I led off with the mental aspects for a reason.
The mental always outweighs the physical. We’ve heard it a million times that your body can do so much more, but your mind stops you short. That’s arguably the hardest part about sports, the military, and it some aspects of life. Don’t think you can over look the mental, only focus on the physical and still get to where you want to be.
With that being said, here are some of the physical lessons I was able to take away from last weekends Training For Warriors instructor course.
1 – The system equals 100, the tool equals 1
All of the people out there screaming at the top of their lungs that whatever implement they happen to be using is the best and only way to get results are guilty of this. I don’t care of you use kettlebells, TRX, bodyweight, or baby seals to get your training done. It’s not the implement that’s getting you the results…it’s the system.
If I give you a solid training program and you go do it with a barbell it will be just as effective as if you went and did it with dumbbells. Sure, some movements are more efficient and safer to do with a single implement, but that doesn’t mean that the implement is the end all/be all of training tools.
John Romaniello said it best in one his posts a while back and said it again when we were at a group dinner in Vegas last year. He had just been asked by Gary Vaynerchuk to be his personal trainer. Now, if you know Gary V you know he’s crazy busy and isn’t the one who would be traveling to a gym to train. So Roman was the one schelping his way up to Gary’s apartment building to work out in it’s dinky, ill-equipped gym. Guess what…Gary is still getting stellar results because Roman has a solid training program based on a SYSTEM and not a single tool that may or may not be int he gym.
What’s your system?
2 – Energy out is just as important as energy in
If you’ve heard any thing of the “Energy in vs. Energy out” or “a calorie of X is not a calorie of Y” then you might already understand this point. Basically, a lot of people break down fitness, fat loss, and muscle gain into the energy in vs energy out equation. So, in order to lose weight you need to have more calories going out than coming in. And to gain muscle you need more calories to come in than go out.
In addition, you have the “a calorie of X is not a calorie of Y”. This is summed up as a calorie ingested from steak is not the same as a calorie ingested from a twinkie, or bread. This is a fairly common approach among most trainers and isn’t debated much anymore because it’s based in solid research and results. That’s the “Energy in” portion, what about the “Energy out”?
Most trainers completely overlook this part of the equation. My guess is because there are only a select few who have seen the research, produced the results, and know what they are doing.
Pop quiz…what will make you leaner? A) Zumba, B) Sprinting, C) 60 minutes on the elliptical, or D) Machine based circuit.
Or…what will make you stronger? A) Body Pump Class, B) Machine based circuit, C) Lifting heavy free weights or D) 45 minutes on the stationary bike?
As a trainer it’s our job to see these inconsistencies in training methods and the results they claim to create, and then correct any misinformation.
3 – Train the body according to fascia, not muscles
This is already common among many good trainers who train movements instead of muscles. But every since I saw Jon Goodman recommend “Anatomy Trains“, I’ve been reading it and taking a slightly different approach. This weekend, Martin only reinforced it.
Unless you’re a bodybuilder, you’re over the the whole “chest/back”, “bis/tris”, “shoulders/legs” approach to training. A push/pull or and upper/lower split is probably what you use, and it’s working great. I’ve used these two and seen fantastic strength gains and increases in training efficiency.
Training according to fascia is very similar to the push/pull and upper/lower ways of training, but I feel it goes a bit deeper into how the body actually moves.
Basically, fascia is the connective tissue that keeps the muscle fibers bundled up and transmits the force they create to the bones and causes movement. If you’ve heard of the posterior chain, this is a group of muscles connected by fascia. Tension on of those muscles creates tension along the entire chain.
An example that I feel myself all of the time. My left hamstring is tight from multiple strains. If I haven’t moved around yet or my body is unusually cold, I’ll pull my neck if I look to the right too fast. The tightness in my hamstring causes tightness up and down the entire chain, to include the neck, and will affect movement along the entire chain.