News and Notes
I have been having a hard time trying to figure out what to write about this week. While thinking about it I remembered a piece of advice that I heard a few years ago that really helped me out today: When you have trouble coming up with things to write about, write about the things that make you angry! So with this opening message, I will discuss something that I saw on Instagram that drives me a little crazy...
I saw a local strength coach perform an exercise and it was sent to me with the question "what is going on here?". I said I couldn't say with 100% certainty what the motivation was behind it but the short clip had a description that read something like "trying to keep up with the athletes". I then thought that the exercise being done might be great for high level performers. The D1 athletes, the pros, the international level athletes might get a boost but not the novice weight lifter. But guess what the novice weight lifter is going to see on Instagram? The high level lift being performed by their coach hyping it up on the interwebs with no real explanation to the why.
I love the basics. They are what is most important. They are especially what is most important when you deal with young athletes. I don't care about new progressions or modalities that aren't going to survive the test of time. I care about mastering the basics. There are a few lifts that matter and they are the ones that have mattered for decades and in some cases, centuries. Get great at them first before you bring out the bands, chains, and split jerks!
Fitness Tip of the Week
The more I think about keys to fitness the more I come to understand how valuable everything outside the gym matters. I had a talk with a few former athletes this week who are trying to figure out a way to juggle work and fitness after college. One mentioned how their current strength training program doesn't seem to be doing much for their conditioning or getting ripped. I totally agreed with them. Two days a week of strength training by itself doesn't get it done. The idea of getting healthy or "ripped" doesn't happen if you do not look at how you handle all of your days.
So what do we do? After years of study and trial and error, I found a few pieces of advice that seem to help just about anyone who is trying to improve their fitness. Here is how I apply these principles to my life...
So in summation, here is what I would recommend for anyone looking to improve their fitness: Strength train 3 days a week, walk every day if possible, fast for a few hours each morning, eat two meals a day (try to keep them as healthy as possible), and improve your conditioning on the days you do not lift. This could be longer walks, biking, rowing, jogging, jumping rope, kettlebell swings, etc. This, as you can see, is much more than two 60 minute sessions in the gym!
What I've Been Reading
New Functional Training for Sport by Mike Boyle
When I first began coaching I came across a book from strength coach Mike Boyle. Here is a man who has worked at universities, has a World Series ring with the Red Sox, and quite possibly a Gold Medal for his work with the US Women's Ice Hockey team. Those credentials alone brought me in to read his work, the way he coaches and lives his life is what kept me coming back!
As I lay out a plan for how I want my life to look, I see coaches like Mike in their sixties still getting it done. He is doing it because he wants to, not because he has to. He does it because he loves coaching and seeing improvement in others. He does it because he wants to build a network of coaches who get out and try to change the landscape of training for sport. He is a mentor to many and also a great mind who is not afraid to challenge conventional thought. The book is not only great for strength coaches but for anyone who wants to add more "functional training" exercises to their routine!
What I've Been Listening To
Olympic Champ Jordan Burroughs on Joe Rogan's podcast (click here to listen)
There is a very small percentage of people in athletics who can place the title Olympic Champ next to their name. This man just so happens to be one of them. So, for someone who enjoys athletic success, this episode was a must listen. To put the icing on the cake is that this man is an Olympic champ in one of my favorite sports: WRESTLING!
Burroughs appears to be an awesome guy. He has a great mentality and his personality has helped grow the sport. Like he discusses in the episode, wrestling is such a niche sport. The only people who really enjoy it are those who competed in the sport itself or have a loved one compete in the sport. Don't get me wrong, there is the occasional person who never competed who catches the bug and comes to love the sport but it is not too common.
The reason I love the sport of wrestling is that it demands such discipline from their athletes. There are no teammates. There are no shortcuts. And like Burroughs and Rogan discussed, there is no flopping wrestling! When it comes down to it, it is all pride. His best wrestling may be behind him now but if you want to see his athleticism, just google Jordan Burroughs Blast Double to see the power and speed that this man has!
Quote of the Week
"Approach the game with no preset agendas and you'll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts." -- Phil Jackson
I hope you all have an awesome week!