Are We Clear?!

by Johnny Pain

Photo by Ginger Pain

Clarity is paramount in producing the results that you want in your life.

Be very honest in identifying exactly what it is that makes you tick. Why do you put the time, effort, and energy that you do (or don’t) into training your body, eating the way you do, while others act in a much more complacent manner?

I tell consultation clients regularly “I can’t help you if you don’t know what you want”.

Too often I ask a client what it is that he or she wants as a result of their efforts only to hear five minutes of:

“I don’t care about having a six pack”

“I don’t need to squat 405”

“I don’t need to look like a cover model”


“I don’t need to be rich”

“I don’t need to have a great car, just a reliable one”

“I don’t care what she looks like, I just want to meet a decent girl”

I hear every imaginable thing that they do not need to manifest from the universe, and surprisingly few things that they really, deeply want.

Thinking this way is the first part of the problem.

If your thermostat is set to mediocre, then you can sleep soundly at night that you will never know what it is to live a truly amazing life. You can find comfort in knowing that things will not change, and your love of certainty in life will always be fulfilled.

In order to have great things come to you, you need to focus on what you DO want, not all of the things that you could not have and still “be happy”.

With regards to training, think about everyone’s favorite Internet whipping boy, the “Bench and Curl guy”. Everyone likes to berate this obvious moron who goes to the gym  “does chest” on Monday; which consists of a handful of bench press variants, does “Arms” on Tuesday/Wednesday, then skips “Leg day” on Friday because he’s going out that night.

It’s so common to hear people trash talk this guy for his lack of knowledge of training, his silly gym attire, his iPod on his arm, and his idiotic fixation on aesthetics.

Personally I give this guy more credit than most people who inhabit Internet forums and research the topic of strength and conditioning. The obvious reason would be because he is actually doing the work (at least on the days he goes to the gym), but the real reason is because this guy is absolutely crystal clear about what he wants in return for his efforts, and is congruent in his approach to attaining his result.

He is in the gym because he wants a bigger chest, and bigger, more defined arms. He neglects his legs because he doesn’t care how they look any more than the average female that he is trying to attract with his tan, shaven torso, and carefully crafted hairdo.

I routinely say that Bench and Curl guy looks better than the overwhelming majority of the people in the communities that trash talk him, an obvious byproduct of his focus on what he wants and not on some arbitrary goals that he has been told he should be moving towards.

“He might look better, but I can out deadlift him by 200 lbs”

Does that really surprise you?

You can move more weight in a movement that he has no interest in doing, and never does, and which you place a significant amount of emphasis on in your training.

Congratulations. Dude doesn’t care.

So long as he can look good in a tight v-neck and get girls to stroke his abs, he’s good. He gives no less than one third of a shit what you think about him. He has an objective and he is producing the result that he wants.

If you want to be the strongest guy in the gym, be honest with yourself and adjust your habits and behavior accordingly. If you want to look good, be stronger, and more athletic, do that.

Be honest with yourself and take inventory of what you DO want. Then set your thermostat to whatever that is, and get at it.

Mediocre is the dirtiest word in the English language. Think giant.


Check out my book “Drop the Panties: The Greyskull Guide to a Better Body” to learn much more about becoming crystal clear on what it is that you want, and the actions that you must take to get you there.


Johnny Pain is the man behind as well as the East Coast’s notorious Greyskull Barbell Club and several other ventures. He is a lifestyle design coach and consultant, and is the author of several books on subjects pertaining to strength and conditioning. He can be found comically entertaining questions on his Q and A forum at or can be reached for consultations, training seminars, or speaking engagements at

Also, you can follow him on Twitter: @thejohnnypain



10 Responses

  1. sapper09

    Great article JP – really good example of the “bench and curl guy.”

    June 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    • Thanks Sapper. Great to see you posting again.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:23 pm

  2. Butch

    One of the best posts I’ve read on the interwebz in quite some time. Well done, JP.

    June 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm

  3. Ivan

    Damn I wish I could have discovered Strength Villain so much sooner. I feel like I’ve been brainwashed by the “other guys” into training like THEY want me to and not how I want to.
    It’s all about doing what you want and forgeting the world. Thanks Johnny for insipring me to do something with my life. Real talk bro, you’re doing a great service to a lot of guys. Keep it up!

    June 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    • You got it now Ivan, and that’s what matters. Go get what you want now.

      Thanks for the support.

      June 23, 2012 at 2:31 am

  4. I call this beta male syndrome. Its like people feel better about failing to meet mediocre goals than big ones.

    Good work jp. Its refreshing to see someone post something actually relevant to success.

    June 26, 2012 at 1:03 am

  5. Good shit. Thanks for regularly dropping so much knowledge.

    August 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm

  6. No less than one third of a shit! – straight talking as always JP, great stuff!

    August 15, 2012 at 2:57 am

  7. Pingback: A couple of articles .. « BE HENCH

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