You’re So Lucky You’re…No, I’m Not…

By: Paul Oneid

We live in an era where delaying gratification and hard work have been replaced with immediate promises of results and expectations. People actually expect that whatever they want should be given to them and not earned. This is a subject that has been written about ad nausium, but continues to be relevant. Consider this a rant, an attack, or both, but it is aimed to make you question how others perceive your words. What you say to someone can have a lasting effect and it clearly illustrates the value you place on him or her and their accomplishments. This is something I have always felt, but the point was really hit home after a conversation with my mother.

My mother is truly an inspiration to many. I would not have pursued my career in strength and conditioning without her influence and I would not be the competitor I am today. She is also actively involved in the Ottawa fitness community. Since before I was born my mother has been fit. Her chosen path of fitness was endurance training, but she has since incorporated a lot of strength work (you’re welcome, mom). Six days a week, she wakes up at 5am, runs 5km to the gym, does a circuit training class and then occasionally runs the 5km back home. She then preps her meals and hits the road to continue to excel in her professional life as a real estate broker. This is nothing special to her, because she has committed to being fit for life. She eats well, exercises, excels in business and is always there for our family.

At least once a week, my mother hears her favorite statement: “You’re so lucky you’re fit.” This one statement is the embodiment of the layperson’s perception of fitness. In 5 words this statement devalues the hard work and commitment people make towards pursuing their health. Is it luck that my mother wakes up before everyone to get her training in? Is it luck that she preps all her own meals to ensure her diet is optimal? Is it luck that she still manages to live a fulfilling life outside of work and fitness? Is it most certainly not! It is a daily commitment to pursue excellence in all aspects of life and it is a lifestyle. There is no luck involved.

As coaches and personal trainers, we hear it all the time; “I don’t want to get too muscular, or too big like you.” It is as if people actually believe that the level of strength, fitness, aesthetics that they are pursuing can be achieved overnight with minimal effort. It took them a lifetime of neglect to achieve the level of obesity, sickness and unhappiness, but in 3 weeks of half assed exercise and eating it will all be forgotten…shut the fuck up! “If I had time to exercise 3hrs a day, I would be just as strong as you.” No, no you wouldn’t. You would just have another 3 hrs in your day to eat pizza, watch Netflix and jerk off.

Being fit is hard work. Having a healthy lifestyle takes commitment. Achieving a significant level of strength or aesthetics is painful at times. These accomplishments should not be devalued. These accomplishments should be celebrated. The best coaches will instill the lesson on their clients and athletes that the journey is the destination. Anyone who trains knows that you are never content. You take pride in your hard work, but you know that progress can always be made. It is this attitude that spreads to all aspects of life. You work hard and pursue excellence in work, school, family etc. The feeling of knowing you gave everything you had is the reward. Fitness is fulfillment. The next time you hear a statement that devalues your hard work, I challenge you to be honest. Respond with a statement that makes them question the impression their statement has made. Let them know there is no luck involved and challenge them to commit themselves in the same manner. I used to take the path of being rude and belittling, but that isn’t productive. I challenge you to go so far as to offer your help.

If someone is going to change their habits, it won’t be because you made fun of them. It will be because they start to question their own beliefs and misconceptions and because you empowered them to do so. I hope to one day live in a world where people don’t associate fitness for a lifetime with luck. I hope to one day live in a world where people embrace working hard for a goal. The only way to get there is by empowering others and taking every opportunity to correct people when they say you’re lucky to be the way you are.

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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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