Know Your “WHY”


I’m disgusted. Surrounded by weakness and mediocrity. It’s a terrible epidemic. It usually doesn’t bother me much but when it affects my own life, I can’t help but get pissed off about it. Everywhere I look, I see people just stumbling through life, with no direction, no effort, and most importantly, no thought process behind why they’re doing what they are doing.

Yesterday the alarm went off at 4:45, like it does on every weekday. For the first time in months, I entertained the thought of just skipping out and sleeping. I was much more tired than usual. Lifting and running multiple sprints at 6am on a Monday morning didn’t feel like a great idea. I lied in bed for an extra 5 minutes until I convinced myself to snap out of it. I sat up, and as soon as my feet hit the ground that was that. It happened again this morning. But I won. Again.

I see people come and go. They try to clean up their diet, or start a new program, and then they just start withering away over time. It’s only a matter of time before they’re back at square one, or worse. I try to put myself in their position. I wonder. If it were me, and I kept quitting and sucking all the time, how would that make me feel? What would I do?

If this applies to you, you may be thinking, “Danny, you think you’re better than me?” Yes, I do. But it’s not because I look better than you, or I have more muscles. It’s because I am mentally stronger than you. That didn’t come out of nowhere. I’ve been training my mind for as long as I can remember. So you can get mad about it, or fix it. Make no mistake, if you do this, you will see every area of your life improve.

The first step–KNOW YOUR “WHY”. Why are you here? Why are you doing this? Where does your motivation come from? Relying on things or people outside of yourself is a temporary band-aid, at best. You need to take some time and figure out your WHY. Let me explain.

My WHY is simple. I really enjoy setting new goals, especially in areas that are unfamiliar or challenging; I make a plan and follow it until the goal is accomplished. I derive extreme pleasure and confidence from this. When I was a freshman in high school, I asked my coach what I needed to do to start at runningback. He told me to get faster. I sprinted and ran track. I recorded my running form. I got the athletic director to give me the keys to the gym so I could train before school. My senior year I ran a 4.49 and a 4.51 40 yard dash back to back. My coach made me run it twice because he thought he made a mistake the first time.

There are countless examples of this throughout my athletic and professional career but this is not about me. This is about you. Have you even thought at all about why you’re training? Why are you “trying” to fix your diet? To get into better shape? Wrong. That’s a cop out. That’s not a WHY. When you’re sucking wind and you have several more sets left or several more sprints left, what are you going to tell yourself? “Keep going so you can get in better shape!” Please. That’s not enough.

You wanna know a real WHY? “If you don’t lose the two tractor tires around your waist, you may not make it to your kids’ graduation. Do you want to die?” That’s real. That’s life and death. Have a sense of urgency. Every day. Yesterday I had no motivation to run. So inside my head, the weak person kept saying, “This is so unnecessary. You look good. You’re healthy. That’s enough.” So to shut him up I added an extra two sprints.

I hate weakness. I despise it and when it shows up in my mind it disgusts me. If I could bludgeon the weak guy inside my mind, I would. There’s no space for weakness. It’s like a cancer that spreads to your career, your marriage and relationships, and your training.

Don’t allow it. Know your WHY.

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Danny Vega

Danny Vega is a 220lb raw powerlifter with meet bests of 640 squat in wraps (610 raw), 400 bench, and 700 deadlift. A native of Miami, Florida, Vega received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University in 2004, where he was a member of the football team and a three-time Dean’s List recipient. Vega earned his masters of science in human performance from the University of Florida, where he worked with the national championship men’s basketball team along with women’s basketball, tennis, and golf programs. He then went on to become the Strength & Conditioning coordinator for VCU basketball. The Rams were 2007 conference champions and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
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