One of the more common occurrences (about even with drunk chicks wanting him to lift them onto his shoulder) of hanging out with the Bigg guy is that people want him to lift things. Like, stones. Or heavy axle’s laying around their gym. Or come and lift at a local event. For free.
When folks (to clarify, by “folks” I mean people having fun. Not the organizers) in Scotland began asking Matt if he was going to do the Atlas Stone challenge, Matt’s reply was, ‘what’s the payout?’ Cuz sure, he could obviously lift the stone. While fun, it really wasn’t that heavy for him. But if people want a Professional athlete to participate, that Pro athlete will instantly do a risk to rewards analysis and may just decide to sit on the sidelines, smoke their cigar and keep enjoying a beautiful Scotland fall day without any further exertion it took to walk over to the field.
See, when it comes to Strongman, Matt is a competitor rather than a participant. There’s a difference. NOW, if they happened to be the Dinnie Stones then that may be a different story. He’d train (anyone who know’s Matt know’s his grip is probably his achilles heel) for it, hard. And then give it a go. Because sometimes the payout is satisfaction that you gave something difficult a go and maybe found success or maybe didn’t. But to participate in it is good for the soul.
However, when it comes to competition, it’s a different mindset. Competitors train hard for an event or a season of events. Because they want to win. The risk of a torn bicep must be accepted if the Strongman show you’re competing in has a tire flip. The risk for participants? Too high. Silly really. Now, are tire flips silly for fitness enthusiasts? Yes. Very. But I get that it’s fun and different and gives us that ‘badass’ feeling I guess. Dunno. I don’t go for “badass” feeling in the gym. In fact, I think I’m only squatting 50kg today, I’ll have to look. Rarely is recovery/off-season training badass. I’ll save that for the field. Where I compete.
But my first Highlander and Highland Games? I was a participant. I had no idea what I was doing and if not for the help of Ms. Brittney Belle down in Texas and Erin (now) Valenti here in ‘Sconsin, I’d have participated even more poorly than I did (I nearly fell on my arse with the Heavy Weight, I consider that recovery a PR.) When I decided I’d kinda like to do well in this fringe sport, I started working on it but still would consider my first season as participating rather than competing. Success found was spotty and inconsistent, much like my current hammers. But they’re coming.
And through hard work and great coaching, I was able to become a competitor. My risk to reward of tight muscles; seized up spinal erectors; added weight cuz I wasn’t focused on it; sore feet and right hand; and just god-awful tired was high. Go for it. My predictions?
And it’s worth it. For me. It’s still not as demanding as many sports out there including Weightlifting which I’ll still practice, why not? It’s fun and I’m the tosabarbell invitational world champion and will probably remain so, I should buy myself a trophy.
But in general, I wish more people would ask what the payout is for participating in events. Why are you driving your body into the ground day after day, specializing in one form of training while leaving other very ‘high reward’ training options by the wayside? COUGH*runners*COUGH. Why is it acceptable to tweak or outright hurt yourself in the gym just because someone has talked you into the fact that it’s badass? Being hurt isn’t badass. Not being able to train isn’t badass.
Are you a competitor or a participant? There is nothing wrong with being a participant. Lots of new events (Spartan races, color runs, mud runs that have you leaping into mud water with bacteria in it) have gotten people off the couch and into the gym or at least off the couch. That’s a good thing. The payout is being (hopefully) a little healthier than before. But before you decide that knee’s you can’t walk on; torn apart hands; injured backs from crappy deadlift training is a “price you’ll pay” you better know just how much you’ll get paid. Cuz Ortho Surgeons like their vacations and you’ll be funding them. True story, I’m sure Matt’s ortho misses him. Poor guy.
But today, I’ve decided to take a risk, and wear a new sweater. It was sent to me by a recovering sex addict, Melissa D., who knitted it herself , she said it gave her something to do with her hands.