The Best Way to Train - Perspective Article

There are many different training styles in fitness from CrossFit to Bodybuilding to Jane Fonda. The trends of exercise have changed a lot in the past 40 years but the fitness industry has never failed to convince us that there is a new method that is best for fat loss/muscle/skin/night vision/etc. The irony of the word best in the fitness industry is to say we know everything about the science of human physiology and performance. The truth is that we have no idea what best is because the science is always discovering new ways to improve physique and performance. 

Rule #1: Anytime you hear BEST - it's 100% bullsh*t

The new word is optimal. Optimal means most favorable. I want my clients to take the most favorable path because it means they'll reach their goals faster. Optimal is always a path that is sustainable and will lead to progress. 

Compare a 25 year old bodybuilder who is tracking his macros, training five times per week and sleeping 8 hours versus a 30 year old working mom who only has time to eat cheese strings and is lucky if she can train twice per week. If the mom took on the bodybuilders lifestyle, you could bet that she would get some pretty damn good results. However, it would be unlikely that she could keep it up given her difficult schedule. Tracking macros and training 3-5x/wk might be "best" but unrealistic for most- at least in the beginning. The optimal plan for the mom could be starting with home-workouts 2x/wk and introducing more nutritious snacks into her diet- an improvement from her current lifestyle and could fit in her schedule (sustainable). 

If anyone tries to sell you optimal, consider whether you see yourself doing that and whether you'll make progress towards your goal. If it can't meet those two criteria, it is sub-optimal. 

Rule #2: Anytime you hear optimal - it's 50% bullsh*t

One of the funniest things I see is that most people already know what they need to work on before they see me.

Example situation: I lift all the time but can't lose weight, BUT I have binge-like eating habits. You meet me, tell me your nutrition sucks and I tell you okay we're going to work on your nutrition. You say, Damn Anthony, you're a genius! I laugh. 

I would say 50% of my job is providing accountability - weekly check-ins, joining a boot camp, sharing your journey with a community that has the same goal. The other 50% is creating and modifying a game plan that you can stick to and will get you the results you're after.

"A coach who coaches himself has an idiot for a client". What this means is that we often know what's best for ourselves but we don't do it until we know someone is counting on us to. I can remember several occasions staring at my barbell in the squat rack, legs turning jello, motivation level below zero. I hate heavy squats. Just two little sets left and then somehow I convince myself 3 sets is enough and leave. That may not resonate with all of you but I'm sure you can think of a time where you know you should have done something but you didn't. My coach, Jeff Alberts of 3DMJ does all my programming for my bodybuidling goals and it keeps my mind at ease because I know exactly what I need to do at the gym. Trust required. 

Rule #3: You know optimal - Go do it. Do your research, ask questions and seek out experts - 100% sh*tbull

You can apply this simple concept to anything:

Do your squats suck? Learn - ask your physio, a trainer you trust, watch multiple youtube videos, dare I say- read (I recommend Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe) and then go practice good ones.

Want to run 10km? Go do it even if you got to walk the first one.

With whatever goal you are trying to achieve, embrace the struggle of being at the bottom and use it to train hard. Remember that the optimal plan is one you enjoy and can stick to- so if you don't feel like killing yourself going for your goal, you're probably going to succeed in the long-run.

With that being said- What is the first thing you need to work on?