Intensity: The Secret to Success

Hi guys!  My name is Ben Pollack, and I'm a professional powerlifter.  Over the course of this year, I'll be sharing some of my thoughts on training, coaching, and competing with the Rebel Army to help everyone get stronger, mentally and physically.  And there's no better way to get started than by sharing my philosophy towards training.

Lately, I’ve been calling that philosophy intentsity: intensity with intent.  In fact, it’s the approach I take not only towards training, but also towards life, and I think it’s a really valuable one.

In this article, and the next few that follows, I’m going to talk about what it means to train and live with intentsity, and how you can apply it to your own goals to get the results you want.


You Know Intensity: It’s Training Hard

Everyone knows intensity.  It’s that one thing that sets apart the truly passionate from the guys and girls who just wanna have fun.  I know I’m bringing my best in the gym when I get the crazy look in my eyes that everyone on Instagram loves.

But let me be clear: intensity doesn’t look or even mean one specific thing.  It’s different for everyone.  For a lifter like Jesse Norris, intensity is a very quiet focus. For Larry Wheels, it’s loud and aggressive.  Neither is wrong, and in fact, both are right.  Just like you have to find the right way to train for you, you have to find the right kind of intensity for you.  It doesn’t matter what works for someone else, no matter how big or strong he might be.



And let me be clear about this, too: if you just want to have fun in the gym, that’s also right.  I need intensity in my life; it’s part of who I am, and I feel empty inside when I don’t have a goal to pursue with intensity.  (More on goals and how they relate to this philosophy in the next iteration of this series.)  If that’s not the case for you, that’s okay.  Ultimately, the only thing that really matters is your own happiness and fulfillment.


But What About Intent?  How Do You Think Strong?

The thing about intensity is that by itself, it’s pretty easy to find.  Anyone can train intensely. If you’re struggling, take one of the dozens of over-the-top preworkout products you can grab at GNC and they’ll do the job for you (or get Premium from Granite Supplements if you're really serious).  Intent is much, much more difficult to bring to the table.

It’s difficult to define, too.  I use the phrase Think Strong, but just like intensity, thinking strong and having intent can mean different things to different people. To me, it comes down to being mindful: of my thoughts, emotions, goals, and of others, all at the same time.  That’s a huge ask, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m far from perfect when it comes to Thinking Strong.

That’s okay, though, because mindfulness is all about the present, not the future or the past.  As long as you’re constantly striving right now to be a better person — whatever that means to you — then you’re Thinking Strong, and you’ve got the intent part of intentsity covered just fine.

So How Does Intentsity Help Me Improve?

Well, that’s a whole article in and of itself, and it’s one I’ll get to as this series unfolds over the course of this month.  In fact, intentsity can be practiced not only inside the gym but outside of it, too, and in this series I’ll explain how to apply it to your programming, diet, and even your career and relationships. 

Remember, though, that all these articles are going to be about myself and my own experiences. They’re not better or worse than anyone else’s, and I certainly don’t want you to think or feel that you have to emulate me or adopt my philosophy towards life.  But if intentsity is something that appeals to you, I hope that I can help you to put it into practice in whatever way you want.

Till next time: Think Strong and Train Hard — in other words, bring the Intentsity!


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