Written by Team Juggernaut
By Brandon Lilly
Read Brandon’s Training Log Here
I recently watched a documentary entitled “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. The story follows 85 year Jiro Ono in his pursuit to become the best Sushi chef in the world. By many regards he is the best, but it was a painstaking dedication to his disciplined daily routine that allowed him to achieve his greatness. What does this have to do with powerlifting?
In the documentary he speaks of so many Sushi chefs becoming flashy and trendy with their dishes, but he tries to keep simplifying his dishes more and more to achieve absolute perfection.in powerlifting too often lifters will chase the latest or greatest fad, and jump from program to program because its new and sounds great. Same for supplementation. Those companies aren’t raking in billions because they give you good deals on their products. They roll in profits because they sell you on hope. Lifters should stick to a program for at least 6 months, and really in my opinion a year before they change. Then it should only be because you are going backwards.
In another scene there was an apprentice chef that stated he had made over two thousand egg sushi before he made one that Jiro allowed to be served in his restaurant. When he made his first one he was so overwhelmed he openly cried in the restaurant. I have a moment exactly like this in my gym history. I had recently been training with Chuck Volgelpohl and every single squat I did he said “lower”, “too high”, “terrible on depth”. I was trying so hard to squat to a depth that he wanted because I knew he wouldn’t give me a break, especially because I was struggling so bad to do it. Every single teammate I had was getting “good work”, or “there you go”, and I couldn’t do it. I wondered how much of a joke he felt I was because I felt like a joke not being able to do a perfect squat. Then it happened…
November 5th, 2011 I was on my 4th set of 6 and Chuck had really been pushing me, he had me doing so many exercises to strengthen my hips and core, also just constantly demanding I do better and better. My first rep of the set he yelled “your right there, now sink this next one.” And I did. “There you go!!”, and a pat on the back. I had to walk out of the gym for a minute because the weight of failure after failure, after failure, the thoughts of giving up, and the feeling my goals would never be realized hit me like a load of bricks. I broke down. But just for a second, because I had to do another set and it was even better than the last one.
The point of this is that we all struggle to achieve. We all face failures. Jiro is 85 years old and didn’t achieve any honors until into his 70’s. Imagine if he had quit in his 50’s? Often times when you are at your weakest, and greatest moment of despair you are right on the verge of greatness. Never ever quit, you’ll have to live with that feeling for the rest of your life.