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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

“Other 23 Hours”

I don’t think that there is anyone in this world that likes to actually talk about training more than me. I also don't believe that there is anyone is this world that likes helping people get the results that they are looking for more than me. That should ultimately be the mentality for any trainer.

Let's do ourselves a favor, and put training to the side for now and concentrate on something I like to call the “Other 23 Hours”. 

I am going to be completely honest with you right now, you can have the GREATEST Strength Coach, the GREATEST Personal Trainer, or the GREATEST Training Partner, but what you eat can make or break the effectiveness of your program. Can we all come to agree that the number of hours of sleep has the ability to make or break your effectiveness in the gym? Can we come to agree that if your body is not given the proper amount of nutrients, it can effect how you feel throughout the day? I would hope so!

Now that I am done ranting about what is probably not being focused on, let’s talk about what needs attention, and what is the best way to get it done.

GOAL PLANNING:
Goal planning is always Step #1. I always like to tell my clients that if they are not planning to succeed, they are actually planning for failure. 

During the first session with a client, I always like to sit down (OK, I never sit down with them, I am always having them do something) and discuss what they were looking for from me in terms of their fitness goals. I have heard goals such as to lose 80lbs of flab and put on 50lbs of lean muscle over one summer. I have also heard of goals such as increasing their throw to 88mph from their current 72mph. These goals are not realistic and are also creating an environment for failure. Neither is acceptable.

My position at goal planning is to establish a plan where the client and I can come to terms with something that is realistic and achievable. We also want to set expectations and goals that can help the drive of the athlete, to bring out a greater opportunity for improvement that everyone can be happy with. So when it comes to the talk about weight loss, we always break it into 10-15lb increments (depending on the individual client). When the goal is to increase lean muscle, we look to gain 2-3lbs of muscle per month. This goal is often the most difficult to explain because the results on paper are not super impressive. Again, it is my job to let the client know that we are looking to increase muscle, not weight. If he gains too much weight, too fast, then we may have another problem on hand, which can be too much body fat. As for my athletes that are looking to throw harder, all I do is explain that the stronger and more in shape they are, the more their body will be able to produce. I usually leave it there, and if they comply with the program, I know that they will be happy with the results that they worked hard for. This method has never steered me wrong.

DIETS:
Diets DON’T work. Diets have NEVER worked. Diets will NEVER work. I could leave this section just like it is, but I'd like to get into some more detail. In order to become successful and reach your goal, a diet that cuts out calories, carbs, or fat is not the right route to take. You want to head in the direction that will enhance your fitness goals in the fastest and safest way possible. It is all about a “Lifestyle Change”. It’s not about what you are going to cut out, but rather what you are currently eating, with a better option. This is what I call my “Lifestyle Meal”.

A “Lifestyle Meal” consists of Lean Protein (eggs, chicken, fish, beef, low fat diary, etc.), Fibrous Carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), and Starchy Carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)

Some other things that I suggest are to avoid processed foods, simple sugars, saturated fats, and hydrogenated oils. 

Another important thing that everyone should know or at least be familiar with is the number of meals consumed. If you think that you should only be eating 3 meals a day, then YOU ARE DEAD WRONG. Ideally, 5-6 meals per day, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2-3 snacks.

SLEEP:
There is an old saying regarding sleep and performance. Simply put, “Well Rested = Well Tested.” This one true maxim. A recent study done on Stanford University Athletes showed that those who received 10 hours of sleep a night, performed faster and stronger than less rested athletes. The study also showed that a full nights sleep comes better moods and higher levels of alertness. Now, if you don’t think this can help your performance either in the gym or on the playing field, I am not what else tell you. This is not just something to help athletic performance, but an important factor that can help benefit you in every day life.

SUPPLEMENTS:
This is one topic that the biggest rave, and the worst chatter. Let's first understand what a supplement is exactly. A supplement is something additional to take in to your body that you may not be receiving in your regular nutrition program to help enhance either athletic performance, recovery, or health.

Some frequently asked questions that I never hear the end of are: What is the best multivitamin?  What is the best creatine?  What is the best protein powder?  My answer is always consistent, how is your nutrition? How is your workout program? The usual response is either a "it's okay, or not so good. Please don’t worry about what supplements you need, if you are not taking care of yourself nutritionally or exercising regularly. If and when those two things are up to par, then we can talk about some supplements such as protein powder, multivitamins, BCAA, Fish Oils, Glutamine, etc.

I wish I was able to say that what I do in the gym with clients is the most important thing in regards to fitness goals. But the bottom line is that when you have the capability in the 23 hours on your own to fall off track, that one hour that you have with me, you better be focused and think about why you are here. Find that inner strength that drives you to become the best.

Take care of the “Other 23 Hours”.

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