Iron Meditation and Organic Wholeness

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Iron meditation is what I call barbell training. Since I usually train alone, training is a meditative act for me, very internal and a spiritual act of worship to the Father who gave me my body and the air that makes it function.  While in that meditative state, I get inspiration and it comes out as writing. For example, the idea for this post, came during  a dip and hammer curl superset.  I’m not alone in that. @mindfulyogithug who I follow on Instagram mentioned in a post that she prefers to lift in silence because “lifting is an act of mindful focus” just like her yoga. That’s huge.

God is watching when you lift weights

In fact, He’s actively providing the electrical impulses from your brain that tell your fingers to curl around that deadlift bar, push the floor away and keep the abs braced during the lift. He’s responsible for the air that your breathe as you recover and He smiles with you when you get a PR. Jesus said that He came so that we would have life and have it abundantly. Unlike Western Christians, His life had no separations. Granted He would withdraw to pray, but you find that most of His lessons were taught while going through daily life, traveling, eating, going to parties. This is a very Eastern approach to life and one that reflects that all of existence is intertwined; with the spiritual and corporeal coexisting.

Let me explain.

People often tell me that I should join this gym or that gym, but in my opinion, training in my garage offers me benefits far beyond building muscle. For one thing, the gym is connected to a small home office. That’s where I write the majority of my articles and blog posts.  In fact, I frequently, get an idea in the middle of training, run into the office to write it down and return to training without missing a beat. Does that interfere with training? Not really. It’s actually paid off in competition.

12120118_832146373568712_4182634883317666502_oIn one of my powerlifting meets, the bar was mis-loaded for my bench press. They put the wrong weight on the bar. So I got psyched up, sat down to lift and then had to get up and walk away while they fixed the problem, then get back in the zone again.  Then while lifting, I forgot that there’s no “Start” command in that federation, so I held the bar too long and screwed up my bar path on the way down. End result, I didn’t hit my planned number for that lift.  I came back and smoked it. Then it was time to deadlift and the bar was mis-loaded again. Repeat the walk away and psyching up process.

Had I not trained myself to be able to deal with interruptions and distractions, I’d have failed at my primary goal which was to break that federation’s Masters World Record Deadlift. But I did. And I did.

Compartmentalization of Experiences

I think this is one of the biggest problems with our version of civilization. We pretend that what happens at work doesn’t bleed over into cooking dinner, that walking the dog is disconnected from the sermon last Sunday. That eating dinner has no connection to Monday morning’s Power Point presentation. This is NOT true. Not true at all. I believe that we need more organic wholeness and for me that’s built through iron meditation; ruminating on ideas, thoughts and events while I train. I busy my body and my mind is able to process things better.

What does this have to do with Garage Gym Life? Where do you think I learned this stuff? Certainly not at Planet Fitness.

About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on


Preserving work life balance when you own your own business is tough! Being an entrepreneur bleeds over into the rest of your life in so many ways it's a cliche. I've tried to strike a healthy balance between working twelve hour shifts at my full time job, being a good husband and father and building our brand in whatever time I have left. That makes for a lot of late nights and early mornings!


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