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  • Writer's pictureTodd McLaughlin

The Work is the Reward

I contemplated writing this post for a while because I never want to discourage anyone from improving themselves. I also didn’t want to make people feel ashamed about using these methods to achieve their fitness goals. I get it as much as anyone. Getting in shape is tough. But it’s not a zero sum game. You can adjust now and reap the benefits of these “secret” methods. I promise that it will yield positive results.

In my almost 30 years of fitness training I have received more questions regarding these issues than almost every other fitness trend combined. So after careful consideration and a lot of rewrites, I decided to tackle the issue of weight loss and performance enhancing drugs. I encourage everyone that is interested in these drugs to do their own research regarding them and although there isn’t a lot of long term data on some of the drugs, there is enough that one can make an informed decision.

The other reason that I was hesitant to write this is that I didn’t want to come off as the old guy complaining about “these kids today and their work ethic” because one of the real issues behind the use of these drugs transcends generations. Again, without sounding like a troglodyte, I see social media being used by older adults almost as much as younger people and the unreal expectations that these platforms promote can affect everyone.

The current epidemic use of both semaglutide weight loss drugs and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) have created a fast track to the ideal body that everyone craves. Both of these types of drugs were developed for alternative health issues but are now doctor prescribed to help reduce bodyfat and increase lean muscle mass. And guess what? They both work incredibly well. Celebrities are losing 28 pounds in two weeks as we watch them shrink on television. Action stars are gaining 35 pounds of straight muscle in six months to play the latest superhero. Neighbors are going from the Mom next door to posing in bikinis on vacation beach photos. Go to any public gym and see how many middle age men suddenly have veins popping out of their arms and necks. It is an epidemic and at what cost?

The semaglutide weight loss drugs were originally used for type 2 diabetics to help with pancreatic function. When prescribing this drug doctors found that there was incredible amount of weight loss associated with the use of this and then started prescribing for clinically obese patients. There is not a lot of data on the long term effects of semaglutides but there is a boxed warning regarding thyroid cancer and a long list of gastrointestinal side effects reported by users.

The long term effects of TRT have been known for a while but the current “low dose” prescriptions are being advertised as safer, which is true but that doesn’t mean without side effects. Don’t be confused, TRT is a clinical term for steroid use. The same steroids that bodybuilders and athletes use to get bigger, stronger, and faster and have caused multiple health issues and sometimes death for these athletes. Do the research for yourselves and see if it’s worth it. Again, both are effective for their original uses when the reward outweighs the risk but maybe not worth the risk just to look better in a swim suit. Also consider that they have to be taken continually to be effective. That means a lifetime of use!

So what’s the answer? The answer is in the title. FIND REWARD IN THE WORK. Find reward in getting in a 20 minute walk. Find reward in skipping dessert until your cheat day on the weekend. Find reward in hitting your PR for reps on a squat. Find reward in beating your goal for steps for the day. Find reward in losing 2 pounds in a week. Find reward in delayed gratification. Find reward in achieving a goal through sweat equity. Find reward in just doing the work as opposed to the result.

Delayed gratification and earned achievements are aspects of human nature that have yielded consistent positive results over and over again. Practicing these principles are the only way that I have ever achieved any success in my life. Of the hundreds of books that I have read on highly successful women and men, both of these principles are always at the foundation of their success. And at the risk of sounding like an “old fart”, these time tested principals are not only not being emulated anymore, they are often discouraged in the path to success.

Both delayed gratification and earned achievements are basically a form of suffering. And just about everything that we are told and sold in modern society is to avoid suffering. Lose 12 pounds in four days! Get six pack abs in 3 weeks. Get your package the next day! And although getting appliance part the next day can be incredibly helpful or getting a medication delivered the next morning can be life saving, getting a workout shirt delivered the same day may not be a necessity. Especially when we realize it doesn’t look quite the same on us as it does the fitness model advertising it. Once you make the connection that suffering can be a positive instead of a negative, you can use it in your pursuit to achieve your goals.

You may never look like your favorite fitness influencer. That’s ok. Most of us won’t achieve that level of fitness. The time, work, and often times drugs required to look like that is infeasible. What you can do is keep striving to achieve your goals while appreciating the work along the way. Keep pushing to improve in your own way realizing the limitations that real life imposes on us. I am embarrassed to use this phrase but I couldn’t think of a better one. Be the best you that you can be. Wow.

That’s it. Too long, I know. I tried to shorten it, and I did, but not enough. This is the reason why I don’t post, because I don’t know what I’m doing and can’t shut up. But please, listen to the message. It’s time tested and will always, always pay off. THE REWARD IS IN THE WORK!

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