Grip the bar as hard as you can and pull until your hands are torn. Clutch it like the hem of your mother’s coat when you followed her through crowds as a child. If you drop it, you’re a failure and you better stack callous on callous untilyou can lift it. You are a man. Your job is to take and to fight and to dominate. Strength is your sole virtue.

Rip the bar off the ground like you would a coveted possession from the grasp of someone weaker. Thrust it away from your chest like you would a needy parasite trying to leech off your success. Forget about your knees and back. They will crack and buckle, but it is worth it.

You will be strong. Forget walking through the park on a summer’s day. Forget bending over to examine a stone or leaf that catches your eye. You will push until your body is mangled and broken. Once your strength is gone and your form twisted, you will be discarded, forgotten. You will have nothing left to offer. Do you understand?

You are a man. You are Alexander. You are Caesar. You are Genghis Khan. You are a lion. You are a man. You are Atlas. You are Sisyphus. You are the yoke and the ox, the bridle and the stallion, the leash and the dog. So, keep adding plates and I’ll give you a treat.