Beards & Strength


Article written by Jay Stadtfeld for LiftBigEatBig.com

Polar bears live in the coldest climate known to earth, of which we’ve given it the name of the Arctic. They have a thick pelt that shelters them from harsh winds and waters by which they hunt their favorite food, the Bearded Seal. What exactly does this have to do with training? Nothing, unless you count being furry part of your training.

Being bearded for some is not a choice. It’s needed for survival, especially in the case of our furry friend, the Polar bear. However, it seems to have fallen by the wayside for us humans. Perhaps even bordering the dreaded, “unprofessionalism”. Why is this so? Some of our greatest Presidents had facial hair: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, even James Garfield, whose beard could be argued that it was actually Garfield the cat living on his face. I’m not going to get into a political debate about bearding, but what I am going to do is tell you why you need to grow one, if you don’t already have one. I know, this post seems borderline sexist, but ladies, if you squint real hard and concentrate, you too may grow a luxurious mane of facial hair.


Although the beard has fallen by the wayside these days, an increasing number of athletes (strength and otherwise) grow them. Ever hear of the Playoff beard? There’s a reason athletes grow it. It’s not because it keeps them warm. It’s because that the beard gives you powers you never knew you harnessed. With the beard, Thor himself couldn’t strike you down like the Ice Giants he slayed. His hammer would merely glance off your face like a pebble off your windshield. It’s science.

With the meets I’ve done, I’ve gone both clean shaven and bearded. I hardly think it’s much a coincidence that I performed better when I had the beard versus when I did not. In two meets of which I had a style of beard, I took first in the 198’s and second in the 220’s (I weighed 198.4 in this meet). In the meet of which I didn’t have the beard and was instead clean shaven? I took fourth in the 198’s. I’m not sure why, but with a beard I feel much more confident in what I’m capable of than without. Perhaps it’s like Julian (Frankenstein) in Big Daddy when he was given those sunglasses that Adam Sandler said made him invisible to everyone. Maybe I feel impervious to everything that surrounds me, like I’m built of some form of Atomic energy, just waiting for someone to push that red button.

Reasons you need a beard:

• Your immediate level of awesome will improve twelve fold.

◦ What’s cooler than seeing a man with a gnarly beard? Exactly. Nothing. Especially if he can move boulders.

• Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Wendler, myself… we all have the beard.

• Women, buy this and profit. Trust me. I wouldn’t lead you astray.

◦ Seriously. Do it.

• You’ll gain more respect from women who actually know what a man truly is and stands for. Don’t believe me? I was in a restaurant the other day and made mention that men who shave their chests aren’t manly. We’re designed to be furry creatures. Our waitress spoke up and said, “Amen”. It’s fact.

If you’re a serious athlete, you’ll understand just why the beard is important. It’s important for survival, for procreation, for showing your neighbor that you are ready to unleash the ferret that lives within your beard if he doesn’t mow his lawn sometime this year. Go forth and be bearded, my friends!

References: “Mammals – Polar Bear.” San Diego Zoo, n.d. Web. 10 July 2012. <http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-polar_bear.html>.

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