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

Doing the work – do you know what it takes?

After over 10 years of coaching people in fitness and nutrition, I’ve finally realized that I know what I’m talking about. Well, truthfully, it’s that I’m finally confident in saying it. I’ve guided enough clients to the results they want that I am extremely confident with the programs and prescriptions I lay out for them.

However, it’s not usually the prescription that is the problem…

In relation to my last 2 posts, …you’re just not doing it and …straightest road to success I’ve learned that so many people are searching for that perfect answer of how they will get the results they desire.

The problem is that search and narrow focus actually prevents them from getting results.

I’m extremely confident that when I create a program for a client that it will help them reach their goals.

I’ve learned that it’s not that I’m prescribing the wrong thing, it’s that what I’m prescribing isn’t being followed.

Even when it comes to the packaged programs, DVD systems and latests hame gym gadget, for the most part they are going to work if followed. For the most part…

They key element is that they need to be followed.

Are you following me? haha

So if you’re starting to sense the theme of the last few articles, it’s that I’m not really concerned with trying to find the best thing to reach your goals. What I’m most concerned with is making sure you’re putting in the work to get reach your goals.

Are you putting in the effort and doing the work?

And the work isn’t just putting in your reps at the gym, stretching here and there or hitting the pavement every day for your run. Especially if it’s short-term, motivation-dependent work.

The work is putting in the effort when it gets hard.

The work is still getting outside or going to the gym even when you don’t want to.

The work is stretching and rehab every single day.

The work is getting it done because you said you would.

The work is getting back up when you’ve fallen down.

The work is doing whatever it takes to reach your goal.

Over the last two articles I bashed the idea of asking “what’s the best” something to get results. I’m going to give you a better question:

What will it take for you to actually to do the work?

The long term work.

What do you need to be able to truly commit, dig in, fight through the hard times and stick it out to the end?

What will it take to go beyond the original motivation you had to start the race, and fully complete the miles?

Where will you find the support that will pick you up when you can’t do it on your own?

Okay, maybe that was a FEW better questions, but I hope it got you thinking.

I’ll leave you with one more thought:

Whatever your goal and whatever you’re trying to achieve, it’s HIGHLY likely that someone else has already done it. Use them for motivation, guidance and support. Doing something completely on your own rarely works, and there’s nothing wrong with getting a little help and support now and then.

However, if you do use others for support, make sure they support you reaching your goals vs doing it for you.

I love comments, feedback and even questions. Please comment below and let me know if this article has helped you.

Chad

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore? Part 1 DOMS & Inflammation

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore

Am I hurt or am I just sore?

This is a common question you might ask yourself, especially the day after a hard workout or starting something new.

I used to be really bad at answering this question, which says a lot about my background and how far my knowledge has come since I was a 5’2″ high school freshman.

I was having a conversation with a friend about this the other day and we decided that it all came down to the old school mentality our coach
instilled.

Sure we were tough and had a “nose down” type of attitude, but this led to the idea that being sore was some kind of weakness. We ran through a lot of warning signs because… that’s just what we did. A mix of not knowing any better and wanting to be the runner with the most grit, but inevitably the injury team could have fielded a Varsity and Junior Varsity squad by the time conference rolled around.

* For the sake of clarity to anyone who didn’t run in high school, the “top 7” runners on the team were the Varsity squad and the next 7 were considered Junior Varsity, we had a small team – ok back to the post

You do need to be able to recognize that soreness is ok! but only within a certain context…

So what are these so called ‘warning signs’?

You can expect soreness after a good, hard workout or after a mileage increase, and that’s fine but be cognizant about where you feel it!
This comes down to DOMS!

DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is caused by micro-tears in the muscle. These tears are necessary for building muscle/building better endurance in the muscle. All good things!

However, inflammation is an unnecessary byproduct of this process. Inflammation, essentially your muscles’ response to training*, can cause excess tightness throughout your body and can really impact the flexibility of your muscles and joints during this period.

*A more technical definition dealing with inflammation – biochemical processes release proteins called cytokines as “emergency signals” that bring in your body’s immune cells, hormones and nutrients to fix the problem

So if we think of DOMS as a 48 hour window; any pain past that is a cause for concern. I usually follow this protocol with my athletes:

*Soreness up to 48 hours after: probably not serious unless it is near the joint or throwing off running form – monitor the situation and be sure to take care of yourself! Follow The Art Of Foam Rolling!

If it’s over 48 hours and there is still muscle pain, then it is probably time for a cross training day. I would recommend staying active in your recovery to help speed up the process, however if you’re legs are dead…

There is nothing wrong with an off day or two!

If there is still pain after the next 3 days (the 5th day post initial soreness) of taking time off or cross training — call this the next 72 hour rule — then it is time to go see a chiropractor or physio or sports doctor, at this point there is something wrong and the sooner you find the problem, the sooner you can start rehabbing!

So let’s look at a few scenarios –

INJURY TIMETABLE 1: First workout in spikes
Day 1 – Calf soreness/tightness but overall run goes fine
Day 2 – Calf is extremely sore, achilles tendon feels swollen and running is throwing off your gait – take a cross training day today
Day 3 – Feels a bit better but you still bike for the day
Day 4 – Calf still feels tight but after biking, a light jog and foam rolling you feel a lot better
Day 5 – Back to running!!

INJURY TIMETABLE 2: First big increase in mileage
Day 1 – You don’t really notice it but your legs are overall sore from the mileage so you take a super easy day
Day 2 – Your legs feel better but now you feel the soreness in your shin area, painful to the touch – take a cross training day tomorrow
Day 3 – Running is out of the question today, your shins are hurting when you walk
Day 4 – You don’t feel any better today and even biking is causing your shins to ache!
Day 5 – You feel just as bad as you did yesterday (you spent 3 days cross training and it doesn’t seem to be hurting)
Day 6 – It could be a stress fracture or it could be really bad shin splints, so think about going to see a chiropractor or physical therapist or someone in that field as it could be a muscular problem that can be worked out.

As with anything, listen to what your body is telling you! Do not be stubborn and think,”I’ll just run through it” because that mentality will put you on the shelf for a long time.

Thanks for reading friends,
As Always please follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Coming up in part 2: Rehab and Prehab!

Justin

Building Up To Back Squats – Simple Steps To Rock Your Squat

Back Squats are a great thing… and one of my favorite exercises.

Back Squat Trio

Back squats can help you with a variety of goals: building strength, increasing muscle, generating power through the lower torso and basic alterations in body composition.

So should a beginner just load up a bar and start squatting?? Ahh…. no.

While back squats are amazing for a surplus of reasons, they are a fairly technical lift. And before you load up a bar, there are a few checkpoints you should tick off…

First:

You should be comfortable squatting, if you have never performed a squat before (insert eye roll here… we squat everyday to sit into chairs/couches/cars!) start with the basics: body weight squats. There are a lot of squatting variations (assisted, bodyweight, single leg, goblet, tempo, box etc) so you should already be a bad ass squatter before you step under the bar.

Back Squat Variations


Second:

Understand bar placement, set up & load. There are two different ways to place a bar across your back: high on the traps and low on the traps. A high bar will produce greater load through the knees where as a low bar will target the hips more. Placing a bar upon your back will also shift your center of gravity. Understand how to maintain bar placement throughout your squat. Many beginner lifters unknowingly cave forward at the bottom of a squat (due to the bar pressing the chest forward) or try to raise from a deep position by extending the knees before the hips, both errors can cause injury – Understand where the bar will want to pull you and how you’re going to counter that pull before loading up.

Squat Set up

Third:

Get mobile! Back squats require more mobility than other weighted squats. As with most squats, flexibility through the hamstrings is needed to prevent rounding of the low back. Ankle mobility is also an asset to ensure the weight is evenly distributed throughout the foot with the majority in the heel, and hip mobility is needed to improve depth – On top of those things, there needs to be mobility through the rotator cuffs and upper back. Without this mobility getting the bar into proper position is impractical.

As always with anything new, start small. Get under the bar (without additional weight), feel comfortable and practice getting the bar to & from the rack. Once you move up to back squats & feel comfortable with them, the results are almost endless: improved functional movement (think of how many times each day you need to squat), increased mobility & balance, more strength.. I could go on.
Back squats are an amazing exercise.. but they’re not for beginners. Just because you can’t currently squat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Everyone starts somewhere and the results are always worth it.

Happy Squatting 🙂

-Shelby