- Strength training should be progressive. It should be based on quality over quantity. The goal should not be to cram as many reps, rounds or whatever as possible into ten or twelve minutes. I’m just saying.
- In general, the methods used for cardiovascular conditioning should have a relatively low learning curve. Think sled pushing/dragging, bike sprints, and bodyweight calisthenics NOT Olympic lifts.
- For regular people trying to get (and stay) lean and muscular, please google Dr. John Berardi’s 7 Rules of Good Nutrition. It is pretty simple.
- While it is true that there is no perfect program for everybody, it is true that some programs are closer to perfect than others.
- Do not treat clients like patients. You can always train around injuries.
- Training is a process and should be viewed as such.
- Contrary to what some will have you think, not everybody is ready to do the same exact program with different external loads. Sometimes it’s just not that simple. See number 6.
- Someone else said it first but it certainly bears repeating, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” Fact.
- Before focusing on recovery, there needs to be some training to recover from.
- For those parents who are nervous about their kids strength training, please google Dr. Avery Faigenbaum. He has published tons of peer reviewed research on youth strength training.
A Few Things I Have Learned Coaching
Be honest but tactful
I have found that it is always best to be brutally honest but tactful at the same time. It is not necessary to yell, scream, act like a jerk and bad mouth those you do not agree with but be honest and support statements with facts not opinions.
Lead by example
Whether you are coaching high school athletes or general fitness clients lead by example. If you are a fat slob who never picks up after themselves, talks on your phone and texts your girlfriend during training, eats garbage and you look like you have not bumped into a barbell in about 10 years, guess what your trainees will emulate? Remember…the apples don’t fall far from the tree.
Try to make sure you are memorable
If your athletes or clients are talking to friends, what will they say about you? Training methodologies and the application of these methods must be sound and appropriate but injecting personality into the training sessions to get a little extra out of your athletes and clients is not a bad thing. I am not talking about yelling at anyone because I don’t think most people will respond to that, however, challenging statements such as “If it’s too hard, we can just modify your goals” and “Its called strength training, not weak training” can sometimes bring out a better effort.
Be skeptical of cool, new ideas
It is not necessary to dismiss every new idea that comes along, however investigate everything with a critical thought process. When I stumble upon something new, be it a “cool new” training tool or a “cool new” exercise, I try to ask myself what place it would have in the programs I write for people. If I already have a better option in my tool box to accomplish the same task, it is unlikely that I will scrap what I have used in the past with success for the new option. The basics became the basics because people used them for years on end and they actually got stronger and better conditioned. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
There are no secrets
The only secret is there are no secrets. Training is a process much like every subject in school. It is always best to view it as such and take your time and make progress consistently over a long period of time. Don’t be one of the lame “four weeks to a beach body”…be a lifer.
Use less to get more
It seems like the longer I coach people, the more I try to trim the fat off of the programs I write. Many of the athletes and clients I work with have homework, practices, games, jobs, kids, etc, etc, etc so time is of the essence. When it comes to their time in the gym, they need the most bang for their training buck. I allocate a designated amount of time for each portion of the training session and if a client is pressed for time, there are certain parts of the workout that are prioritized over others to allow for the greatest benefit in the least amount of time.
Simple explanations trump long winded scientific mumbo jumbo in most situations
Most athletes and clients do not care about the science mumbo jumbo nor do I care to stroke my own ego and try to let them know how smart I think I am. I would rather explain things simply in a language that they can understand.
The statement “no pain, no gain” has been hanging around the strength and conditioning world for longer than I have been alive. While I certainly understand and appreciate the importance of hard efforts and great work ethic, I would like to resurrect another classic term that is not as common among the training community…”know when to say when.”
I have stated before that a training program must include joint mobility training, strength training, conditioning, and flexibility training. The amount of time devoted to each component depends on the trainee and the situation. I tend to be of the mindset when it comes to strength training that, in most situations, a little less is usually a lot more. Deliver just enough stimulus to produce the desired response.
Here are a few rules of thumb:
1. If you have pain with a particular movement, have a qualified coach troubleshoot your technique. The problem could may be in the execution of the exercise and not the exercise itself.
2. Devote adequate amounts of your total training time to joint mobility work, flexibility training and tissue work (or foam rolling and lacrosse ball self massage if you have financial restrictions like me). Please remember that a foam cylinder or ball will never be as good as human hands.
3. Sleep more than eight hours per night. I know this one is not training related per se, but adequate sleep is important for recovery from training.
4. Take fish oil daily. It decreases total body inflammation and supports joint health, cardiovascular health and has also been shown to lower triglycerides and raise HDL’s (the good cholesterol).
5. DO NOT WORK THROUGH PAIN. It is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. No pain, no gain does not make you tough… it makes you foolish. Know when to say when.
Work hard and work smart.
Hey there internet folks. I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. For this exciting installment I would like to offer some simple solutions for quick meals and quick conditioning sessions. One of my favorite quick meals is poor man’s chilli.
2lbs of ground beef or ground turkey (at least 90% lean), 2 cans of beans (black or kidney) rinsed in cold water, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, oregano.
Brown the meat in a saute pan. Add beans, tomatoes, hot sauce and seasonings. Simmer for 15 minutes. I usually split it into 3 servings however you could probably get more like 4. Divide them into small tupperware containers and put them in the freezer. There you have it. Lots of protein and lots of fiber.
For the quick cardio option try this:
20 seconds of burpees followed by 2o seconds of rest. Repeat 8 times. Have fun throwing up.