Fitness – The Last Meritocracy


One of the reasons I love fitness is because it’s the last true meritocracy in existence. If you put effort in, you’ll get a result. If you’re like me, you were raised to believe that as long as you put in the work, you’ll reap the reward. As we grow older, we realize this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, we’re hampered by our own lack of understanding. No matter how much we study, or how hard we work, we may encounter subject matter we just can’t wrap our heads around.

In other cases, we may be hampered by those in positions of authority over us. When it comes to authoring papers and other schoolwork, there are occasionally times when teachers/professors abuse their power. I hope that doesn’t happen here in West Hartford, but you never know. I had one such experience as an undergraduate at Yale, where you would think the faculty is above such pettiness. A verbatim quote from my freshman year English professor on the last day of class, “as I’m sure you’re all aware, I’m not easily impressed. I don’t give A’s to my students. You’re at Yale, so you’ve all clearly been coddled your whole lives. I wanted to do you a favor and show you all you’re not as smart as you think you are.” Nice guy.

The same thing can happen in our jobs. We may encounter bosses we don’t click with, or business partners we disagree with. The point is, there are often factors beyond our control. We do the best we can, but we don’t always reap the rewards we were promised for doing the work. When others are in control and exert power over you, meritocracy may not exist.

In business, we run into competition. It’s on us to put out the best product. But “best” is often subjective and relevant to particular demographics. On top of that, products require marketing. I happen to despise Apple products, but they have a massive appeal. PC’s and other smartphones may be superior in terms of functionality, speed, application variety, etc., but they don’t market as well. There’s no guarantee that the best product will win.

I happen to be a little bit of a control freak. I don’t like feeling helpless and powerless. Fitness has always been a refuge for me because of this. Work hard, and you’ll see progress. Strategically apply your effort, and you’ll see better results. This is where many people end up discouraged – they spin their wheels and apply effort in areas for low rates of return. And this makes it seem like fitness may not be a meritocracy after all. If you’ve been putting in the work and not making the progress you want, talk to a coach. It’s our job to problem solve and help better direct your effort. This is why we conduct goal setting sessions at Viking Athletics. Take advantage of them and make the most out of this meritocracy. See you in the gym.


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