The Process....What Strength Training and a Good Bourbon Have in Common
I’m a fairly predictable person. If you know me in the gym, you know I’m doing a big barbell movement. If you know me at the bar, you know I’m likely sipping on a bourbon.These are my favorites, and I stick to them. While I do enjoy single limb and core movements, I also enjoy a stout or the classic gin and tonic. Variety is the spice of life, but again, we’ve all got our favorites, our “home bases”, if you will.
It’s All About the Process.
First, a little education. In order for a whiskey to be considered a bourbon, it must meet the following criteria:
1.The mash must consist of at least 51% corn (the rest is made of by a blend of malted barley, rye, wheat to give each its unique flavor profile)
2.The mash must be distilled at a temperature of 160 degrees or less
3.Put into the barrel for aging at 125 proof or less
4.Must contain no additives
5.Must be stored in a NEW charred oak barrel (different levels of char make for different tastes)
6.Must be aged for at least 2 years for "straight bourbon" (if under 4 years aged, must be labeled on bottle)
It’s one hell of a process, right? That’s a lot to maintain just to earn the title of “bourbon”. But this is precisely what attracted me to the bourbon culture: the pride, the history and the respect for the process.
Elijah Craig is named (by most) as the "inventor of bourbon", dating all the way back to 1789 (not proven). Well, strength training has a long history too. Milo of Croton, according to Greek legend, is considered to be one of the first to use heavy weights as a tool to increase performance. A more modern name, Eugen Sandow, is known as the "father of modern bodybuilding" dating back to 1909. That’s some strong history, folks. So let’s get back to the point. The process.
Let’s take the deadlift as an example. It’s the ultimate test of absolute strength; it incorporates the entire body and has a simple outcome—can you pick weight up off the floor? It’s a movement that can be progressed over a lifetime, with endless benefits to be gained. Stronger hands, glutes, and hamstrings. Better mobility of the hips, ankles, and knees. Better stability of the back and core. And maybe most importantly, the will power it takes to pick up a ton of weight.
And it takes time to get good at the deadlift. You won’t find a 700lb deadlifter who hasn’t put in some serious time, dedication, and consistency to get there. In order to improve this strength, it requires a lengthy PROCESS. You get where I’m going here...
Just like the process that differentiates a whiskey from a bourbon, there is some criteria that has to be met with strength training. Most importantly, they both require care, consistency, and effort in order to create the final product.
Is anyone else feeling thirsty? Take this moment to go pour yourself a glass of bourbon (80/20 Rule, folks).