The Agony and the Ecstasy bodybuilding motivation fitness motivation

Every accomplishment began as something ugly, an agonizing effort of sweat and confusion.  The steps from conception to actualization are never outlined in advance.  We stumble, we misstep, we falter and question ourselves.  But we keep the feet moving, despite fear, despite uncertainty, despite questioning our efforts.  Then one day, we realize—we have arrived.

Every beautiful gem began as an unpolished stone, nothing but potential, waiting to be polished and carved.  And what brings out the beauty is the polishing and carving—the work, effort, and pain of repeating the process over and over again.   And learning to smile during that pain.

The effort creates the beauty, much like the work creates the value.  There is no Garden of Eden with food falling into our mouths, values to be had willy-nilly, no effort, no planning, no work.  Work and accomplishment march together, arm in arm.  To speak nothing of the fringe benefits—the attitude, the pride, the self-assurance and sense of efficacy that comes from taking those steps, through uncertainty, through ugly confusion, through agonizing blind flailing effort.

You break your body in the gym.  The calluses form.  The sweat streams off of your face.  You stink.  You look a mess.  You labor over meticulous technique.  You eat boring, bland meals, timed to the minute, weighed to the gram.  You go without comforts, comforts that others have daily.  You go without relaxation.  You go without calm.  You feel latent energy in your tendons, in your muscles, in the sinew of your very being, waiting to be unleashed, a nervous storm of work waiting to explode from your fingertips.  You long ago gave up on being comfortable.  Comfort is for the dead.

But then, you look at the sum of those calluses, of that sweat, of those boring meals and lack of relaxation.  And you see something staring back at you in the mirror—something that you built, from a vision in your mind, a polished stone, no longer scarred and blemished, now shining and beautiful.  You poured lifeblood into that stone, and brought out its value.  You took potential, and turned it into something actual.  You created, like a god on this earth.

The agony is the precursor to the ecstasy.  It always is, and always will be.  There is no great triumph, no great value, without effort, and the agony of that effort.  And the greater the agony, the brighter that stone will shine in the end.

-David A. Johnston


David Johnston - TEAM Warrior WithinDavid Johnston is the founder and lead trainer of TEAM Warrior Within.  You can also listen to him weekely on the GEARD Up podcast. ( ) David works with clients ranging from the everyday person just trying to lose weight and get healthy, local and national bodybuilding and physique competitors, to IFBB professional athletes.

David lives and breathes all things related to physique transformation, and has devoted nearly half of his life to passionately studying and educating himself to be the absolute best at what he does. His intensity in the gym is matched only by the passion he gives to his clients.