Last week I was watching the Bachelorette with my wife. And yes, I surrendered my man card before settling in on the couch to watch.
On this particular episode the girl (I’ll pretend I can’t remember her name so as to retain some of my manliness) and her dates appeared on the show Ellen. They played a game call ‘Never Have I Ever’ and the guys were asked a number of questions to which they would answer ‘I Have’ or “Never Have’. And I thought this would be fun topic for a blog post from a coach’s perspective.
What are the things a coach would never say yes to? In no particular order here are the things a coach would never say.
1. Ketogenic Diets Are a Bad Idea – We work with individuals that want to look, feel or play better. And to achieve each of these goals involves fitness training, and more specifically, resistance training. Carbohydrates are the fuel that allow us to train intensely. Restricting them in the diet impairs our ability to train as intensely as possible, delays our recovery and makes the training feel harder than it really is i.e. perceived exertion.
But for those that don’t have performance as their number one goal, ketogenic diets may be advantageous. There are instances when a reduction in carbohydrate consumption can helping with weight loss and with the treatment of some diseases.
So while we typically advocate our athletes to eat a minimum of 40% of their calories as carbohydrate, and our look and feel better clients to eat a minimum or 30%, there may be times where a ketogenic diet could be a good thing for the right individual.
2. Never Take Supplements – If you’ve worked with us for any period of time you know our definition of supplements which is ‘in addition to’. This means whole foods should provide the foundation of your plan and supplements can be used to fill gaps. Most healthy people do not need to be taking supplements. If you eat enough quality, fresh food you can get all the nutrition you need.
The difference becomes when someone is looking for that 1% extra. Will drinking Vitargo during a training session allow me to train more intensely than simply sipping on water? The answer is probably yes. And for the individual that is constantly on the go and can’t bring all their food with them for the day there may be benefit to packing a protein smoothie to drink between appointments.
3. Always Get 8 Hours of Sleep – Sleep is what holds many people back from achieving their ultimate result or goal. And this tends to correlate with cravings for sweet and levels of irritability. When someone is sleep deprived they will crave, and typically indulge, in caffeine and sugar, as well as be more prone to being upset by minor disruptions during the day.
Our clients have heard us say repeatedly how important it is to get 8 hours of sleep per night. And while it is important to get as close to 8 hours of sleep every night I would say it’s as important to maintain your optimal sleep routine as well. What I mean by this is to consistently go to bed and wake up a the same time each night. For me, that normally means going to bed by 930 pm and getting up at 530 am. Some nights might involve binge watching a few episodes of our favourite show and push bed time a little later. But I always make sure to wake up at the same time seven days a week. If I were to stay up to midnight or 1 am I won’t sleep until 8 or 9 am. I’ll still get up at the same time the next day and get right back on my routine. You should do the same.
4. Always Train to a Full Range of Motion – I remember back when I was studying for my CSCS certification to begin work in the fitness and performance industry. And there all these rules about training. And maybe training to a full range of motion wasn’t so much of a rule but something that stuck with me quite strongly. Bench press had to involve the bar gently touching the chest at the bottom. Squats were to be done to where the thighs were parallel to the ground. And don’t even think about deadlifting from a rack or anything else than from the floor. If you were feeling really brave you might go and video yourself performing an exercise to post on social media. You will quickly get called out for poor form or lack of full range of motion. If you’re suffering from an excess of confidence I recommend trying this to bring your ego back in check.
The truth is not every exercise is for every(body). I wrote the last word that way to distinguish between saying every body and everybody. Some people have unique aspects to their structures that don’t allow them to move in ideal patterns. Would you expect someone with fused vertebrae in their spine to squat the same as a two year old? Or the individual with should surgery to reach as high overhead as someone with pain-free and healthy shoulders? Obviously not. Yet sometimes we hear the coaching cue to train to a full range of motion which is wrong. Instead we should train through the range of motion where we can maintain optimal technique performing exercises relevant to our goal(s).
5. Never Drink Beer – We are all aware of the benefits of drinking red wine as reported in the media. Plus we live in one of the premier wine regions in the world. Of course we are going to indulge. We are shopping local and doing good for our health. Bring on the vino!
But beer doesn’t get the same pass. If wine drinkers are sophisticated beer drinkers are boorish frat boys. Another stigma against downing a few pints. Now don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not suggesting all of our clients should go out and start hammering back a few every day after work. What I am saying is that there is benefit to indulging in what you enjoy once in a while. Instead of beer you could substitute in ice cream, pizza, chocolate or whatever you really enjoy. And here are three quick rules to help you cheat when the urge presents.
First, of all earn your carbs. At the top of this post we talked about carbs being the fuel for activity. When there has been intense activity of at least an hour in duration you can feel justified in a small indulgence. Secondly, when you do indulge make it a small sample. Go for the single scoop of salted caramel rather than the triple scoop sundae. And lastly, make it a rare treat. Not every run or bike ride has to finish with a treat. When it’s rare you enjoy it more.
Coaching is never black and white. Often times an answer requires context so we can give the best answer, for the individual at a particular time. Hopefully the above points below help to shed some light on the sacred rules of lifting that you should feel ok to break once in a while.