Do You Actually Work Hard?

By Andrew Serrano

People like to think they work hard. Very few people would describe themselves as lazy, but it’s not difficult to find someone rationalizing their situation in life with a myriad of excuses. This isn’t exclusive to people that have been unsuccessful with a particular goal either; you can be ‘successful’ and still be lazy. Typically when someone puts time into doing something, whether it be a job or sport, they gravitate towards things that they are naturally good at – because it isn’t fun to suck at things. They may not be a natural, but they are at least capable of doing it, and see some benefit in pursuing it further.

Lifting is the ‘thing’ that came to me naturally. It made sense to me early on, and I was able to progress further and faster than a lot of my peers initially. So for people looking in, it seemed like I worked hard and I did, but it honestly came to me pretty quickly. Other than showing up and training, I never really had to work through any real problems, but I didn’t know it at the time. I felt like I worked hard. Training for this meet has made me realize that I didn’t work hard before. Ten years ago, the talent pool was small enough, and the internet was small enough that I was able to convince myself I was strong with pretty average numbers, especially not having much competition as a junior.

I started competing more and more sporadically, with several multi-year gaps where I convinced myself that I was working too much, or that it wasn’t necessary for me anymore. It was still important to me, but I was just afraid of working hard.


As I started getting ready to compete again last year, everything hurt. I had tons of imbalances and issues, and a lot of painful areas that went unnoticed because I hadn’t been lifting heavy. Every time I was having difficulty, I would start to find excuses for why I shouldn’t compete anymore.  Lifting is easy when you feel good. But, if you stop at that, you’ll never realize your potential and will likely be pretty mediocre like I was. It’s how well you can focus and stay the course when things are difficult that determine whether you work hard.

At the top levels of anything, the people there are talented, but not all of them may work hard. Do you work hard, or are you just coasting at the level of your talent?’


In the highly competitive world of strength athletics, a back injury is seen by many as the ultimate career-ender. In truth, if handled properly, it is far from a death sentence. Follow the journey of international powerlifting champion Brian Carroll, who can attest to this first hand. Pick up a copy of Gift of Injury and read the remarkable tale of how after a massive spinal compression injury Brian Carroll fought his way back to the top of the winner’s podium.


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Andrew Serrano

Andrew Serrano is a full time trainer, holds a B.S. in exercise science and has worked in almost every facet of the training industry. He is currently competing as a 198lb raw lifter, his meet PRs are 589/391/601. His training is guided by the 10/20/Life philosophy with a focus on sustainable injury free progression.

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