Recently my 20 year-old son asked me, “When did you start working out?” To put this into context, my kids have been seeing me train religiously their entire lives. Even as I write this during COVID-19 — I set up a home gym at the tiny entrance of our New York City apartment. My answer was quick. “Right after I saw ROCKY in 1976.” I was eight years old. I remember leaving the theater immediately trying to do a one arm pushup. Back in those days, working out and action heroes were not the norm. It wasn’t like it is today where everyone works out on some level. I can still recall asking my grandmother to buy me a set of weights and a bench from Sears. The old school grey weights that were filled with sand. She never said no to me, so a few days later I was set up in my garage working out like my new hero, ROCKY. I had little idea what I was doing but I was at least venturing into a world that would become part of my everyday life to this day, contributing endlessly to the development of my competitive spirit.
I still train five days a week in my quest to try to emulate The Italian Stallion (I even made myself an iron-on shirt with "The Italian Stallion" written on it when I was a kid). If ROCKY teaches you nothing more than to develop a love of fitness, you will have gained a lot. Training has shaped my life both personally and professionally. Pushing myself further than I thought I could go, eating clean (sort of), discipline to show up everyday ready to go. And that last one, discipline, may be the most important one. I learned early on to set a goal; and whether it be a 225 bench press or 18” arms, it would not come easy. I had to put in the work every day until I inched closer. I pushed myself to realize my potential, and often even exceeded my own expectations to succeed. This becomes a mindset and holds true for anything in life. Work, work, work! Eventually you’ll get to where you want to be. Or even further….
Working out is good for your health, but training is good for life! In training, we develop not only discipline, but patience and stamina not just of the body but of the mind. The ROCKY montage scenes — throughout the entire series of films — are a genre entirely owned by Sylvester Stallone. Always charged like an engine with powerful original music and scores— these montages consistently act as a metaphor for transition; Rocky emerges from those moments in the film to a new trajectory of thinking, a new physical achievement or an emotional readiness to take on a new challenge. Make your montage and get out there and do it!