The world’s strongest woman is a lady named Kati Luoto from Finland. She can lift a 400 pound log over her head. She weighs 181 pounds. So, like, y’know… that’s pretty good, right?

The world’s strongest man is a fellow by the name of Brian Shaw.

During the last World’s Strongest Man competition he managed to deadlift a whopping 1140 pounds.

That’s a lot. It’s obvious that “they do even lift, bro”.

The deadlift is widely considered one of the most effective weight training exercises there is. It was made popular in the early 1920s by a German man named Hermann Goerner. Goerner’s highest deadlift was rumoured to have reached an astonishing 830 pounds — though there is no hard evidence to back that up.


Fast forward to 2015, a young 39 year-old Dave Sullivan hailing from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, steps up to the matt reaches down and proceeds to lift a heart stopping… 160 pounds. Granted, he does it over 100 times. So cut him some slack. You’ve gotta start somewhere.

Here’s my trainer Mike O’Neil (The Energy Company) “motivating” me.

God love him.

My whole life I thought I was weak — both physically and mentally.

I lived life like a star that was afraid to burn — electing instead to remain cold, cowered, and concealed.

After all, how does a star begin to shine when its never felt the light?

Throughout my early education my report cards always said the same four words: “does not apply himself”.

You could set your clock to the likelihood of that classic one-liner showing up each and every year. Like Santa, or the Easter Bunny — only instead of leaving gifts and small chocolate eggs they’d give you a big kick in the guts.

And yet, nobody, not a single soul ever asked the question “why”?

If they did they would have heard the following:

I’m scared. I can’t do it. I’m not smart enough. I’m stupid. I’m useless. I’m no good. I’ll never be any good.

I am dust.

Just dust — I can blow away at the mere suggestion of a breeze.

The truth of it all is that it’s a dusty old world out there. I can’t think of a single person who hasn’t expressed to me at some point or another that they have felt like a fraud; they weren’t worthy. Perhaps those feelings are more pathological for some than others.

But that dust, that dimly lit star, its in all of us. It’s what makes us human.

Some of us cover with hubris, some with booze, drugs, and in my case it was food.

I’ll never forget the first time somebody told me I was physically strong.

It was a little over two months ago, and I was absolutely flabbergasted.

How was this possible? I remember driving home from the gym and being overwhelmed by the thought of  it. It was a huge moment.

I’m not just talking about reps, and circuits, and fucking deadlifts — I’m talking strength. Real strength that comes from overcoming the sandstorms that life can blow in your direction.

To go from dust to determined in a lifetime, to me, is far more impressive than any of Brian Shaw’s accolades.

For the weight we carry throughout our lives is something that can’t be measured.

It can only be marvelled.

Strength is in all of us.

All we have to do is see it, grab hold of it, and lift.

7 thoughts on “Strength

  1. Body strength and mind strength go hand in hand. Well said Dave! Thanks for your thoughts and Happy New Year to you! Looking forward to a great year!

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