It Depends – The Answer you Should be Looking for

As a coach I get questions on a daily basis. The fun part is my answer is almost always the same.

My answer is: It depends.

Here are some of the most common questions:

Should I have protein after my workout?
Whats better, morning or afternoon workouts
How many calories should I be eating each day
How much weight should I use in _____ exercise
Is it better to go heavier and do less reps or go lighter and do more
Should I be taking a pre-workout supplement
Should I be taking a post-workout supplement
My friend told me HIIT is the only way to see results, should I be doing more of that
My friend got great results doing X, should I be doing that too
I need to do more cardio if I want to lose weight right?

Well, that last one often gets a “no”, but otherwise the answer is still always the same.

It depends.

For me there is no one size fits all approach to anything. Consider your own area of expertise for example. When it comes to getting specific about something I’m sure your answer will always be dependent on other variables.

In fitness and health it’s the same. It always depends on at least 2 things:

1. Your starting point and/or current fitness level

2. Your goal or what you’re trying to achieve

In simple terms, origin and destination. Like navigation directions in your car, there are often many paths to get you somewhere, but at minimum those paths will depend on where you’re starting from and where that somewhere is. They will also depend on any obstructions that come up in between.

In fitness and health it’s the same process. A good coach is going to take into account your current fitness level, your goal, and consider the path you’ll take and any obstacles along the way. Otherwise, you’ll just be getting a very general and broad approach usually based solely on your goal.

In fact, this is what you typically get when you’re clicking on or buying those “Shred fat now” “6 weeks to 6-pack abs” “Instant fat loss” programs. They create a plan focused solely on a goal. But there’s no consideration of your starting point, your fitness level, your motivation, your accountability, your knowledge or experience. There’s no consideration to anything else your success will depend on.

So next time you’re clicking that ad, reading that article or asking your coach for a specific recommendation, understand that to truly get an accurate answer it is going to depend on a few factors. If you don’t get “It depends” as your first response, I suggest you keep looking.

What’s something you want to know? Put it in the comments below and I’ll help you figure it out!

~Chad

I’ve had a setback

Let’s have story time shall we…

In the past 6 weeks or so I’ve been going hard in the gym. I’ve been testing out some new workouts and ideas I have and pushing my limits. It’s been great!

For 6 weeks I’ve been going hard, feeling good, and seeing progress.

Then last Friday hit.  Continue reading “I’ve had a setback”

Summer Running: Where The Pace Doesn’t Matter And The Effort Is King

Summer Running

Summer Running can be tough, it can be harsh and it will be unforgiving.

Growing up in St. Louis, and now living in Kansas City, you learn to cope with the ridiculous humidity that comes from living in a midwest river town. Running was always done in the morning and if you slept in, you were better off waiting until sundown to fit your miles in – we’re talking over 80% humidity in St. Louis most days.

Summer Running

Continue reading “Summer Running: Where The Pace Doesn’t Matter And The Effort Is King”

Cardio for Calories

When most people do “cardio” they’re doing cardio for calories. As in, they are doing it to burn calories, typically to lose weight.

Normally it’s a slang term for cardiovascular exercise, but really I think that it’s just about calories.

We’ve simplified the term into this overarching concept for getting our sweat on, checking our smart watch to see if we’re done, and feeling like we’ve burned off that desert from last night.

Sadly, this process is usually only done on 3 specific machines. You know, the ones found in the “cardio area” of any commercial gym. Yup, the Treadmill, Elliptical and Bike.

*image found on BodyBuilding.com*

For this article I want to focus on the idea of burning calories and what else could be a better option for our “cardio” workout. Continue reading “Cardio for Calories”

Learning From Lebron – “Be Better Tomorrow”

LeBron James

I’ve grown to really admire LeBron James over the years, but what happened this past Friday night after a heartbreaking game 1 loss really cemented him as the leader we should see in ourselves.

JR Smith had just made one of the biggest mental lapses in the history of the NBA Finals, making a crucial rebound and then running out the clock instead of passing it to a wide open LeBron in a tied game with 4 seconds still on the clock. LeBron, after being relentlessly questioned by the media about Smith’s play just stood up and said, “be better tomorrow”.  Continue reading “Learning From Lebron – “Be Better Tomorrow””

Do you Workout Because you Want to

Do you workout because you want to or because you have to?

This is an important question to consider because it can make a huge difference in your outcome.

In my experience I’ve seen a lot of people working out because they have to. They come to my gym or contact me online to start a workout program because it’s something that needs to be done. Either they are fed up with how they feel or look, or worst case scenario there’s been a health scare and their doctor basically demands it. In both cases they are doing it because they no longer want to be in their current position.

They’re doing it because they have to and in a way, it’s not really their choice.

This option does work for a while because anger, frustration, and fear are all great motivators. We’re angry at our bad habits or poor condition so it’s time to change. We’re scared of the health risks so it’s time to change. Our current situation has to be different, so we HAVE to change.

But being healthy because you have to creates resistance. Continue reading “Do you Workout Because you Want to”

The Journey is Always Filled With Failure

I had a great talk with my client the other day where she was feeling super positive. She had a great day, got her workout done early, was eating healthy and had the positive mindset looking towards the weekend. Everything was rainbows and butterfly’s.

But as the incredibly talented Adam Levine says: It’s not always rainbows and butterflies.

A little way through our chat I asked her if she could write down a review of her first month. The ups and downs, what she learned and what she didn’t expect. Things like that. I was surprised when I realized this got her upset. Even though things were going great at this moment, she was upset just thinking about it.

She realized that she felt she would only see the negative. That even if there was good, she tends to focus on the bad and the failure. She was upset that her outlook was that way.

This conversation got me thinking. Why do we focus so much on failure and why do we consider it such a bad thing? Continue reading “The Journey is Always Filled With Failure”

Is Your Focus on Success or Failure?

You started working towards your goal but you’re failing.

You’re trying hard but every day is a struggle. You’re finding it hard to just keep up with life let alone find time to workout, eat healthy and update your journal/log.

In fact, most days it feels like more stress than something that helps.

What’s the point if it’s just making things worse?

Sound familiar?

These are the thoughts we have when we’re focusing on failure. We’re focussed on the struggle, how hard it is and how far away our goals are.

We missed another workout. We had another bad meal or binged last night. The list goes on and on for all of the things we’re failing at.

But what if we changed our perspective? Continue reading “Is Your Focus on Success or Failure?”

Not sure it will work?

not sure it will work

Have you ever hesitated to sign up at the gym, download the app, purchase the equipment, or hire the trainer because you’re just not sure it will work?

not sure it will work

You’ve already tried so many things, is this just going to be one more thing that ends up in the same place? Failure.

Truth is, everything works. Every workout program, every diet, everything. Continue reading “Not sure it will work?”

You Never Regret A Workout

This morning, I woke up with a humdinger of a cold. Puffy eyes, scratchy throat, stuffy nose, the works. I looked and felt like death warmed over and ran through an entire tissue box in the span of about ten minutes. Is there anything more annoying than the start of a cold? I think not.

In the nights prior, I had scheduled a workout for that morning. It was supposed to be my longest run to date and I had been working towards this distance for about two months now. Running is definitely not my forte, but I had started to develop a “like” for it and was actually making headway on my long distance goals. I must make a note here: though I am talking about running, I am certainly not the coach to go to for running advice; please see Justin for all your track needs 🙂

Unfortunately, this cold had blocked any possibility of me feeling my hair in the breeze this morning. There was no way that I could make it five minutes on my run without stopping to blow my nose. It basically gave me every excuse to forgo any sort of exercise, adjust my alarm, and grab at least an hour more of sleep. I was achy, sickly, and just all around gross and no part of me wanted to exercise.

But as I started to readjust my eye mask I remembered an old saying that always pops into my head in these types of situations; you never regret a workout. And it’s true, isn’t it? Barring any sort of physical injury, no one ever finishes a workout and says, “What a waste of time.” Because working out isn’t a waste of time. It’s a positive step in every facet of your life. It improves your mind, body, and soul and it always starts or ends your days right. While the minutes leading up to a workout can be filled with dread, the moments after a workout always bring a sense of accomplishment and those lovely exercise endorphins that we all love and treasure.

That saying, “You never regret a workout,” prevented me from going back to bed. It helped me lace up my sneakers, blow my nose about four million times, and head to the gym. Did I do a hard work out? Not at all. I lightly jogged on the elliptical for about 30 minutes (don’t worry, I wiped it down with disinfectant afterward). While it wasn’t the most taxing workout, it was physical activity and I felt great afterward. It didn’t magically eliminate my cold but it did give me a happy feeling that stayed with me for the rest of the day and for that I’m grateful.

So just remember, in those times of doubt, those times when every part of your body is telling you to just skip the gym and stay home, I want you to focus on the accomplishment you will feel after you complete your exercise, the euphoria that comes with crossing something off your to-do list. Everyone, say it with me: YOU NEVER REGRET A WORKOUT!

You’re exhausted, of course you can’t workout

Not having enough time is one of the best excuses to not workout.

Not having enough energy follows closely behind.

I get it. You’re busy.

You work all day, you have other things to do, you need to take care of the kids, etc, etc, etc. By the time you get home all you want to do is collapse on the couch. Who can even think about a workout!

Sound familiar?

Your energy is used up on the rest of your life, so there’s none left for a workout.

Maybe…

What if that’s a lie?

What if the opposite is actually true? Continue reading “You’re exhausted, of course you can’t workout”

Training for Longevity

Longevity

Training for longevity is a topic that has been popping up in a lot of conversations for me lately.

Longevity in a fitness sense is about having a high quality of function and ability throughout your entire life.

I believe our current generations will be living a long time. With the advancements we have in medicine, science, surgery, etc, many of us will likely reach 100 years of age and beyond!

That’s pretty fucking cool, but it’s also pretty fucking scary if you think about our current lifestyles and training methods.

I’m worried that we will make it that far in age, but I’m not sure our bodies will last that long.

One of the scariest things to me is the idea of living till 100 but having my body give out when I’m 60, 70 or 80.

I don’t want to be alive the last 20, 30, 40 years of my life unable to truly live! 

One of my favourite quotes is: Continue reading “Training for Longevity”

An Argument for Average Fitness

Average Fitness

I recently read an article by Mark Manson called “In Defense of Being Average“. (worth a read!)

The premise of the article is that we tend to idolize and make heroes of people (or characters) who embody perfection. We think up heroes like Batman and Superman, and idolize Greek gods and Spartan warriors. We’re always looking up to those that are the best at what they do.

The same is true in fitness. You can tell by the endless amounts of Instagram posts of “Fitspiration” focused on peach booty’s and 6-pack abs. It’s perfect images of perfect body’s in perfect lighting and perfect poses.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to look at for sure, but what does that do for our expectations of OUR fitness? Continue reading “An Argument for Average Fitness”