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3 Fitness Lessons From Rocky Balboa

sandbag workout

I’ve been working hard on a DVRT shoulder program with Jessica and we have been cranking. However, we hit a point where we needed to breathe so we relaxed a little bit yesterday. Funny enough, when I finally got done and went out to hang out with Jessica, I came across a Rocky marathon!

I say funny partly because Jessica can watch the movies, but they aren’t her favorite. She hates the theme music (which made our marriage a bit “rocky” get it;), but I on the other hand….

Rocky was my first superhero love. I did crazy things because of the Rocky movies, like running outside in the snow of Chicago because I wanted to stay in great shape during basketball. There were many times in college that I would throw on my Walkman (yea, I get it, I’m old) where I would take the long trek to the student rec center trying to get motivated by listening to Rocky music.

So, Rocky has always held a special place in my heart and I know for a lot of people as well. Sure, the movies were over the top and we can question what “special” supplements that Sylvester Stallone was on, but I’d rather focus on the actual true lessons that Rocky actually was very right about that can make a big different to your system.

  1. Success isn’t about never failing, it is about how you get back up!

Maybe it is because I lost my mom when I was 8.

Maybe it is because I went through a time where I didn’t know if I was going to be able to walk again and had lost much of my arm.

Maybe because I have gotten knocked down more times than I can even count.

Whatever the reason, I learned early that life wasn’t fair, I knew life wasn’t always cheering for you, I knew that life was going to knock you down more times than you would ever want.

What I learned too was that it wasn’t how hard you got knocked down, it was a question if you were willing to get up!

One of the ideas that always struck me about Rocky was that life wasn’t always kind to him. While most people think of the famous scenes of him winning, what I think made him such a likable character was he started off with life knocking him down. He was poor, his first success was actually a loss to Apollo Creed, many people forget he didn’t win at first.

Then while the later Rocky movies were no academy award winners, I loved the idea that the character didn’t just live “happily ever after”. Rocky went through a lot of loss, loss of his money, loss of his physical ability, loss of people he loved the most. It wasn’t just fighting in the ring that Rocky showed a lot of strength, the same is for us.

Especially in an age when social media is such an integral part of our lives, everything always looks happy and special. It looks like certain people have nothing in the world to worry about. Trust me, we ALL get knocked down, we all have life punch us hard at some point. Those that can get back up are those that are truly successful because we learn more about overcoming those times than we do by avoiding any chance of them every happening.

2. It is up to you!

Sure, Rocky had Mick, Adrian, and even Apollo, but if you watch some of the iconic Rocky training scenes you also notice something. Much of what Rocky did was by himself. Even the most famous scene of him standing on the stairs is an image of him by himself.

Maybe that is why I love the character so much. Over the years so much of my time I was by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do everything by myself, but I knew ultimately my success was going to be based on what I did when no one was around.

That’s why I am honestly confused when people ask me, “so what motivates you?” It doesn’t make sense to me because my answer is, “I wanted it, I wanted to achieve” this goal more than anything in the world.

Sure, I was inspired by the time living in a studio apartment where I had to vacuum flies off the windows and I slept on a couch every night. Where it stunk, things were falling apart, and I could barely afford my telephone. I don’t want to go back to that!

Part is that I believed so strongly in what I was doing I was willing to do everything and anything for it. So many times people will tell you that they want to accomplish something, but then as soon as the first obstacle hits, as soon as things become hard, they are done. Sure they wanted it, but they weren’t willing to give all to achieve it.

No one can do it BUT you! There isn’t a shortcut and the bigger the goal the harder it is probably going to be. However, no one can do it for you, sure, have plenty of people in your corner, but ultimately it is on you!

3. The value of hard work is immeasurable 

Rocky was always hard work, by wanting it more than anything in the world. Heck, Rocky 3 when he isn’t as hungry, when he isn’t willing to work as hard as he is known for, he actually loses. I think there are some obvious lessons there.

However, nothing might be more famous than the Rocky 4 training scene in an isolated barn in the Soviet Union. Sure, the story of US vs the Soviet Union was HUGE in the 80’s, but the popular training montage struck something in me.

You just can’t tell or measure to someone what hard work actually means. When Coach Dos and I were going back and forth about our new MRT program we talked a lot about the element of hard work.

People will try to justify through a host of reasons, they will try to use science (usually unsuccessfully), they will use their age, they will use old injuries, they will do everything possible to get out of ultimately hard work.

The mistake people make is they think hard work has to be painful. That hard work is something you can’t do when your body and life changes. Instead, you have to work hard AND smart! I know this for myself. I can’t train like I did when I was 16, 26, or even 36. That doesn’t mean I can’t train hard.

DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises like this allow me to have the Rocky spirit, but have the updated knowledge of training not just to abuse my body.

I will always have a special place in my heart for Rocky because the inspiration the character gave me. The simple lessons of life that the movies taught and the qualities that really are foundation of success today. Imagine what we can do though if we combine those elements with the modern science of smart training, you can be unstoppable!

Smart and hard training is what our DVRT Metabolic Resistance Training 80 workout program is all about. There are only a few days left to save 30% on this tremendous program (HERE) AND ALL throughout our DVRT site (excluding live events) HERE with coupon code “newyear”.