So You Think You’re Badass? 12 Tell-Tale Signs

Have a read through the list. Have you got what it takes? Are you truly hardcore? Here are twelve dead giveaways that you are one seriously badass mofo.





Words that are often used to describe the ultimate athlete. One who sacrifices anything and everything to get what he or she wants, to get what he or she needs. One who would eat his or her own grandmother if protein supplies were low.

But what does it mean to be badass? I’ve managed to put together a number of tell-tale signs. Have a read through the list. Have you got what it takes? Are you truly hardcore? Here are twelve dead giveaways that you are one seriously badass mofo:

1. Ripping Your Hands Often

Ripping your hands to shreds in the name of your sport is surely worthy of a Badass Badge of Honor? To be honest, I’m not sure who the pictures of ripped hands on Instagram (or whatever the cool kids are using these days) are trying to impress. I don’t really see not being able to use your hands effectively for a few days as something worthy of accolade.

Looking after your hands to avoid rips, and continuing being able to train hard? That’s badass.

2. Beating the Program

The program says 80%, but you do 90%, because you can do 80% just fine. The program says perform triples, but that’s too easy so you take it to singles, because you can. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If you are following a program, then follow it properly. If you deviate, you are not following the program, so don’t tell me or anyone else you are. And don’t complain when you don’t get results.

Having the balls to follow a program knowing that the rewards will come further down the line? That’s badass.

3. Not Mobilizing or Not Warming Up

I understand the desire to want to be ready and able to take on any task at any time. That is truly badass. However, ironically, the way to get there is to spend time learning and facilitating good movement. Getting injured does not sit well with being an ever-ready ninja.

Looking after your body so that you can perform any movement well, and continue to do so for years to come? That’s badass.

4. Not Listening to the Coach

training mistakes, how to know you're badass, badass athleteWhen you are being coached, you are being coached. You are not a coach (even if you are a coach.) No matter your level of (supposed) expertise, listen to the coach, do what he or she tells you, and you might learn something. When I see people who come to session after session yet are not really progressing, they are the same people who are not listening to the coach. They are hearing, but not listening.

Taking on a beginner’s approach every time you step into a coached session? That’s badass.

5. Not Taking Rest Days or Deload Weeks

When I see someone who has trained for a ridiculous number of days or weeks in a row, I almost always also witness a lack of intensity along with a self-destructive approach. Funnily enough these people are the same ones who exhibit other many of the other “hardcore” behaviors in this article.

Understanding that resting is more badass than training? That’s badass.

6. Cheating

Being top of the leaderboard or whiteboard on a consistent basis is awesome, no question. Doing so through any form of intentional cheating or misrepresentation is as far away from awesome as possible.

Having the integrity to no-rep yourself, to do more reps if you’ve lost count, and to be honest and truthful to yourself, even when no-one else is around? That’s badass.

7. Throwing Equipment About

Okay, I’ll admit slamming bars can be fun. But having less equipment to use because it’s been used with reckless abandon is less fun. And I can assure you, writing checks for new kit is the least fun of the lot.

Being strong and competent enough to lower the weight under control? That’s badass.

training mistakes, how to know you're badass, badass athlete

8. Sweating Everywhere

There’s nothing wrong with sweating. Some would say it’s a sign you’re working hard. And working hard is badass. But parading round the gym dripping in the stuff is not nice for anyone. If you’re getting sweat everywhere, have the decency to wipe it up after you’re done. All this goes for bleeding everywhere too.

Making the area you just worked out even cleaner than before you started? That’s badass.

9. Puking During or After a Workout

I’ve written about this before. It’s perhaps occasionally unavoidable if due to a nutritional error, but definitely not something to be proud of under any circumstances. Puking is pointless and counterproductive.

Knowing where that line is and being able to push close to the limit but not over it? That’s badass.

10. Training Through Pain

Pain is a sign that something is wrong. Pain that goes away after warming up is still a sign that something is wrong. Soreness is different. A workout that “hurts” is different. But training through pain is irresponsible towards your own body.

Finding ways to work around an injury whilst finding ways to fix it? That’s badass.

11. Maxing Out All the Time

training mistakes, how to know you're badass, badass athleteSurely nothing can be more hardcore than taking it right to the limit every time? That’s what the t-shirt says – GO HEAVY OR GO HOME. Let me tell you something. Anything that needs a t-shirt to say how badass it is probably isn’t badass.

Being confident enough to work the numbers and know that your 1RM has gone up without having to test it all the time? That’s badass.

12. Disregard for Rules

It’s cool to break rules right? Rules of the gym, rules of training, rules of life? That’s what they are there for after all, to be broken. Sure, you know what, go ahead and break them. But then don’t expect anyone else to play by the rules either. Sooner or later, these things come back full circle and bite you in the ass, directly or indirectly. Respect each other, respect your coaches, and most of all, respect yourself.

Setting yourself to expectation and making yourself play by your own rules? That’s badass.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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