Hey, Protein Powder Boy - Suck It Up and Work Harder!

Richard Ham Williams

Guest Contributor

United Kingdom

Strength Training

The following is a guest post by Richard Ham Williams of Hams Fitness:


Hey, protein powder boy, still struggling to figure out why you have shapeless sausage arms? It’s because you spend too much time reading about how to build bigger arms and not enough time busting your arse with serious intensity and focus.



mental toughness, mental training, suck it up, train hard, richard ham williamsSure you lift a bit, but in all likelihood your technique is shocking and you won’t admit to yourself that you don’t work hard enough. Hard does not mean endless sets of different exercises thrown around like a horny chinchilla. It means focus and control on a limited number of work sets. Suck up the pain and discomfort. Unless you are a natural hulk with mostly fast twitch fibers, you’ll need to push into the pain of a fatiguing set and learn to keep your shit together when the going gets tough.


You see, when someone asks me to “get them tonk,” I like to keep things simple. Simple instructions, simple exercises, and simple goals. It keeps people focused without giving them too much to think about. Pick this up, lift it like this, keep going, stay strict, don’t swing or flop around. Just keep focused on each individual rep.


Once in a while a trainee will just get it and he or she will make good changes. But mostly, one of two things happen:


  1. Clients decide they know better and do what they want, which leaves them exactly where they were to start with - weak and soft.
  2. Clients just do everything in their power to avoid truly hard work. This ranges from telling jokes to howling and making dramatic noises whilst squirming around with a weight.


I have such a heated dislike for time wasting and people’s inability to endure hard work because I have worked physically harder than I care to have in many ways. One of these ways has been a regular endeavour to prove the medical team overseeing my ongoing lab-rat scenario that I can live a fully active life with a massive proximal tibial implant.




mental toughness, mental training, suck it up, train hard, richard ham williamsThat fucker known as cancer deprived me of the upper third of one of my tibias, my lower femur, and thus my knee joint. Along with the fun journey of 1990s chemotherapy, hair loss, near permanent vomiting, and adverse reactions to any-and-all known anti-sickness drugs (including hallucinations involving being on fire), I had massive reconstructive surgery that was a modern day butchering (albeit masterful butchering) of my gastrocnemius, hamstrings, and quads. Naturally the surgical team are seriously smart guys who along with the chemo guys saved my stubborn backside from the fires of hell. Thank you.


Smart they are, those doctors, but not quite as smart as Mother Nature yet. Due to the slicing and dicing of the muscles in my leg I was told to never expect dorsiflexion (lifting my foot) or the strength to do simple tasks such as putting on socks or kicking a ball, let alone get back to mountain biking, motor bikes, kickboxing, and powerlifting. Needless to say I am dumb enough to push the limits.


mental toughness, mental training, suck it up, train hard, richard ham williamsEach surgery I have requires me to learn to walk again, literally. Rehab taking me from hobbled to deadlifting a paltry 200kg is tough once; making that progression more than five times is boring. Now I am due for a full replacement surgery, which will basically put me into a wheel chair until I can stand again and then learn to walk all over again.


So, my point is, don’t whine to me about hard work or discomfort. Suck it up. It has to be done. I am not trying to make life hard on you for fun. It is the only way this stuff works. And now you know why I can be a militant son of a gun. Uncomfortable and continuous effort is the only was to change a muscle for the better and having people complain to me about pain or hard work just pisses me off. It's sure not their fault I’ve suffered, but screw it. If you whine to me you’re getting both barrels, baby.


mental toughness, mental training, suck it up, train hard, richard ham williamsAnd putting your time in under the bar is only part of the plan. Looking good naked and being strong requires you to be strong outside the gym, too. You have to be able to say no to regular boozing and cupcakes, cupcake. Toughen up and learn to say “no thanks” to those extra shots at the bar. If you continue to go out on the piss, necking down alcohol like an adolescent chasing tail, then you’re probably still going to look like you never lifted. “Do you even lift bro?”


Proper strength training also happens to build strength of mind, aka willpower. Over time you’ll hopefully learn to flick that switch in your mind that says, “Hell no, I won’t let this rep beat me. Screw it I’m going for it!” Then you’ll grit your teeth and dig in for the long haul. It is known as a cast iron will or perhaps just plain old stubbornness, and it can be nurtured through trial and suffering, and it will transfer to other areas of your life.


Do you have what it takes to build mind and body or will you stay a weeping willow?

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