I’d just finished seeing a movie with a cousin, was stone-cold sober, and had been strolling down the road looking for a cab when two guys jumped me for no reason. It would have been the most pointless of deaths, paralysis, or minor damage. To this day I’m glad they a) didn’t have knives and b) people stepped in to help.
So why do I train with weights? Because I never again want to feel physically helpless. That doesn’t mean I live in a state of fear, quite the opposite. I’ve lived in some very dangerous places and some very safe places. I know that the concept of safety is largely an illusion. I have no expectation of ever, consistently, being the largest, strongest, or more dangerous man in the room.
But, and this is a big one: when I ran out of breath on Piccadilly, my hands feebly flailing as the black dots started enlarging and I could no longer protect my head, I realised I could have done more with my body. While there’s a never a guarantee I could defend against two men both about a foot taller and considerably heavier, I could definitely have been better prepared.
And so I train. Not because there’s an end goal, not because I feel unsafe, not because I care about fitness. I train in the same way I hack. To see how far I can go, to see how strong I can become, just because you never know when you’ll need it. Because when you do need to rip the car door off, or carry the person you love out of danger, or get behind the banks firewall (uhhh, scratch that last one), it’s best to the best possible version of yourself. And it takes work to be that person. And so I train.
And because the world can always do with more intelligent, strong and dangerous people.