First Quarter: Things I’ve Learned

So… It’s April, the second quarter of the year. I’ve decided to take a look at my training (both for myself and my clients) on a quarterly basis and toss what I don’t like, and keep what I do like. There was a version of this concept in one of my end of 2012 posts. Lets just keep it simple and call it “things I’ve learned”:

Linear Progression is AWESOME…

Sometimes in life, simplicity is king. For the novice to lower intermediate athlete, simplicity is especially effective. Much of the problems in this industry stem from people trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m all for outside the box thinking when it matters but that being said, there is also a box for a reason. I made the mistake of having my clients start out on a Wendler 5/3/1 template way too soon… Instead I’ve saved it for my clients who have been training for quite some time. The approach I’ve taken with 80% of my clients is much more simple: Squat, Press, and Deadlift once a week for 3 sets of 5 at roughly 80% of their one rep max. Add 5 lbs to the squat and deadlift every week, 2.5 lbs to the press every week; and ride this til the cows come home. After 8 weeks or so, I’ve had multiple clients increase their 5 rep maxes by upwards 30 lbs. I had a client with a 155 lb  1RM deadlift, who progressed from 120 lbs for 5 reps to pulling 145 lbs for 5 reps. Those are consistent large gains over a 2 month period. One of my favorite strength and conditioning coaches, Mike Boyle, lives by the mantra “KISS”… Keep It Simple Stupid. Well put.

Listen to Your Body
Ahh… This is quite the cliche, is it not? Who actually listens to this, besides the utmost hippies and losers. HA! So, if you’ve frequented my blog in the times it’s actually been operational… You will find that I’ve had a history of back injury. There are still days where I wake up and cant tie my shoes too well. Instead of being Old Marcus and saying screw it I will lift anyway, I’ve taken the new approach: 3 days of stretching without working out beats 1 day of working out with 2 months of walking like an old man.  I will say that I’ve had a couple workouts that I’ve cut short due to strange pain and uncomfortablity… And in doing so, I’m certain that I’ve averted at least 3 instances where I would have missed serious time had I continued. And by the way, my hamstrings are doing much better!

A Month of Clean Eating Can Make all the Difference!!

So… You want to get into shape and are tired of feeling sluggish and having a little muffin top? You would be so surprised at how quickly change can take place. From February 22nd til March 22nd I cleaned my diet up 100%. I cut out all grains and sugars, ate 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight, and got a consistent amount of fish oil and water. I went from 227 lbs to 216 lbs. These 31 days of clean eating have increased my performance, my clothes look better, and I feel much better.

Make Sure Your Goals do not Cancel Each Other Out

This might be the most important personal realization I’ve had in quite some time. This type of problem happens especially in the CrossFit realm. I love CrossFit, and think as a conditioning program it is second to none when applied correctly. However.. There are a lot of plates to keep spinning in CrossFit. Naturally, I want to get stronger and faster and move better and optimally all at once. What reality has shown me is this: take the time to move better and feel better first. Strength training through injuries is something that will only compound those injuries. Getting metabolically fitter will more than likely cause a decrease in strength for more seasoned athletes. Getting stronger will more than likely cause conditioning to falter. Moral of the story… If you’re hurt, get as healthy as you can first and foremost. Do not plan on getting stronger or more conditioned until your body is intact. If you are weak, get stronger and leave the metabolic conditioning alone for a while. If you are strong as hell, what do you care? Life is good just the way it is.


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