3 Training (and life) Lessons from Rocky Balboa

On AND off screen, Rocky really is an amazing inspiration.

In real life, a virtually unknown Stallone writes the original Rocky film, stars in it himself, ends up grossing 225 times its budget at the box office, wins best picture of 1976, and becomes a household name in the process.

And of course the Rocky movies themselves – all six – deliver so much inspiration it’s hard to know where to start.

Everyone will get something a little different from his wisdom – so please, watch the films and decide for yourself – but here are MY personal top three training (and life) lessons from Rocky Balboa:


1 – It ain’t about how hard you hit – it’s about how hard you can GET hit, and keep moving forward

Rocky gets the snot beat out of him at some point in pretty much every movie in the series … but he always keeps moving forward, and he always comes out ahead in the end.

This scene from the most recent Rocky Balboa is awesome and Stalone drives the point home:

In training and in life, you’re going to have victories, and you’re GOING to have setbacks.

You might be on a roll, and then you might get off track with your workouts or your diet.

Everything might be going your way one day, and then you might have life circumstances that pop up that keep you from working as you would like towards your goals.

It’s how you REACT to that at the end of the day that determines your ultimate success.

Are you coming out strong on a new program, but not sticking with it until the end? Are you working hard every day towards your goals – in training and in life?

The most important things is to just keep moving forward and grinding away – and things WILL turn out for you in the end.

2 – Feel the fear – and do it anyway

In Rocky III, Rocky has has gone soft. He’s the heavyweight champ, and has gotten used to the good life – fighting sub-par opponents to defend his title, and enjoying the riches and stardom he’s earned for himself.

Clubber Lang – an up-and-coming boxer who wants to knock off Rocky – is hungry. He’s training alone, in sparse conditions, but he WANTS it.  And he ends up beating Rocky.

So of course, a re-match gets scheduled … and as Rocky starts training, he can’t get his mind right.  When Adrienne confronts him on the beach during training, he admits that he’s scared.

Check out the clip here:

BUT … Rocky feels the fear, and does it anyway. He re-gains the “eye of the tiger”.  He kicks his training into high gear, and he ends up beating Clubber Lang to get the title back.

Moral of the story is, there are MANY times in life when you’re going to be afraid. But generally speaking, THIS is when you have to LEAN IN to the fear. When you are out of your comfort zone is when you make the biggest strides and grow the MOST.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Be like Rocky, feel the fear, and do it anyway!!!

3 – Train with what you got

The training montage from Rocky IV is proabably my favorite one.

Rocky is sent to Russia to fight Ivan Drago. Drago is training with all the latest and greatest equipment of the time (it’s actually pretty funny to watch now almost 30 years later).

But Rocky has to stay in a cabin in Siberia and train there for the fight. And he has to make do with what he’s got – carrying logs on his back in the snow, chopping wood and climbing mountains.

Rocky gets it done though, and ends up winning the fight.  It’s not about what he’s got to train with, it’s the intensity and passion and heart that he puts IN to the training process itself.

You should do the same. You can get an awesome workout with what’s around you. You don’t need fancy equipment.  Watch the video below, and you’ll NEVER use the excuse of not having enough equipment again:

We can learn a lot from Rocky – as it applies to both our training program, and our life in general.  I hope you draw some inspiration from these in reaching your ultimate fitness and life goals.

Train hard, and talk soon -


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