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Steph’s Super Strength Series: Do We Really Need All This Junk?

04/06/2015, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

Strike a balance in your life, and start now.

From the food you put in your body to the physical choices you make to the mental side of fitness, taking care of yourself is a delicate balance. According to Steph St. Laurent of HybridStrong, it’s a balance that’s only achieved if you commit to an overall lifestyle. 

For me, I exercise because of the mental side of things. I have nothing to train for, I don’t need to be strong for a specific reason any more. Every time I play men’s league hockey I get slashed in the chin or some old guy yells and swears at me so I don’t ever want to play organized hockey again. 

So, Steph St. Laurent, for me it’s all mental. Sure, I want to be healthy, but there’s no real reason. So I’m just saying, why don’t people grab on to what’s good about putting this little bit of effort in? You know what I mean, does that make sense?

Steph: You say there’s no real reason, but you just described a reason. It’s for you, your body. People are addicted to negativity. Our world around us in society is designed to make us negative. From being over-taxed, or you look at people who get bent out of shape over gas prices and as of late, gas prices are really really really low so you see people a little more euphoric lately because they’re excited about what they have to spend at the pumps compared to what they use to spend. 

But inherently, we are in a world designed to keep us down and I think it’s an individual thing that you need to be responsible for yourself if you truly want to be positive within yourself. It’s up to you at the end of the day, it’s not up to my neighbour, the person beside me, it’s not up to my daughter or my wife to make me happy, it’s up to me to be happy. Basically everyday’s a game day, bottom line. Either you’re going to have a performance day or you’re going to be happy to resign yourself cause it’s easier to be negative. You flex that negative muscle within your mind constantly and that’s what’s happening. People expect the worst and hope for the best. So you’re a realist because you’re afraid to be optimistic. You’re afraid to hope and dream  and aspire to more because something around the corner is going to get in the way and prove you wrong anyway and that’s the mentality that people have. 

So let’s say this is the tenth time you’re starting a training program, Kelvin. And that’s where even the people around you will be crabs in the bucket, they’ll pull you down instead of lift you up. Because if you’re going to be an example of something that they themselves should be doing, then all of a sudden it’s a reminder to them so they’re not going to be happy for you. Negativity is a dragging factor in most people’s lives because of how life is set up. 

Kelvin: Why do people let others drag them down like that?

Steph: We’ve gotten really soft. People are soft. People do not like to get out of their comfort zone at all. And our comfort zone has gotten a heck of a lot more padded in the last decade. And it’s sad as a strength and conditioning coach, I see it in more of our young athletes, especially seeing it from a training perspective and then as adults we get further and further away from it. A lot of the people who are in their 40’s and 50’s with kids now used to play competitive sports at a university level and university ends and now they have families, careers, and all that business. Then all of a sudden that just washes away so people are 40 to 50 pounds heavier and you talk about what you used to be like and how they used to play sports and they used to be in shape and all that stuff but it’s because they’ve created such a gap from where they used to be to where they are now that it’s a totally different comfort zone. So it’s a painful idea to start working towards taking 60 pounds off versus taking 10 pounds off.

Kelvin: Do people feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to being in good shape? Hockey players feel entitled to ice time or a certain position or a certain team but if you perpetuate that entitlement through playing hockey and then through going to university and then through playing sports at an older age then that could be really damaging, to feel that entitlement to just be healthy.

Steph: You’re not entitled to be healthy. You have to work at being healthy. You’re not entitled to your job or your career. This sounds pretty clichéd but you have to go out and take it.

Kelvin: Entitlement is the bane of my existence. It’s so backwards, everywhere. Just go do it. If you think that you’re going to be good at something, just go do it and force people to hire you or force your body to be healthy.

Steph: Yeah.

Kelvin: You know or just be good at it, good enough at whatever it is you’re doing even if it’s just creating a better body for yourself so it just happens naturally.

Steph: Yeah. And there’s a reason why there’s a billion dollar industry just in supplements and procedures that are supposed to make you fit and younger and look better without actually lifting a single weight or stepping outside to run or anything, to move. To even move your body and people will be completely content with living that lie that these options or avenues are going to simply…

Kelvin: It’s magic beans, man.

Steph: Yes, magic beans or a magic bullet. These are the things that are going to make people look good and feel good and whatnot and then they know inside their heart of hearts that it’s not true but yet they’re happy to do it because it’s still the easiest out, the easiest option. 

And there’s another billion dollar industry on the home shopping networks. I always laugh when I see the latest and greatest especially before Christmas and New Year’s and you have all these great gadgets and people will spend thousands and thousands of dollars and then they have a closet in the basement and a garage full of crap that they’ve accumulated over the years. Instead of all that stuff, that money could been have spent working with somebody who can actually help you and get you the results you are looking for versus buying something for two or three thousand dollars. You know, some kind of Nordic track gismo that ends up being a great drying rack downstairs for your clothes. 

But people will still be happy to lie to themselves again and again and again that this time it’s going to be different. I ask people why is this time going to be different? And a lot of time you don’t really get a sound logical answer. They’re filling the void and romanticizing about the idea that they’re actually doing something towards bettering their health and fitness by providing a credit card number and waiting for something to appear in the mail.


Harsh. But true, right? How many of us look for the simple fix? Whether it’s in our job or with our health, we want things to be easy. 

You know what’s easy? Walking up ten flights of stairs after you’ve been cross-training or jogging for a couple weeks consistently. 

That’s the kind of easy I want.  

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