Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dan John on Toughness

I recently wrote about toughness after reading Jay Bilas' book and meeting him in April. Since then, I've been looking deeper into toughness and strength sports by asking teammates, friends, colleagues and clients a simple question: 

What makes a strength athlete "tough"?

They've given great answers, so I'll be sharing them from time to time on the blog.

I like the term "grit" better. It doesn't have the martial image of courage and doesn't get the macho posturing of tough. Grit is simply the ability, to paraphrase the fighting traditions, "knocked down seven times, get up eight."

Grit is that inner voice that might not see over the next ridge, but knows that home is somewhere out there. Grit makes you pick up your foot...again. Grit is what gets mom and dad out of bed and tend to the little ones with no one sleeping.

In strength training, grit goes both ways: sometimes, it is simply showing up. If there is a secret to getting strong, showing up is the password to the hidden kingdom. Grit is also that ability to bypass the body's very intelligent response to the fact that it is heavy and I am tired...but we are going make this lift.

- Dan John

It's difficult to find a coach with a more impressive combination of in-the-trenches experience and personal achievement than Dan John. Read more of Dan's work at T-Nation and

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