Byrne Identity: Pain Is A Gift For Ray Lewis

An inside look at the future Hall of Famer’s workouts, each of which he plans to fail.

Posted by Kevin Byrne on Friday, August 10th, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Categories: Byrne Identity

Pain Is A Gift for Ray Lewis

Let’s start with Tommy Streeter, our new receiver from Miami who was a sixth-round choice in this year’s draft.
Soon after we selected Tommy, he received a call from fellow “U” alumnus, Ray Lewis. “He welcomed me to the Ravens, and that made me feel good. He then invited me to come work out with him,” Streeter said. “I was a little in awe with that.
“To see his workouts firsthand was special. To see him grind, to see him continue when he’s near exhaustion, to hear his thought process. It was amazing. Ray didn’t kill me, but he almost did,” Streeter continued.
How did Streeter get through the workouts? “When you come in Ray’s house, you see a painting that says: ‘Pain is a Gift from God.’ And then he plays inspirational gospel music while you train. What I learned is why Ray is who he is.”
Feeling Pain
“There are no real shortcuts to working out,” Lewis said. “Every workout is new for me. I know I’ll eventually feel pain, and that’s when I know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. It’s not between me and my team or me and my trainer. It’s always about me against me.
“Working out is my business, but it is also my lifestyle,” Ray continued. “Anybody can go work out and sweat. That’s easy. It’s just not about your body. It’s your mind first. It’s a three-part thing: mind, body, spirit, because we are three-part beings. Before I work out, I challenge my mind: ‘We have to get ready and accept what my body is now going to do.’ My body is a possession. I can decide how good it can be. This is my temple. Right now, it’s also my business. How could I not take care of it and push it beyond what I did the last time. The point of progress is failure.”
Ray Fails In Workouts
Lewis doesn’t just challenge himself in workouts; his goal is failure. “Every one of them – I plan to fail in my workouts. If someone puts me through a nice little workout and I know I can do it, pass it, it means nothing,” Lewis explained. “I don’t know what I’m going to reach in my workouts. When I have the dumbbells in my hands, I go and keep going until I can’t do that exercise one more time. And, then I go to the next exercise. And I do that until I fail.
“I start to break apart, and there is something inside saying: ‘I’m getting to the part when I can’t do another.’ It challenges your mind and your body. There are ‘wow’ moments. You say, ‘I can’t go any farther.’ That’s the point I always want to reach. Some people don’t want to go there. I want to go there every time. With that failure to do one more comes the progress I want.”
Inspired By The Olympics
Ray Lewis watched the Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez win the 400 meter hurdles last week. Sanchez, who turns 35 later this month, is the oldest man to ever win an Olympic race of 400 meters or fewer. Sanchez is the runner who, after winning, took a picture of his grandmother, placed it on the track, and kissed it. His grandmother died the morning of the 400 hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Sanchez, who won gold in Athens in 2004, fell apart that day four years ago and finished 22nd out of 25.
“He was so emotional after he won,” Ray said. “He pushed himself past the point. He was running against the fastest in the world, 18 to 22 year olds. He did what everyone said he couldn’t do. You know that his workouts had to be unbelievable. I watched and then jumped off the couch and started doing abs. There are no breaks when you strive to be great. When you chase something, when you chase greatness, you embrace the pain. It becomes the lifestyle of your workouts. There’s no other way. I embrace that.
“The only way you see the ultimate goal, the ultimate high, you have to be comfortable feeling the pain. Accept that, and you’ll find the higher and then the highest level,” Ray almost exclaimed.
(Can I pause here and say that I felt privileged to sit there and listen to whom I believe is the greatest defensive player in history talk about working out?)
Enough About The Weights…
So, Ray, tell us a little about a cardio workout. “I love the sand. Last one I did before coming to training camp was with my kids. We ran 20, 200′s in the sand. Sprint 200 (yards), walk back and then do it again 20 times,” Lewis continued. “We did 10 100′s like that. We had ladders and did those, and we ended up with 400-yard sprints.”
Ray then took out his cell and showed his kids running the ladder up a hill and then sprinting after, farther up the hill.
How Long Will Ray Play?
“You see so many players, talented guys, come and go,” Lewis said. “They’re big, they run fast, they jump high, but they don’t take care of their bodies, and they’re gone – just like that. I eat right. I take care of my body. My plan is to preserve my body as long as I want to play in the league. I want to keep doing what that 35-year-old hurdler did – keep going to reach the highest. I don’t put limits on myself.”
My plan today was to give you a look at some of our players and the way they prepared for this season. Ray Lewis was the sixth player I interviewed. He not only inspired me to a hard workout that day, he inspired this blog.
Next week I’ll tell you about what some other Ravens said about their preparation to play this season. Talk to you then.

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