iRon: What is my Super Power?


In a blog or fitness article, this is how it usually works – first the writer tries to impress you, the reader,  with how cool, badass, dangerous, clever and renegade they are. This may take a line or two, or run on to pages. Then they give you some information. Let’s skip the chest thumping, though, OK? While the theme today is super heroes, the message is for you to understand you.

If you’ve seen our splash page and bios, or maybe even checked out the Iron Lion facebook page (, then you know how much we love lifting, boxing, dogs, and super heroes. We are going to talk about the last one today. We’ve had a lifelong fascination with super heroes, but that is hardly unique to Iron Lion. The action film of the 80s has become the super hero franchise of today, and it has partly been due to the influence of people like us who have voted with our ticket purchases to impact film and TV.

Before we get into “What is my super power”, maybe we should ask “What is a super power?”

By one definition, a super power is an ability that exceeds the norm. If the average human can lift X, the ability to lift more than X, no matter if it is by a little or a lot, is a super power. So if you are good at something, guess what? That’s your super power. No need for gamma rays or toxic waste to catalyze the situation – you are awesome at something right now.

However, sometimes we don’t see ourselves in the clearest light. When I was a kid, I desperately wanted my super power to be super strength – like a literal Superman. If I had that, I felt my whole life would be a nonstop validation. People would admire me instead of bullying me; I would go on heroic adventures, etc, etc. Later on it became apparent that while I was not by any means a physical weakling, I was never going to be the strongest man in the world, much less the universe.  Somehow the world kept on turning without me adventuring in tights and a cape.

During my year as part of the Lean Eating program offered by Precision Nutrition, I did an assignment that asked us to identify our super power. I glibly put down an answer, got my check mark, and moved on. But it stuck with me for some reason – what I said just didn’t ring true. It felt like a lie.

So, I went back and revisited that assignment, and I changed my answer. It came to me that my real super power is not strength, the power of flight, special intuition, or a mutant healing factor – my real power is the power of calm.

When I am calm, I can handle all things better, perform better as an athlete, and train athletes better. But that is not to say that I am without my own version of Kryptonite – the enemy of my calm is disrespect (note: this can be real or imagined). That is the one thing guaranteed to threaten my calm. The resulting feeling of insecurity brings anger. The insecure anger becomes a self-perpetuating thought cycle. Suddenly, it is impossible to be calm! Now everything suffers – relationships, athletic performance and helping others. Only with that recognition of self is it possible to be objective. And objectivity allows us the distance to make calm, kind, equitable decisions.

So, while I used to wish for literal strength, now I hope to become so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.


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