5 Things I’ve Learned In The Past 5 Months

With 5 months already behind us in 2011 I wanted to share 5 things that have come to light for me since the beginning of the year.

1. Quality Matters

This is true whether we are talking about nutrition, training, supplements, recovery or any other aspect of fitness and health. When focusing on my own nutrition or advising others I used to be much more concerned with the type of food being eaten. I now realize that improving the quality of food (grass-fed, organic, free range, unpasturized, etc.) we eat is just as important as the type of food we eat. Same goes for supplements. For years I felt that supplements never really delivered on their promise. Turns out I just wasnʼt using high quality supplements. Now that I am, I can feel their effectiveness in my energy levels and see their effectiveness in my body composition. And a high quality rep in any exercise (proper technique, full range of motion) will beat out a sloppy rep every time.

2. Your Probably Not Training Hard Enough

This became clear at the Eleiko Strength Summit I attended earlier this month. Dr. Ivan Abadjiev, developer of the Bulgarian Weighlifting System, lectured for 6 hours (in Bulgarian, no less) about cellular and gene adaptation. And while this was fascinating and useful, the one thing that blew me away was how hard his athletes trained. I wonʼt go through the exact workouts, but safe to say that any of us would be crawling out of the gym after one of these Bulgarian-style workouts — and these athletes would do 2 or 3 of them every day! Now, Iʼm not suggesting you train like a Bulgarian Weightlifter, but be sure that you are pushing yourself in every session. Youʼre body is tougher than you think it is.

3. Itʼs Not Just One Thing

I am currently enrolled in Dr. Jonny Bowdenʼs Nutrition and Weight Loss Coaching course and this is a key element of his coaching style. It makes so much sense but Iʼve never really heard it articulated as concisely. No one aspect of your lifestyle is going to get you to where you want to be. Nutrition, Training, Stress Management, Relationships, Recovery, Supplementation and Sleep are all vital to getting you to optimal health, body composition, strength, energy levels and life improvements. If you donʼt take care of every one of these things you are just short changing your progress.

4. Find A Good Coach Good

Coaching is what I am all about and it has become even more clear to me what the value of a good coach can bring to your training, your education and your life. Iʼll admit that I am a control freak, but when you can accept the views of someone who hasmore expertise or just a different perspective than you may have, you can only grow from that experience. I have to say Iʼm incredibly fortunate that I have exposure to great coaches and mentors . Some I get to work with every day, some once a week and some a few times per year. Each of these relationships have brought huge value to my life and have informed me as a trainer and coach. This gives me a great opportunity to thank my greatest mentors when it comes to training. Joe Dowdell who literally taught me how to be a trainer and is still my greatest source of information when it comes to everything related to fitness. Heʼs the only guy I know who gets as fired up about new research studies as I do. And Ed Williams who is a great training partner and friend who makes sure that my training is quality (see #2) and that I am working hard enough (see #3).

5. Iʼm Never Going To Learn Everything I Want to Know

This is the blessing and curse of being super passionate about what you do and very curious about what you donʼt already know. Every time I open a door to some new piece of information, it seems like there are 18 more doors waiting to be unlocked. Whoever says that we have learned everything we need to know about training and nutrition already is completely short-sighted. I donʼt think weʼve even scratched the surface yet. I know I havenʼt.