Paul Oneid – Moral Victories are B.S.

If you have been following along, you know that I competed at the EPC Finals meet in my hometown of Ottawa, ON.  I competed in the 220 lbs class minimally equipped class (belt and knee sleeves).  Now, this should be a meet recap, but truth be told, it will be more of a rant… In any case, here we go.

My prep for this meet went really well until about 3 weeks out.  On my heaviest squat of the cycle, I hit 716 lbs and felt a tear in my hip/ lateral quad.  I had it looked at and it ended up being a grade 1-2 tear of my lateral quad.  I began to rehab right away, revamped my training plan and thought I was out of the woods.  At the time of the meet, I hadn’t felt any discomfort, or pain in the area for about a week.

My cut for the meet was seamless.  I started the water load at 238 lbs and lost weight each day.  I was 224.4lbs on the morning of weigh in, so sat in a sauna and made weight at 218lbs easily.  I want to throw a thank you to my friend and client Stuart Locke for hanging out and keeping me company.  It was one of the easiest cuts I have ever done.  I followed the cutting weight ebook to a tee and the proof is in the pudding.  The book is now available on kindle!

After making weight, I started to eat and rehydrate.  I was lucky enough to have my friend Amanda Milne swing by the house and run an IV for me.  After 3L of fluid, I felt like a million bucks.  I did a small workout to get the fluid moving around before bed and it did wonders.  I woke up ready to rock.  I continued to refeed and get my mind right and got to the meet shortly after noon for the 2pm start.


When I started warming up for the squat, I knew something was up.  My right hip wouldn’t open up properly regardless of what I tried.  There was no pain, but it didn’t feel right.  As the bar got heavier, the tightness travelled into my quad.  I reduced my opener by 5kg and decided to roll with it.

  • Opener – 661lbs GOOD
    • I squatted this really crooked.  The video doesn’t do it justice, but I shifted hard to my left to avoid the quad.  I wasn’t in any pain, but I was babying it.  After the rep, I didn’t put in a second attempt. I had Pam run and go get another friend of mine, Dr. Carrie Johnston (chiropractor).  Carrie treated me after the initial tear, so she knew what needed to be done.  She worked on my quad and after speaking with Jay Nera and Pam, I put my attempt in.  If I was going to squat it, I couldn’t baby it and had to commit to the squat.
  • 2nd – 705lbs GOOD (Snap)
    • Set my feet, committed and hit the hole dead centre.  As soon as I came up, I shifted hard to the left as my right knee caved.  I felt the quad tear and just kept pushing.  I stood up the weight and couldn’t move.  The spotters brought me back in.  At this point, I passed on my 3rd attempt and knew my day was essentially done.  No money.  No win.  No glory.  No success.  All of this in front of all of my friends and my whole family.  I was pretty disheartened.


Bench set up was extremely painful.  I couldn’t drive at all because of the torn quad and even more painful was the left knee, which had flared up hard from the compensation not he 705lbs squat.  I did what I could.

  • Opener – 391lbs GOOD
    • No leg drive and it was way slower than it should have been
  • Second – 418lbs GOOD
    • Huge grind.  I had no leg drive, so I didn’t press back as strong as usual and it just grinded to lockout.  Normally a rep this slow I would have missed, so at least that is some sort of progress.
  • Third – 424lbs NO Lift
    • The planned third was 440lbs, but I knew after the 2nd that there was no chance.
    • Stalled right where the 2nd slowed down.


At this point, bending my left leg was agony and hinging at the hip was sending shooting pain to my foot.  I knew nothing special was going to happen.  Again, just like the bench, I did what I could.  I kept my opener for the irony and I knew I could pull it even if I had AIDS.

  • Opener – 666lbs GOOD
    • Locking this out was brutal and you can see it on my face.  I finished the meet.
    • The devil’s number felt appropriate because at this point, I was half in the grave.


So, that was my meet – essentially over after the second squat.  A meet I could have won, over before it started.  In front of my closest friends and family, I played with fire and got burned.  Now, I know that they don’t see it the same way as I do. I’ve gotten messages from so many people to tell me that I inspired them, or motivated them by finishing the meet and not packing it in.  Truth be told, that means a lot.  The fact that me doing something I love can motivate others is a pretty surreal feeling.  It is not something I take lightly.  There was no way that I wasn’t going to finish the meet.  Even if that meant taking token lifts.  Quitting just isn’t in me.

ALL THAT BEING SAID – I am getting sick and f-ing tired of moral victories.

I don’t say that to be ungrateful, arrogant, or in any way disrespectful to anyone who has reached out. I say it because that isn’t the reason I compete – I compete to win.  I compete to push myself to higher levels and to be the best lifter that I can.  I am sick and tired of not delivering when it counts.  Since my best meet in 2015, when I totalled 1930 @220, was on the all-time list for the squat and total, I haven’t done shit in my opinion.  I had a lack lustre meet after rushing back from knee surgery, a PR total one weight class up (but a 5 point lower Wilks), an abysmal performance at the Arnold and now this injury.  It is no question that I put in the work, but I just haven’t been able to put it on the platform and you know what?  That is pretty embarrassing.  I take a lot of pride in my lifting, but haven’t been able to feel proud in quite some time.

Now, this isn’t meant to be a pity party, because trust me – I AM NOT DONE.  This is meant as a gut check, or a wake-up call that some changes need to be made.  I have full control of my outcomes.  I control what I do on that platform.  Honestly, I shouldn’t have taken that second squat this weekend.  If I hadn’t, I may have been able to bench and pull properly.  I made a stupid mistake and it cost me my meet.  Brian told me to be cerebral and I most certainly was not.  That is on me.  I am going to use this as a learning experience, go back to the drawing board and rebuild myself to be ready for some better lifting in the fall of 2018.  Between now and then there is a lot to be done professionally and personally, so competing is going to take a backseat.

Thank you to everyone who followed along during this process.  To my friends and family who came out to support.  To my clients who competed alongside me and all had fantastic days.  My PRS teammates for reaching out and supporting with advices, guidance and well wishes.  Finally, Pam for being able to keep me calm and helping me find perspective.  I am very lucky to have a partner who understands exactly what I am trying to do and has my back every step of the way.  I can’t wait to call her my wife on June 2nd, 2018.



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Paul Oneid

Paul is an elite level raw Powerlifter with personal bests of an 805lbs squat, 440lbs bench, 725lbs deadlift and a 1960lbs total in the 242lbs class, as well as an 800lbs squat, 430lbs bench, 700lbs deadlift and 1930lbs total in the 220lbs class. Paul brings a deep educational background to the team as he has earned Master’s degrees in both Sports Management and Exercise Science. He is a former D1 Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach, who now works as a Functional Rehabilitation Specialist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Paul provides coaching services in the areas of training and nutrition through his company Master Athletic Performance and is also the co-founder of a technology company, 1-Life Inc. Stay tuned for more information on that in the future!
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