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12 Random Thoughts on Training and Nutrition

12 Random Thoughts by Dave Coffin

  1. Every training program should consist of joint mobility training, strength training, conditioning, and flexibility.  The amount of time devoted to each will depend on the trainee and the situation.
  2. There is absolutely no reason why everybody should not be taking fish oil.  It reduces total body inflammation, improves body composition, and promotes joint and cardiovascular health along with a host of other health benefits.  If you burp up fish, store it in the freezer.  If you forget to take it, put a note on the door to your freezer.  No excuses.  And no, eating fish twice per week will not cut it, especially when it is most likely farm raised.
  3. Eat fruit, don’t drink it.  Juice has no fiber and more calories, which is not a good thing.
  4. Women who are afraid of strength training because they do not want to get bulky, should be more concerned with a degenerative bone disease called osteoporosis.  If you ask me, that is a bit more alarming than being strong, having some muscle and looking good.  But of course that is only if you ask me.
  5. While it is true that direct arm work probably will not do much to enhance performance, high school kids love training the guns.  The key is to prioritize what is conducive to improving performance and do these things first.  Movements that exploit several joints should take precedence and if there is time at the end, throw some direct arm work in to appease the appetites of the high school athletes.  It is similar to a child getting ice cream after eating their meat and vegetables.  If there is not enough time to fit it in, no big deal.    
  6. I was once told that yoga strengthens your body and your soul.  You know what strengthens your soul?  Sled dragging, wrestling practice and hill sprints.  Yoga is not strength training (for the body or the soul).  I don’t care what anyone tells you.  How would progressive overload apply to yoga?  The trainee would need to get fatter?  Riiiiiight. 
  7. Warm ups should raise core and tissue temperature.  Static stretching is not sufficient.  Dynamic stretching alone is also not sufficient.  General movement drills such as skips, shuffles, jumping rope, jumping jacks and other calisthenics followed by some dynamic flexibility works.  Remember warm tissues are much more pliable than cold ones.
  8. There are no secrets with regards to training.  Consistency, slow progression and balanced program design are the keys.  With regards to nutrition, there are also no secrets.  If you had a bowl of fruity pebbles for breakfast, you don’t need to go to GNC to buy protein powder, you need to go to the grocery store to buy eggs, oatmeal and fruit.  After you eat 3 or 4 eggs and a bowl of oatmeal and fruit for breakfast everyday for 2 weeks, we can move on to lunch.  Get the point?
  9. In related news, America runs on Dunkin.  Is there really any question why this is the fattest nation in the world?
  10. The work done in the weightroom should improve performance and reduce the likelihood of injuries during athletic endeavors.  The work done on the field should improve upon sport specific skills.  In other words, a strength and conditioning coach should make the athlete stronger, faster and more resilient.  A sport coach should make adjustments to stance, swing mechanics, takedown technique, etc.  Don’t get the two confused. 
  11. Fruit Two O, Propel Fitness Water, Vitamin Water and any other variation of the original are just an example of how humans can bastardize anything to make a dollar.  Drink plain, old water for the love of god. 
  12. You have to realize that you cannot help all of the people all of the time.  You can lead the horse to water but you cannot make it drink.  Massage therapy, fish oil, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep are all great for recovery.  Unfortunately, you can only control what goes on inside the gym.  The remaining hours of the week are up to the trainee to be disciplined.


Dave Coffin is a strength and conditioning coach at Excel Sport and Fitness in Waltham, MA.  You can contact him at