How Do YOU Define “Strong?” (Not What You Think)

I appreciate all the feedback from Monday’s email about video or email – or both. Surprisingly the results were about 50/50, with some people being pretty specific.

“Kivigoldis” had a great question which I thought was great and worth digging into.

Here it is:








What’s my definition of a “strong dad?”

Interesting question.

It comes from a broader question of how I define “strong.”

For me, “strong” has multiple definitions, the first is:

Being able to do whatever I physically want – WITHOUT restriction or limitation.

Let me explain:

I mentioned that last weekend we as a family went for a hike in the mountains and I carried my daughter on my back the entire way up.

10 years ago that would’ve been virtually impossible.


Because of my orthopedic injuries.

Every step up stairs or a hill was painful.

So I avoided those things at every opportunity.


I can.

Run. Jump. Climb. Up stairs, hills, mountains.

Pain free.

Makes life awesome.

How’d I do that?

1. I made up my mind that it was possible.
2. I relentlessly pursued that possibility.
3. I refused to accept “no” for an answer.
4. I kept going until I found the solution.
5. I applied that “solution” until I achieved my goal.

Pretty simple.

You can do the same thing too.

Second, Strength is control – or at least self-control.

I don’t want to “react” to situations – I want to respond.

I want to me emotionally controlled and stable.

To achieve this, I cultivate the “spiritual” side to my life.

(More on that some other time.)

And I also use my workouts.

I can control my mind by using and training my body.

And vice versa.

I then use my mind to control by body.

The more I do one, the more I can do the other.

It’s a nice little positive feedback loop.

That’s because physical activity/exercise has been shown to help control brain chemicals / neurotransmitters –

Dopamine and serotonin, which control, or at the very least strongly influence mood.

I ALWAYS want to be able to control my thoughts, my moods, and my emotions and therefore my responses to any situation.

And I want to model this to my kids.

Third, Strength is the ability to overcome.

This is one of my personal definitions.

I want to be able to “conquer” any obstacle I face.

I’ve found that disciplining myself through training my body and making it do what I want it to do – get leaner, get stronger – whatever –

Makes it easier to enter areas of uncertainty with confidence and succeed more often than not as a result.

And when I fail, I have the confidence to get up, brush myself off, and go for it again with out self-recrimination.

Fourth, Strength STANDARDS are personal, but for best results, should be based on “the science.”

For me, I like – wait – that’s too weak a word –

I’m driven to being physically strong and well conditioned.

That “drive” comes from watching my dad fail to take care of himself.

He was on blood pressure and cholesterol meds right around age 40.

When I saw that, I VOWED to never be like that.

Today, after a lifetime of physical neglect, he’s in a care facility at 69.

I HATE – repeat – FREAKIN’ HATE that.

And it WON’T BE ME.

So I have my own personal standards.

For example, about 4 weeks ago I “accidentally” pressed my bodyweight overhead for 2 sets of 2 reps.

That’s one of my standards.

Another is a double bodyweight squat.

Another is a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift.

Another is maintain 10 chins…

Another is to be always about 80% of Beast Tamer ready.

Always be able to pass the SFG 5 minute snatch test.

Another is to remain lean – right around 10-12% body fat.

But these are MY standards.

You have to come up with your own.

Why did I choose mine?

Because as I’ve quoted before –

“The stronger you are, the harder you are to kill.”

So what are your standards?

Here are some suggestions for you if you’re struggling to figure it out:

1. Seek to become “pain” free or “restriction” free and remain so.

This makes life easier.

Most people end up in care facilities because they can’t move.

This comes from not caring enough to keep yourself healthy and strong.

Then your loved ones get to watch you waste away your golden years. And maybe, even help you pay for that “privilege.”

Do this first.

Getting stronger, leaner, and more muscular depend on it.

2. Keep your legs strong.

Whether that’s maintaining a certain level of squat or deadlift or doing Pistols or some kind of lunge, this is critically important.

There are studies now showing the correlation between leg strength and longevity and leg strength and mental health.

Weak legs = weak body + weak mind.

3. Get lean and stay lean.

The truth is, if you’re overweight, it’s harder to lose that extra fat as you age.

So once you get it off, strive to keep it off.

One of the best ways to do that is –

And this is critically important so make sure you’re paying attention here –

Not just train for strength – ALSO train to grow some muscle.


Your muscle is your metabolic machinery.

It’s what allows you to burn calories.

The more muscle on your body, the higher your caloric needs are.

That means you can eat more food and not store it as fat.

Plus –

As a biomarker of health – muscle loss is the #1 reason people end up in nursing homes.


There’s a direct correlation between being lean and growing muscle.

The leaner you are, the easier it is to grow muscle.

And the more muscle you have on your body, the easier it is to stay lean.

(This is all due to hormonal balance within your body.)

If all this seems daunting to implement, don’t worry about it.

I’ve done it.

I’ve come “back from the brink.”

And I’m now performing at “peak levels.”

And over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’ll show you how I did it and how you can do it too.

Gotta run.

Stay Strong.


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