Training and Life Lessons From the Last 15 Years – Part 1

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Oh how time flies.  As I get older, I find myself saying that more and more.  But it’s true, it seems like the older I get, the more things seem to speed up.  Life can feel like one giant beep test sometimes where each year gets faster and faster until we hit our “limit.”

Do kids even do the beep the test anymore or has the school system become so diluted that it’s no longer socially acceptable to be competitive and push yourself physically or mentally?

That’s ammo for another article I suppose.

However, you know you’re ass is old when you have clients that are 20 years younger than you – and I don’t mean toddlers either!

I can still think back to when I was 18/19 years old flipping through Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazine for the latest chest and arm workouts to go try at the gym.

flex

my #1 training resource back in the day

Hammer Strength was the gold standard for training equipment.

Olympic lifting was exactly that – the type of lifting that you would only see at the Olympics.

Training more than 2 body parts in a single workout was considered crazy.

Commercial or “globo” gyms were the only option.

Personal trainers had clipboards, wore golf shirts, and were high priced rep counters.

personaltrainer

Guys lifted weights cause they wanted to get jacked and the ladies lived on the elliptical and did abs classes to “tone” up.

I guess not that much has changed.

It’s been 15 years since I got started in this little thing known as fitness and man, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about training, nutrition, business, and life in general.

As I glance back, these are just a few lessons I’ve learned on my eventful journey.

1. Those who treat training as a lifestyle will have the last laugh –  I first got into this industry because I wanted to train athletes and I’ve had the opportunity to train my fair share.

It’s been and continues to be very rewarding but I often wonder what kind of drive they would have once their playing days are over.

We all need to be motivated in some way from time to time.  Be it a powerlifting or Crossfit competition, playing a sport at the collegiate or pro level, an all-inclusive vacation in the Caribbean, or your wedding day are all typical things that motivate us to train hard and eat right.

But, when you can finally embrace the idea that general health and well-being are really the most important, you won’t think twice about leading an active lifestyle.

Growing old gracefully requires you to be active throughout your ENTIRE lifespan not just when you’re young and trying to squat double your body weight.

Of course, training volume and intensity will decrease as you get older and your goals change.  However, your desire to look, feel, and perform your best should not.

oldman

I guess what I’m saying is anyone can go hard at 18 when there’s a college scholarship on the line but can you still find it in you to get after it when you’re 48, married with 2 kids and the only reward is less joint pain?

That takes a lot more guts than we give ourselves credit for.

2. Consistency is king – Like anything else in life, the rewards come from dedicated and quality efforts performed on a regular basis.  If you ask the strongest or most shredded guy in the gym what his secret is, one of his answers will most likely be consistency.

When people ask me how I got in such good shape, I tell them “the difference between me and most people is I just never stopped.”

Staying on the horse will have a higher payoff in the long run than riding super fast and falling off every 6 months.

Your training style and objectives might change throughout the years but as long as you’re still jackin’ weights in some way, you’re going to get better than average results.

3. Everything works… as long as you do – Most training programs have some merit. What’s usually lacking is effort and consistency.  If the program requires you to lift weights, do some form of cardio on a regular basis, and you’re strength is increasing while your body fat isn’t, then you’ve got a half decent program.

4. Nutrition doesn’t need to be that complicated – The only thing that makes nutrition difficult is the abundance of choices we have when it comes to food.  It really comes down to lean sources of protein, colorful veggies, fruits, unrefined starches, and healthy fats.  Everything else is just a distraction.

5. Training doesn’t need to be that complicated – Like I said before, it’s the abundance that’s killing our gains. Abundance of information, abundance of gyms, abundance of equipment, abundance of exercises – it’s all just too much already! My 15 years of training can be summed up in 6 words – press, row, squat, hinge, carry, run (sprint preferably).

einstein

training and nutrition are science but it’s not rocket science

6. Intensity is a game changer – This is without a doubt the missing ingredient in most people’s training programs.  If consistency is king, then intensity is queen.

Small but gradual increases to your training intensity can work wonders in all aspects of your workouts.  You can build more muscle, burn fat faster and increase work capacity by simply shortening rest periods, doing more reps with heavier weight and using higher speeds during your intervals.

intensity

Pain and discomfort are unfortunately a part of the process but it’s a short term sacrifice for a long term gain.

7. Accountability is priceless – We all need a kick in the ass every now and then and we usually can’t do it ourselves.  It’s amazing what we’re capable of when we have to answer to someone.

Getting to the gym 3 times a week isn’t as daunting when you know there’s a trainer waiting to put you through a workout.

Sticking to your diet is a lot easier when you know you have to weigh in every week.

You always seem to squeeze out a few extra reps when your training partner is screaming at you at the top of his lungs.

Why do you think Crossfit has spread like wildfire over the last few years?  Having a community of like-minded people to push you day in and day out will leave you no choice but to get better.

That extra 5% that you normally wouldn’t give.  That extra workout that you would usually skip. That cheat meal that you decided to pass on.

It’s those little things that lead to big things over time.

rockyapollo

This is the difference between going through the motions and actually getting somewhere.

8. It’s not 80% diet – How many people do you know that have a strict diet but don’t exercise? Probably none.  Exercise triggers healthy eating not the other way around.  Therefore, one could argue that exercise is 80% (or a very large portion) and once you got that down, diet just makes up the difference.

9. It’s all about looking good – The fitness industry is predominately based on vanity.

Health and wellness, work capacity, increased energy and functionality  are all fine and good but the reality is people simply just want to look good naked.

christmasabbott

If I improve someone’s mobility so they can squat with full range of motion, that’s great but getting someone to fit into a suit they wore 10 years ago will make me a god!

All that other stuff is just a bonus.

Giving people what they need while giving them what they want is the secret to success.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for part 2 coming soon. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe below to have these amazing articles sent directly to you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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