Opinion, Strength and Conditioning, Uncategorized

8 Things in the last 8 Years that I thought I knew, that where bullshit. (Part 2)

55 – Placebo matters

Once you come to accept what can be a harsh reality that a lot of the physical training that involves “optimisation” is pretty much a big crock of shit then you will come to appreciate the power of the placebo effect.  When you are in the position that your team, athletes or clients are winning the majority of their battles, nailing the crap out of their basic training and competing consistently well then you are in a very good place.  From this place you can start to look at that 1%.

That 1% involves things like maximising mechanical power in a movement, improving rate of force production over a certain time frame with a certain muscle or position taking an athlete away from competing to work on special projects or specific conditioning.  It involves a new recovery modality that is going to revolutionise how the athlete feels.  It involves all the “bleeding” edge supplementation strategies that have 2 studies backing them up involving over eager sports science students.

The likelihood of any of this shit working is pretty much non existent however you need to appreciate just how overbearingly important psychology is in sport at any level never mind at the top level.  If an athlete or lifter truly believes that this new super hydrolated herty derpty creatine mono maniac molecular isolate is going to make them stronger.  You better believe they are going to get stronger.

You see confidence and self belief are massive in training and sport.  When someone absolutely believes that they are going to achieve that extra rep watch them gut it out and make it.  Self doubt and criticism are acidic to performance.


6 – Nutrition is calories in v calories out with veggies

Here is a short list of diets I have tried

  • The velocity diet (3 times, terrible time)
  • 6 meals a day – protein every meal.
  • Lean Gains – 16 hour fast 8 hour feed
  • Low Carb (3 years)
  • Anabolic Diet
  • Carb back loading
  • Calorie controlled diet….. :O

They all worked for gaining and losing weight because they either encouraged me to eat a surplus of calories or transversely gimped my ability to eat as many calories.

The amount of crap you have to wade through just to get to an actionable and easy to understand approach to eating for any end is ludicrous.  Nutrition is pretty much just a maths equation.  If you want to see what you need to eat to get bigger or smaller you need to understand what is required in terms of energy to just stay the same.

When you know how much you need for maintenance you can simply eat more or eat less to achieve your goal… crazy hard.  If you apply this approach with 5 portions of fruit and veg a day with a variety of food sources for your protein, carbs and fats.  BOOM PERFORMANCE NUTRITION PROGRAMME.

Oh yeah remember to drink water and eat more when you train harder.

Repeat after me I do not need supplements.  I do not need supplements.

If any supplement provides you with a noticeable performance benefit you bet your sweet ass it is going to be banned by WADDA lickity split because it would be considered a drug and not a dietary supplement .  A good way to think of dietary supplementation is to think of it as the supplementary extras on your car, yeah the chrome gear box on your new Ferrari looks nice but it’s not really going to increase it’s 0-60 time, still costs £2000 though.

So yeah eat your goal specific amount of calories and eat some god damned green stuff.


Spanish-Cardio7 – Cardio is massively important

This one is pretty hilarious I used to be of the opinion that high intensity work such as tabtta rounds where the best way to get in shape after all that’s what the internet recommends.  If you read this website as a regular chances are you are quite in tune with strength training and probably also performance training.  You will understand that relative strength is the foundation from which power and speed come from if your talking in the sense of a strength and power programme for running and jumping sports.

In conditioning your Vo2 max or your “aerobic threshold/power” is the underlying foundation for your conditioning programme.  You know all of those people telling you that low intensity cardio or steady state is all a load of nonsense and all you need to do is high intensity interval training, stop listening to those people now.

Fatigue is a real thing and it should be avoided at all costs in your training plan a tired athlete is a shit athlete, a tired lifter is a weak lifter and a tired gym punter is a cross fitter.  Most people can get in the shape they need by living at under 75% of their maximum velocity or under 90% of their maximum heart rate.

If I compete every weekend and spend 60-70 minutes in the “red zone” or over 90% of my maximum heart rate then you better believe I am going to be tired.  Throwing an extra two HIIT sessions a week into my schedule is not going to alleviate the problem.  Two 30 minute session at 70-80% of my maximum heart rate however can increase my recovery and will slowly build up my base fitness.

If you are in horrific shape and need to lose weight high heart rate training is a good way to get a lot of bang for your buck.  If you are a highly tuned race car designed to perform optimally on race day, ragging the shit out of the engine three days before the race is a terrible idea.

For lifters there is no excuse for having a poor GPP base other than being lazy.  All it takes is 2-3 sessions a week for 30 minutes it will increase your recovery between sessions and sets also it will help you to be less of a lard ass.  If your a strongman you need to do conditioning.


8 – Collaboration is your most important skill

I have the skills here, the degrees and all the knowledge it’s my programme do as I say and you will get better.  Said the worst strength and conditioning coach of all time.  I used to be of the opinion that my opinion was the best opinion. 

That my friends is a one way ticket to being a mediocre trainer if you are really good, if your not really good it’s a good way to lose your athletes/clients attention or buy in.   Moulding someone who doesn’t share your specific training goals into your image can be a very bad thing.

As a powerlifting coach that sort of attitude gets me pretty good results because I am a powerlifter coaching powerlifters.  As a strength and conditioning coach it is a horrific attitude.  Your athletes are the ones in the trenches as it where competing and doing the thing you are trying to get them better at why in the hell would you not listen to them?

The soccer player who doesn’t want to squat isn’t a pussy (well maybe they are since they play soccer) he is a multimillion pound soccer playing machine.  Who gives a flying fuck what he squats if that lad doesn’t produce the goods he is going to get slaughtered in the press and could well do himself out of millions of pounds in income from failure to sign a new contract or an extension.

Professional athletes aren’t there to produce numbers on a spreadsheet they are there to win medals and win games.  Now increased physical ability is going to help get them there, that is for damn sure.

If you would only talk to the person you are programming for and together develop a programme that meets his or her physical needs while allowing them to perform at the peak of their ability when it matters, know your talking about a great physical preparation programme!

A spreadsheet can spit out a programme to get someone stronger it takes a coach to make the programme fit the person and the sport, the better the coach the better the sports programme.

The people you work with are of massive importance the head coach, assistant/lead coach, physio and even the cleaner.  They all have an influence on your ability to deliver a great programme get to know them, learn how to work with them and to get the best our of them.  If you can work productively with those around you and have fun then you are going to be miles ahead of most programmes.

Go in thinking you know best or that you need to mould them into your opinion and you could be in for a torrent time.  Your own subjective reality is not reality it is your interpretation.  The best way to get a coherent and unified approach is to work closely with those around you.  Never agree on any solution unless it is win win.

You aren’t looking for a “compromise” also known as a shit version of what everyone wants, you need to work out how can everyone involved get what they want from the situation.  If you can work that out you are going to be hot shit.


Leave a Reply