Zach Even-Esh

A Lil’ Motivational Story


Here’s a lil motivational story. One that really hits home for me, touches my heart.

I will leave the name anonymous but I will say a few things before I share this story with you.

When I was in high school, I would follow this wrestler’s success through the newspaper.

He was a very humble, quiet and unassuming wrestler.

But, when he stepped on the mat he knew how to “flip the switch.”

He won a state title in high school. In college he was an All American at The JUCO level and at the D3 Level. When I was in high school he would train at the same gym I trained out of.

Him and his training partner attacked their workouts like mad men possessed. I would watch them through the corner of my eye and it motivated me to train harder, to get stronger and to earn their respect.

What’s odd is that those memories are fresh in my mind and they are from the early and mid 90s. Even more odd, this wrestler still has “it.” He still has the Gladiator mindset. He still has that edge that so many men lose as they get older.

Heck, even former Olympic Champion Rulon Gardner lost his edge and found his way to the TV show, The Biggest Loser. Rulon lost his edge. There are many reason why men lose their edge. They lose that eye of the tiger.

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The wrestler who shared this with me understands something I speak about so often, something that drives me to never stop training athletes.

The pain of discipline and the pain of regret.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you have read and watched my videos where I honestly and openly talk about my pain of regret. It haunts me to this day and at the same time drives me to give my all to the athletes I train.

I understand the pain and it will never be gone. There are some who don’t care about winning. They are the robots of the world, the lawn mowers. They do as their told and don’t care to stand out. They prefer to blend in and not be pushed, living in comfort.

Then there are The Gladiators. They only want to succeed and they are always pushing themselves to keep that edge. They might only be competing against themselves often times but they are always pushing the envelope so they can sleep at night, proud of who they are and what they did that day.

The Gladiators of the world will understand this story.

The excuse makers, the clock punchers, the robots…. they won’t understand this story……

Some will play the man vs woman card after reading this story. Again, those same people are the ones who don’t “get it”. They are going to make some sort of excuse rather than learning from one of the toughest guys I have ever known.



A stranger helped me out this morning without realizing it, but in reality I helped myself out because that’s what I’ve always done.

I came to the beach early and went for a long run on the boards.

I wasn’t warmed up & I just get to the boardwalk from my house and this young girl is running.

I enter the boardwalk about 100 ft in front of her.

Within 5 mins she passes me so I have a choice to make.

Do I use the excuse that I’m not loose yet and let her blow me away or do I just push myself to keep up with her and it is a her, not a guy.

Of course, I did what most competitive people do and I stayed right behind her.

I didn’t want to pass her and make it look like I was competing even though I was.

At the end of boardwalk I keep going.

She stops to tie her shoe or stretch. Not sure what she was doing.

So now I passed her and made sure I kept a good pace so she wouldn’t catch me.

Then I let up and slow down, figuring shes not around. After about 1.5 miles, she passes me again, so I know I can just let her persistence beat me, but I didn’t.

I followed her closely and tried to torment her by staying right behind her.

She eventually turned off the boardwalk, either cause she was going home or couldn’t keep up the pace anymore.

Now, I could have chalked it up to this girl being half my age but I didn’t.

Moral of the story is that this is how a wrestling match goes.

This is how life goes and you will have to deal with your decision of weather to quit or not.

I chose not to quit and it was a struggle for me, but the discomfort only lasted for the hour that I was running.

Knowing you quit will last forever, just keep pushing even if the other guy scores and he will break.

If he doesn’t break and flat out beats you, You tip your hat to that guy or girl in this case or you shake their hand but you don’t accept it.

You go to work the next day and let that defeat motivate you.

Your coaches should notice a distinct difference in your demeanor the day after you lose.

You think you were working hard before but there is always another gear.

Play these mental games with yourself and you will be a success on and off the mat. and when you are older you will be even more successful if you can get a kid or numerous kids to believe in the power of our minds.

Keep putting money in the bank.

You may never need it until March, however, you have to keep training and when you need to dig deep, You will have something left.

This is kind of mindset a wrestler needs.


When I received this story from my friend I was fired up beyond words. Wrestlers understand this mindset. We were taught to apply this mindset and work ethic towards life.

Not every wrestler “gets it”. Some get tired of the challenge.

Some get tired of the constant push.

Others, thrive with the challenges and love it and actually LIVE for it.

Get comfortable being UNcomfortable.

Please drop a comment with your thoughts.

I would love to hear what you’ve learned from this, whether you’re a wrestler or not.

Live The Code,


Workouts That WIN – Click HERE


Category: Articles, Kick Ass Business, Kick Ass Life, Live The Code, mental toughness, Motivation, old school strength, Strength Building, Success, Videos, Wrestling Training, Zach's Workouts Tags: , , , , , , , , .

17 Responses to A Lil’ Motivational Story

  1. Coach BiGD says:

    “Get civilized”! For years I tried it Zach. I tried to be “normal” or like everyone else. No one I knew did what I did or thought like me. So I thought “conform”. And I got depressed like an old dog being left behind during hunting season. I was lost because I didn’t know what I should do now that I was “normal”.
    Then my son was born and I knew right then I made the wrong choice. Not in having a child, but not being me.
    My boys call me Crazy Daddy because I don’t act like other dads. No I spent all weekend building a snow fortress. I don’t dress professional like other “strength coaches”, but like a parent once said, “if you did we would think there was something wrong. That’s you!” No frills or fancy crap for this old dog. Just lift!
    Thanks Zach for giving this old dog a home. The Underground!

  2. Zachary Riberdy says:

    This story hits home in so many ways, thank you for sharing. I’m new to the crossfit world, and new to this lifestyle. I no longer could settle for being another face in the crowd, I wanted to stand out and not just because I’m 6’6″. Your e-mails, as well as stories like these, continue to inspire me to not be afraid of flipping that switch inside and outside the gym. T aking the time to bring forth the mind and body that I want is a battle and journey that I’m willing to take, the challenge has been accepted and my sword is drawn. Thank you Zach for the continued inspiration!

  3. Zach says:

    Once “we” get civilized, it’s over for us.

    We become weak and fall prey to being a slave and a pawn in this world… followers, robots….. we need to be out there pushing the envelope!

    • Frank says:

      The culture wants “house-broken” males, not real men.
      I refuse to go with flow, I have always kind been a “black sheep” in my way of thinking.
      I’m glad of it, too!

      • Chris says:

        “Housebroken” male, that pretty much nails it!
        Thanks Frank,
        Not sure why this has happened but it it has, today women are more accertive and agressive than the guys, ever drive in Jersey? its the 18 yr old girl who cuts you off then gives you the finger, guys are no longer combative or confrontational! I am greatful I grew up in the 70’s, John Wayne and Rocky!!

  4. Noel says:

    Amazing Story Reminds you that sometimes we let our mind take the best out of us. Questioning why we are training? We should rest today, then we end up taking a break. The break turns into months and next thing you know you not training anymore. Which is why we must remain focus. Forget about the magazines, t.v. We must break free from society. Never let the mind take control of our body. Stay on track without distraction. Never giving up!

    • Zach says:

      Noel – bro, you are so true.

      We’re too civilized, myself included.

      Too much technology, too much perfect everything and it leads to more imperfection and more stress

      The mind becomes civilized

      Less rest, we need daily activity no doubt.

  5. Simeon says:

    Love it. Thank you coach Z.

    Been listening to Ziglar in the car a lot lately. “You are where you are and who you are because of what you’ve put into your mind.” !!!

  6. Juliet Schutte says:

    I Loved this story!! Competition makes us better…

    There’s always another gear! Perfect!

  7. Janila says:

    Zach, this is great stuff. Your articles always fire me up, refreshen my mindset of kicking ass and taking names. For me, what really hit home was “Knowing you quit will last forever, just keep pushing even if the other guy scores and he will break. If he doesn’t break and flat out beats you, You tip your hat to that guy or girl in this case or you shake their hand but you don’t accept it.” Those words mean a lot to me because it’s what has gotten me to a lot of places. Thanks for sharing your desire and passion in making yourself and others better. Rock on!

    • Zach says:

      Janila, I am lucky to have had this story shared with me by this Gladiator.

      I hope he is willing to share more stories with us!

      These stories from REAL people are what inspire us to be so much better than who and what we are, because there is always so much more!

  8. Rob Hayes says:

    Good Read my friend! Being “normal” is an excuse for mediocrity. Like being just another sheep following the herd. Being happy with average, status quo is a Sad way to go through life. Never have and never will! Great to read what like minded people have to say! We all go through peaks and valleys in life but the strong willed always find a way to keep climbing! Keep fighting the good fight Zach! Glad my son and I have gotten to know you this past year!

  9. Its true Zach, some people who once had the competitive edge have lost it. It is always good to keep the competitive spirit.

  10. Zach you have nailed it again. I love the “Pain of discipline and the pain of regret” line. This is exactly the mindset everyone should adopt.

    My biggest hero in my life is my dad. There is no doubt you would like him. He has built a business from the ground up, has been super driven his entire life, and earned everything he’s ever gotten. He still puts in 60 hour weeks at 58 years old and is all about independent responsibility.

    He is definitely one of those Gladiators you are describing and I am doing my best to learn from him to this day at the age of 37. I appreciate you expressing that meaning to your audience. Individual strength doesn’t always have to be physical, but whatever its form it should always be present, especially in a Gladiator.

    Great post my friend. Thanks for sharing.

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Zach Even-Esh is an Author, Founder of The Underground Strength Gym & Creator of The Underground Strength Coach Certification.

Zach's inspiration in training comes from the Golden Era of Bodybuilding & Days of Old School Strength. His mission is to help You kick ass & take names in Life AND Lifting without the hype, fancy fads or gimmicks. Zach's Commitment To Your Success Is Unmatched. He Knows What It's Like To Go From A Weakling To An Unstoppable BEAST In Charge Of His Life, Business & Destiny. Zach Made It Happen Through The Iron and Now it's Your Turn!

Zach Even-Esh