WALK THE WALK
Updated: May 22
This blog is meant for the coaches out there but first allow me to ask a question to all the clients out there, be it existing or prospective. Would you engage a one-dimensional coach? One who only knows one training modality? One who only knows one diet? You may not care at first because whatever he knows may work on you but this cruel universe will throw something eventually and that thing is called plateau. When plateau hits, nothing in the world can save you from non-progress other than changing things up and when your beloved coach only knows one thing, how now, brown cow?
So coaches, here’s what you need to do. EXPERIMENT. Experiment everything under the sun. Don’t be narrow minded. Some coaches are so adamant that what works for them will work for their clients that they never bother trying anything else. Granted some modalities are silly but that doesn’t mean it will not work on your clients.
So rather than teaching what you need to do, I will just write on what I have done with myself. Bear in mind, this process will never stop as there will always be new things popping up in the industry or many more things that have probably hibernated and will one day rise up like Jesus Christ. I for one am still experimenting and will not stop experimenting for as long as there is still something to experiment with.
Like so many out there who started training in the late 80s, I was exposed to bodybuilding early on. Magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Flex and Musclemag dominate the shelves and for those who can afford, will buy them. Otherwise you’ll just read them for free at the shop like yours truly. Images of bodybuilders grazed the magazines and act as a motivation to us scrawny and chubby kids alike. If you’re resourceful enough then you’ll bring a pen and paper to copy down the workouts given. I mean, who doesn’t want to get massive guns in 6 weeks or a hard rock abs in 2 weeks, right? So for the next 15 years or so, that’s all I was on.
Then in 2012, my fitness world said hello to Crossfit. And as controversial as Crossfit is, it did one thing for me and probably to many others as well. It opened up our world to something other than curls and raises. It taught us that we have to be good at gymnastics, powerlifting and the most technical of all, Olympic lifting. These modalities are extensive in their own right. So imagine having to be good at all of them simply to be good at one thing, the beast known as Crossfit. Thus I do not argue when the pinnacle of Crossfit competitions, the Crossfit Games, crown their champions, Fittest on Earth.
But how about other modalities like the low intensity modalities such as yoga and pilates or the newer kinds like pole dancing or barre fitness? Or these studio cardio classes like spinning, cardio boxing, rowing and HIIT circuits? Training in martial arts or just combining all of them and calling yourself a mixed martial artist? We, as coaches, need to be exposed to them to know what works and what don’t. Not just theoretically but practically. There are some in that list which I haven’t tried and I will soon. I don’t have to devote three months of my life doing it. For instance, I tried one spinning class and one cardio boxing class to now be able to pass judgement on them. Will I suggest them to my clients? Hell, yeah. It’s nice to mix it up sometimes.
As for nutrition, there are thousands of diets out there and if you think finding which training modality works for a client is tough, imagine how it would be for a diet. In order to give a sound advice on diets, a coach should have at least tried some of them for a considerable amount of time to ascertain the feasibility, practicality and sensibility of them.
Personally I did the ketogenic diet for about 3 months at the beginning of 2017 and as much as it worked in terms of body recomposition, it was expensive and difficult to adhere especially when Malaysian cuisine are very carb-centric (is that even a word?). So I chose to organise my diet by subscribing to a template which will tell me what to eat, how much and when. Say hello to Renaissance Periodization diet. And thus far is probably the best one to practice as it endorses a balanced diet. I still subscribe to it although I’m on the app now rather than an Excel sheet. Then at the end of 2017, I learnt about intermittent fasting so I decided to suspend the RP diet momentarily and try this IF thing. It was tough at first but eventually you get the hang of it. What I mean by that is you get used to ignoring the hunger pangs. I also tried the Slow Carb diet briefly but I felt it was exhausting trying to figure out which carb is ok and which isn’t. Most recently, because of the Gamechanger phenomenon, I went vegan for 2 months. I have no doubt this diet works on so many levels but I didn’t enjoy it. Plus I gained weight during it because of the volume of carbs I had to eat to get sufficient protein. And now, I’ve gone to the other extreme by going carnivore for the next two months. So far it has been surprisingly easy and the satiety level compared to the vegan diet is so much better. Let’s hope it remains that way for the next 7 weeks.
So you see here, what’s best is to not just know about the training or diets theoretically but practically. It’s not just talking the talk but actually have walked the walk. Coaches need to sacrifice their own personal goals for the future good of their clients.
Till next time, persevere and stay determined.