Is Fitness Success More About Hard Work or Luck?

In Methods & Success Mindsetby Matt

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Fitness success comes in many forms, from champion athletes and cover models to someone successfully coming off of medication. Anyone can achieve at least some degree of success, but the question of the day is how much of success comes down to hard work or just blind luck?

The case for hard work

Hard work undoubtedly plays a very important role in all fitness success. Even the most genetically gifted and talented individuals don’t get very far if they are not willing to put in the work.

In my history, I’ve experienced rapid periods of progress just by greatly increasing my workload. Back in college, I went from a back-of-the-pack C-class racer from a top ten B-class bike racer just by putting in a lot more time and effort on the bike.

It’s also worth acknowledging that hard work is relative. For some people, doing 10 push-ups is a lot of work. For others, 100 push-ups is a mere warm-up. Everyone can potentially work harder and it can be a trap to believe you’re doing everything you can when we all have the potential to do so much more.

The case for luck

If hard work was enough then there would be a lot more fitness success in the world today. Every diet would make people lose all the weight they want and keep it off for good. Anyone who picks up a weight would be building muscle like crazy.

The reality is some people seem to have been dealt a better hand than others. Some seem to have won the genetic lottery while others grew up having every possible advantage to set themselves up for success. Clearly, there’s more to the story than just busting your tail every day.

It takes both

Fitness success comes from a mix of hard work and good fortune. The trick is to recognize the importance of both and to use each side of the coin in your favor. Recognizing that hard work is important helps to motivate you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. No one gets a free ride and every ounce of success has to be earned even in the best of circumstances.

Geoffrey Mutai, Bruce Lee, Ed Cohen and Frank Zane all achieved success through working hard to develop their unique advantages.

Meanwhile, count your blessings. Everyone has personal strengths and good fortune. Maybe you don’t have the genetics to be a champion bodybuilder, but your pain tolerance gives you an edge for ultra marathons. We’re all fortunate in some way and success favors those who recognize and take advantage of their blessings while eluding those who focus on their weaknesses.

Check out more in this week’s podcast below: