This Is Why I Lift

Years slip by and bodies change, but the iron remains as cold and unforgiving as ever. Why do you keep going back? Kris Gethin is here to tell you why he does it, year after year.

People say I have a lust for madness. But if you take a look in my eyes, you can clearly see what I'm lusting for. I shake the bars of my cage every day, eager to ravage the weight, all because I idolize the Iron Lady. The reps start and end with her. I swim through lactic acid to get to her. She hurts me like hell, but I'm addicted.

The weight speaks to me like no person ever has. I've tried to interact with normal people, experimented with recreational drugs and alcohol, even given love a go, but sooner or later, I lost the ability to translate their gibberish. Only the Iron Lady speaks a language I'll always understand.

Over time we've built an unbreakable relationship. She doesn't play me, and I don't fool her. We're the perfect match. She breaks me down, gives me just a little air, and then breaks me down again—over and over. We recently celebrated our 14th anniversary together. We marked the day—how else?—with a ferocious back workout in Temple Gym, the ultimate house of pain.

Kris Gethin and Dorian Yates training back

The first five years of training were easy. The next five were torturous. Now, these current five have scarred me and torn me up so deeply, my body hopes I'll quit. But I'm just getting started.

In Sickness and in Health

Everywhere else I walk, I am alone. The Iron Lady is the only company I want to keep. The gym walls isolate me from the polluted people living in an insecure world. When I'm bleeding in here, the lights are turned on, and I can no longer hide. Nobody can praise me, peer into me, or hurt me. I search for her in every rep. I cripple my bones, trying in vain to crush her before she crushes me, over and over, day after day.

Let's be honest: We're all in pain. Some people try to stop the pain with words. It never works. Only the Iron Lady is honest in the pain she inflicts. She knows that success is pushing yourself until—inevitably—you fail.

I take this path because it demands individual effort and individual respect. Your fears are revealed only to yourself, without judgement or expectation. People in the gym spend years just repping out. They think they're maintaining, but really, they're just waiting for time to catch up with them. The only time I turn back is to confirm that time can't even hope to catch up to me.

Don't just rep out

When people judge me, I think about all the biting pain, the broken relationships, and the sweat and hatred I have punished out of myself time after time all these years. They will never know what it has taken to get here. Take pain or pass judgment? The weak will always choose the latter.

You think I'm lonely and sad because I think this way. What's the alternative? To celebrate your life sentence with bad TV and Ronald McDonald? I've had it with people who only crank out wasted reps of weakness, consume only shitty calories, and steal the time of others. Over time, I've lost all communication skills with these people, because they don't feel anything. But I don't protest. Their numbed existence only gives me more room to grow.

I feel complacency trying to burrow into my body every day like a cancer. Every day, I greet it with my middle finger. Any weight I have yet to move taunts me. Intensity I have yet to push through invites me. Reps I have yet to encounter jeer at me. If I get caught off guard, even for a second, I'll lose my head. I embrace my primitive survival instincts to keep it real and raw.

I'll always have unfinished business. If my muscle fibers remain intact, I've got work to do.

This is why I lift.

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