Friday, July 11, 2014

Putting the Personal in Training

I'd like to take a moment to address and reinforce the idea of "personal training."

The key word I'm looking to focus on is PERSONAL. I tend to get a lot of questions, comments, concerns, and other references to what other trainers, trainees, athletes, and Instagram heroes are doing in regard to programming and nutrition. People say that so-and-so doesn't train so-and-so 2.0 hard enough, or that workout looks like too much or too little. Or Jane is too concerned with food quality, or bob eats too much crap even if it fits his macros. That movement looks fun, and Phyllis has tight hip flexors so I should probably do Thomas stretches. My sister's chiropractor told her that squats would bother her back so I'd prefer to only train biceps on and so forth. 
What's my point? Lets look at what all of these concerns are in relation to: other people. 
Now let me ask a question in reply - what does your old college roommate's aunt's training protocol have to do with YOU?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

That's my point. 

The focus of your training is you. Your goals, your strengths and weaknesses.  Your body composition, health history, and your future. Don't be worried about the sets reps, macros, pace, or intensity of everyone else, because they aren't training with your body. Seek information about what you need, and learn from watching, reading and doing, but do not take too much concern about anyone else without having a full view of their individual situation.

Another issue that arises from looking without a critical lens is that too often I see and hear of people trying to duplicate the results of another individual by using their exact training and nutrition parameters. The problem in this is that no consideration is made to tailor the program to the individual. Many people will apply the logic that because they want to look/perform like "X" then they should train or eat the same. BUT do YOU have the same metabolism as a pro athlete? Are your hamstrings as strong? Is your daily activity level comparable? Do you share a similar genetic makeup? Probably not.

Instead of applying an exact plan to yourself, try applying a methodology instead. A methodology is open to interpretation, allowing one to customize a program to their needs. In order to do this, one needs to honestly assess their own weaknesses, their current state, their goals, and their plan to get from point A to point B. This process involves learning the how's and whys of nutrition and training, and applying on a case to case basis. For example; take the hypothetical situation of two aspiring football players vying for the same position. One is underweight and needs to gain strength and size to play running back. The other is overweight and sedentary and needs to drop bodyfat and increase conditioning to play the same position. Since they have the same goal, do they train and eat the same? NO. They share a common goal but need two separate paths to get there. Some similar methods would likely be applied, but tailored to the individual.

Moral of the story? Learn, apply, and succeed at YOUR goals. Don't bother distracting yourself with Linda's cardio routine because, unless you're Linda, it probably won't help or hinder you in any way, provided that you aren't more focused on her than on your own plan.

Steve Decker

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