So here we are at the end of 2012. What a year it has been!
In no particular order I thought I would sign off the year with my top ten things I have learnt throughout the year:
1. It’s Been A While But I LOVE Carbs…Again
First it was FAT.
PUT THE BUTTER DOWN.
Then it was CALORIES.
PUT EVERYTHING DOWN.
Then it was CARBS.
PUT THAT BAGEL DOWN.
It took someone else to coach me earlier in the year to make me realise this. When I lost 100lbs I did it with carbs in my diet. When I shed down to my lowest body fat percentages in the summer months I also have carbs in my diet. Success leaves clues.
What’s more, when you haven’t got carbs in the diet it begins restricting your avenue for progressive changes. I feel better with carbs. My clients feel better with carbs and it allows me to get better results.
This is not to say that low carb diets do not have their place. For sedentary or metabolically deranged clientele who suffer from insulin issues or women hitting the menopause I couldn’t think of any better solution.
As a starting ground though for most people, it is my recommendation that SOME carbs are left in.
2. I Think Now That Fat Is Healthy We Are Going Too Far
We live in a world of extremes. It doesn’t take much to realise that.
Fat was removed from existence 10 or so years ago. It was the bane of man. Then came research suggesting that fat wasn’t so much the issue for things such as heart disease but inflammation was. Some fats were then found to help with inflammation levels and fat like a long lost friend began to crop up in the diets of many once more.
Well I have seen a lot of experts begin going OTT, making diets up of purely fat and protein. I have seen diets made up of foods made of almond flour to help displace their carb cravings or people drinking coconut milk just to get their ‘essential healthy fats’. We must remember in the calorie model that fat still contains 9 calories per gram. Just because fat is now our friend doesn’t mean you need to make almond flour bread with 100g of fat in it and indulge on a daily basis as if it were normal bread. Normal bread contains about 30 calories per slice; a slice of almond bread can contain as much as 200 calories.
A world of extremes….
The human body requires fat to function, but it doesn’t require THAT much fat.
3. Training For Hypertrophy is Harder Than Training For Fat Loss
Having begun training a lot more clients for hypertrophy as of late I have quickly began to realise that coaching nutrition for this goal as opposed to a fat loss goal is ten times harder.
I have found that nutritional plans must be adapted a lot more frequently and most of all must be adapted slowly to ensure lean muscle gain with limited fat gain.
I have also realised how much patience needs to be placed on such a goal. Maybe some expert trainers are doing magical things with magical potions getting 6 stone of muscle on people in 3 weeks, but for most hypertrophy is a slow process requiring dedication and patience especially if trying to stay lean.
4. The Bulking Mentality Is Not Essential For Mass Gains
Ever heard the term, ‘It’s ok I am bulking’ as someone begins devouring a giant feast of pizza, garlic bread and ice cream. I have even used that term myself!
Well it doesn’t work. This sort of behaviour leaves you fat.
The more I personally train for hypertrophy and the more I train my clients for similar goals, the more I realise that there is little point overfeeding the body further than is required for this goal. Yes of course calories must be increased and training adapted, but over feeding the body more than it needs for growth is very much like urinating into a very strong wind and ultimately leads to more fat gain than is required.
More fat gain = more dieting at the end…
5. I Don’t Like Fasting
Perhaps it’s the former fat boy in me but I’m sorry I just don’t.
Personally I feel lousy, crappy and low on energy. The biggest issue I find though is….I just kind of like eating – is that a crime?
I have no doubt that it works and for some people it can be great.
Although much to my concern I see more and more posts these days on who can fast for the longest. It still seems a little bit strange to me that people compete against one another on how much they can effectively starve themselves? #thirdworldproblems
6. You can’t help EVERYONE
I beat myself up about this a lot, I live in a world where everyone wants to get results and achieve magnificent things. Unfortunately this world seems to very much be a Scott-built fantasy.
As personal trainers we are taught that we are there to help everyone and anyone. We strive to give the gift of health and vitality to all who we work with. I do indeed think this is true. If you are a good coach you do have the potential to help everyone and anyone.
Notice I said ‘potential’ to help everyone and anyone though. What we must remember as trainers we can do all we can to motivate and inspire our clients, we can hold their hands as much as we can within the realm of our job title, but at the end of the day the people we work with are their own beings, with their own thoughts and own decision making skills.
A client is not a pet, you cannot spray them with water when they do things wrong or shut them outside to punish them for their behaviour. They are in control of their decisions at the end of the day.
This is why I feel it so important to begin each client’s journey with the question of WHY. Let’s face it will Billy Bob drop the cream cake because personal trainer Scott will tell him off or will Billy Bob drop the cream cake because he knows what he wants and when he wants it and he knows it will not support his goal?
7. Resistance & Interval Training Is ONLY Good For Fat loss If It Is Applied Appropriately
The difference between those who get results and those who don’t besides the mind-set has got to be intensity. If you want to get results you need to apply intensity to your sessions!
Weight training and interval training is fantastic. We know scientifically that it is proven to be most effective for fat loss as opposed to other forms of exercise.
However I have seen people who work at a slow plod reading a magazine on a treadmill try to apply similar effort to weight training having been advised its better for them. Long rest periods, iPhone based breaks, a casual chat whilst leaning on a post I have seen it all.
Individuals who suffer this lack of intensity should certainly look into group based training. It is perfect for ramping up the sort of intensity needed to get the sort of results you are after. There is also no hiding!
8. Some Supplements Are Great
I don’t like pushing supplements too much. I am still of the belief that most of us have such a tough time getting rid of things out the body that it seems kind of silly to keep pumping our body with more stuff we need to get rid of. I also think that diet alone with dedicated lifestyle changes can bring about a lot more change than people realise.
However there are a few supplements I see work time and time again. Here goes:
- DIM & Calcium D-Glucarate
9. People Underestimate How Much Work They Need To Do
As a general population, I feel many of us misunderstand quite how much work is needed to create the change we so desire.
It is true that many of us can get into good shape perhaps on 3 targetted one hour sessions a week. But to go that step further, into the realm where most of us actually want to be it is going to require a lot more work.
Ask any bodybuilder, cover model or figure athlete how many hours a week they put in to their training pre-contest. Sure some will put in more than others but you should certainly be looking at 5 hours plus per week!
10. Basic Strength May Actually Be The Best Corrective Exercise
I do say this point carefully as it is based on myself and I am yet to experiment properly.
I was a back pain sufferer for many years. It was so bad infact that even bench pressing aggravated my back. Any lower body training was strictly off the map. I infact got it correctly diagnosed earlier this year after years of being informed my core stability was at fault. I infact had a bilateral labral tear in each hip….way to go physios!
Now for all those pain filled years I had began each of my workouts with 20-30 minutes of ‘corrective work’ – I did various core stability work, various bridges, bird dogs all sorts. I also spent a good 10-20 minutes foam rolling. Now all these things are great, and I was pretty darn flexible! But I still had back pain and couldn’t train.
Last year I began working with my own coach who could watch my form and coach me appropriately and do you know what, 6 months down the line I am front squatting, lunging, benching, deadlifting all more than I have ever done so before. Building hip stability, glute strength and t spine mobility wasn’t achieved through endless bridges and floor based correctives, it was built by just getting strong at the big movements and working hard on proper technique.
I have begun implementing such changes in my programming with clients and am already seeing better results.
To your success
Have you checked out the NEW Xcelerate Fitness cookbook? 30 Breakfasts, 30 Lunches and 30 Dinners all based around the nutritional principles we use here at Xcelerate Fitness, all proven to deliver exactly what you want…results. Click to take a look: Rapid Result Recipes
Personal Trainer Marlow
Scott Marsh is the director of Xcelerate Fitness (www.xceleratefitness.co.uk), a results focussed personal training company based in Marlow. For more information on transforming yourself in 2012 email email@example.com or call 07921 856308 for your FREE information pack.