allowed me to reconnect with my passion; the unrelenting quest for strength in all of its forms.

Strength is like any number of ambitious pursuits. Your likelihood of attaining it is proportional to the amount of passion you feel about possessing it. I believe that the most successful strength athletes and strength aspirants are those who are able to potentiate their passion day in and day out, over the long haul. Because, let’s face it, strength is an incremental game. One that is often accompanied by the variables of discomfort, tedium and more discomfort. This is why passion is such an important "X-factor" to possess.

In my case, I can recall when my passion for training first began to depart from me. It was, not coincidentally, the very same time that my training seemed to hurt all the time and I was no longer making any progress. In fact, I had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even recall the last time I had made any progress. The result was that training had started to become a real drudgery.

Training is, or can be, a number of things. And one of these things is a means of communication with oneself. Ideally, your mind will first dream big dreams. And then the mind directs your body in the pursuit of those dreams. Progress in reaching those dreams can then be assessed in the form of feedback, provided by your body.

When your training is going well, this process is an enjoyable conversation, one that you’ll look forward to. But when training isn’t going well, it’s a conversation you can soon grow tired of having. And this is when training tends to stop for most people. When the messages being regularly communicated by the body come in the form of physical pain and stagnated progress. It is at this point that many people will formally cease all future communications.

This is the very point that I was at before discovering ring training. All of the positivity and passion I had once associated with training had been lost to me. Drowned out by the constant flow of negative messages which my body generated and my mind had been storing away. One of the most consistent messages I had internalized during that period was the notion that "training always hurts". The reason for this was simple. At that time, all of my training hurt. Always. So I was perfectly primed, psychologically-speaking, for ring-training. And as I alluded to in my previous article, my very first session with the rings was a rather revelatory experience. Simply speaking, that session could be summarized like this; sore muscles and pain-free joints. Now in this enlightened era of smart, functional training, it would be easy to say "That’s what all good training is. Or should be." And I would agree. But ten years ago, I wasn’t sure that pain-free training could be a realistic goal for an aging strength trainer.

So what happened next? Where does one go when they finally can train exactly how and when they want to? In my case, they go wherever their passions lead them. Because that is exactly what has happened. I’ve taken the second chance that ring-training has given me and charged relentlessly forward. And I am encouraging as many others as I can to do the very same.

I was 44 years old when I discovered ring-training. And all of the more "notorious" things I’ve done in the strength realm happened after I began ring-training. I do not believe this to be a coincidence.

Mike Gillette Author, Rings Of PowerMike Gillette, Former SWAT Commander, Executive Bodyguard, and author of Rings of Power, is a relentless student of the human factors which allow people to succeed despite overwhelming odds. His research and experiences have taken him through many different worlds and disciplines. They have ultimately produced a body of knowledge which has been put to use by clients ranging from high-risk professionals operating in extraordinary circumstances, to ordinary people who want to make extraordinary changes in their lives...