Have you ever been around an expert of some type and wondered what their opinion was on something? For example, maybe you meet a financial analyst and you want to know what they consider to be a strong investment to make? Or you go for dinner with a dietician and you pay extra close attention to what they order (yes I did this with Dr. Kleiner in Seattle). And as fitness professionals we get asked our opinions on a variety of topics from what to eat, to what is the best exercise and our thoughts on whatever the popular cleanse is at the time.
So I thought I would do up a list of our Best Nutritional Advice. Some of the list are things we’ve come up with other they years. Other things may be things we’ve heard or read. Either way it’s solid advice. It’s advice that I and the other Okanagan Peak Performance Inc coaches live by.
- The Best Cardio –
For some reason I want to credit this one to Mike Boyle. And his answer to what is the best cardio is the one that you’re most likely to do. And that includes the know-how and the opportunity. Cross country skiing is an excellent cardiovascular sport but if you don’t own some ski and don’t know how to do it you’re probably getting a whole lot of benefit out of it. So rather than spend a ton of time debating whether you should be on the treadmill, elliptical, rower or bike, figure out which one you’re most likely to do. And that will be the best one for you.
- The Best Supplement – When the conversation of supplements comes up it’s important to remember the definition of the word which is in addition to and no in place of. Your goal should be to eat the right amounts of the best quality foods you can. Where there are gaps in nutritional professional it may help to supplement. So while protein supplements are hugely popular, if you are already getting enough protein there may not be a huge benefit. However if you never eat cold water fish such as salmon you might do well to invest in an omega-3 supplement.
- The Best Exercise – If you aren’t an athlete your best exercise is probably the one where you are the weakest. We are only as strong as our weakest link and addressing the weakest part improves our overall strength. Plus since it is a weak point we are usually not as proficient or economical in our movement patterns for that exercise. Therefore we will expend additional energy performing this exercise. If you are athlete you definitely want to make sure you’ve addressed your weak links but then should focus on developing the abilities to allow you to succeed in your sport.
- The Best Part of Your Program – Have you ever been running short on time to get in a training session. And your instinct might be to trim the stretch, mobility work and core activation in favour of getting in all your reps and sets. This might be wrong approach for most people. The majority of people we see on a daily basis need more flexibility and range of motion. They have poor posture and lack stability. Add to this the fact that I believe volume is more the enemy than intensity is and you’d be better served to do your regular pre-workout routine and trim the volume rather than vice-versa.
- Best Workout Tip – Have you ever known someone that has followed a crazy fitness program? I mean the workouts made no sense. The loads were all over the map. There didn’t seem a logical progression of exercises and the technique used was awful. But the same person following this terrible program got incredible results. It doesn’t make sense, does it. Actually it does. And the reason it works that success will come consistent, intense efforts. That’s not to say we can write a better program, deliver better coaching and get better results in less time. But if you do the right things frequently with good effort you will succeed.
- The Best Nutritional Approach – I like simple things and for that reason I like Tom Venuto’s nutritional pyramid. Get your calories in order first. Then focus on protein followed by carbs and fat. Next you will focus on nutrient density and lastly you should consider nutrient timing. A couple of take homes from this message are that calories do matter and that intermittent fasting is not what you should consider first when making a nutritional change.
- Best Nutritional Tip – Cut your carbs. Go low-fat. Don’t eat night. Up your protein. Take this supplement. Try that cleanse. How do you know where to start? What works? What doesn’t? The simplest filter for a nutritional approach is to ask yourself if you could it forever? What is ‘it’? Whatever the change you’re thinking of making. Sometimes chocolate lovers will say they’re never going to eat chocolate again. Probably not going to happen. And they’ll be miserable as they deprive themselves of this treat. A better approach might be to only eat chocolate on Saturday. You’re not giving it up altogether but are slowly cutting back. And once in a while a Saturday will roll around and you won’t have the craving to have some.
- Best Motivational Tip – I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek’s and his book Start With Why. And while this is a book for business there are takeaways for health and fitness as well. With fitness we should take some time to find our real purpose for training. And it isn’t an extra rep here or 5 more lbs there. And it isn’t weight loss. Or any of the popular reasons people go to the gym. Instead our goal should be related to something bigger. Maybe it’s our overall health. Or our happiness. Or having more time and energy for our loved ones. These are the things that will get you out of bed when it’s cold and dark outside and you’re tired and sore. But as much as I would like to continue giving reasons for the various reasons for training I came across the following article which is one of the best I’ve seen on the topic. Click here to have a read.
- Best Sleep Tip – Get up early without an alarm. Every day. Lots of people get up early. But few do it without an alarm. And for many the routine changes once the weekend rolls around. Friday and Saturday night involve staying up later and then sleeping in which makes getting back on track for Monday a whole lot harder. Getting up early gives you more time for exercise. More time for preparing for the day. More time before all the time vampires can sneak into your day and suck away precious moments. Getting up early also ensures you will be tired by the end of the day. And waking up early without an alarm means you are well rested and recovered. If you constantly rely on your alarm to get up. Or need to hit the snooze button a few times then either the quality or the quantity, or both, of your sleep could be improved.
- Best Technique Tip – Many people struggle with proper technique on their lifts. The may lose control of their pelvis when they squat. Or they may round their back when they squat. The knee collapses in when they lunge. How do you know how to ensure proper form? When performing a plank the there is nice line from the ankle though the knees, continuing through the hips, shoulder and head. There is a natural curve in the low back. The shoulders are down and positioned on the side of the torso. When we lift typically want to maintain as much of a plank position as possible, particularly between the hips and ribs. For example, when performing a TRX row think of this as an inverted plank where the arms and shoulders move. A push up is simply a plank that moves up from the floor and back down again. A chin up is a vertical plank where the arms pull down and back to raise the body. Exercising with this tip in mind keeps the stress where it should be, maximizing gains, as well as where it shouldn’t be, minimizing the potential for injury.
What about you? What fitness or nutritional tips have become rules for you? Maybe there’s some we’ve shared in training but haven’t included in this list. Or something else you’ve learned. Either way include it as a comment below.