Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Creation Of All Out Effort

I have always been a fitness nerd. Actually let me rephrase that, I have always been a nerd. Ever since I started martial arts at age 6 I always wanted to find a way to be quicker and faster than my opponents.

This lead me into a path of training with collegiate level, national level, and world level athletes. But all the training I learned, I never thought of it as a career, more of a passion. I was under the impression your career and your passion were two different things.

I graduated from UC Irvine with Suma Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa and went into the world of financial advising, and eventually transitioned into home loans for a large bank. You ever see the movie Mary Poppins? Remember the dad? He was supposed to have the stuffiest job in the world, know what it was? He worked at the bank looking at loans all day. One day I had had enough, and quit. I told my boss I was leaving to take a road trip, they asked where? I told them I didn't know. They thought I was having some kind of life crisis.

So for months I lived out of my car driving aimlessly around the US like in Jack Kerouac's book On The Road. But what I learned from the road was, America was truly a large country. I mean its citizens were large.

I decided then, I would be a part of the revolution to change all that. It didn't make any sense to me.

How could the country with the world's greatest athletes ALSO be the fattest country in the world?

They say money doesn't trickle down from the elite to the regular masses, well hell training science doesn't trickle down from the elite to the regular masses. From get rich quick schemes to get fit quick schemes, America was getting its information from late night infomercials and TV shows. Not from the real elite who are really doing it. That type of elitism didn't sit well with me.

So I decided to become a trainer, no more than a trainer, a coach (because that's what athlete's have) but instead of training athletes I would train the regular masses with the techniques that professional athletes use. Instead of raging against the machine, I wanted to TRAIN AGAINST THE MACHINE. Go against what everyone else was doing.

Athletes train in a way where they slowly get better than eventually PEAK before their event. Regular people get trained in a way to get a lot of results early then plateau right away or lose their results. It's completely backwards.

So how do I create a system to address all these problems? How do I create something different?

Mindset - We have to change how people think. Luckily regular people don't have the egos of professional athletes (and if they do I'd rather not train them). The difference between you reading this blog and a person who competes at the highest level in anything isn't genetics, it's mindset. The athlete has been coached from a very young age to see nothing as a barrier, everything is just a hurdle that can be overcome. If you ever read Outliers, Talent Code, Talent Is Overrated, Bounce, or many other books like these, the professional athlete got to 20,000 hours or more in their respective sport whereas most people stopped at 500 hours.

Most people have never been coached and if they have, it's been a long time and coaching is something they never expect to get from a trainer. Otherwise we would be called personal coaches, or fitness coaches, or strength coaches, not personal trainers. Even life coaches are called coaches, when coaching began with physical education! Most people don't even know how to be coached. This is where then we have to begin, focus on the mindset and thinking like an athlete.

Motivation - Some people hate exercising. They will only do it if its fun or someone makes it fun. So let's add music, let's take classes, lets buy a DVD where they keep changing it up randomly! Athletes don't train randomly, they don't accidentally get in shape. It's carefully choreographed. They don't train because its fun. If they did they would only train on days they were in the mood or days it was fun. But they train day in and out and they are still motivated. Why? You only hate exercising or lack motivation if exercising or whatever activity you are doing for that matter doesn't mean anything to you.

Let me repeat that, you only hate it because it doesn't mean anything to you. But if it means something, if practicing your sport, exercising, playing the guitar provides your life with meaning, or it means more money, or a future for your family, a way out of poverty, it defines you as a person, or it somehow positively affects every aspect of your life, how can you hate that? But most people exercise mindlessly, need to be told what to do, need to be distracted, need to watch TV or listen to music while you do it. Yes athletes get burned out or begin to hate their sport. But why? It's when it doesn't mean anything to them any more. It's when they question "why am I doing this? what's the point?" Maybe it never meant anything to them. And THAT'S THE WHOLE PROBLEM.

Most people exercise when it doesn't mean anything! No wonder people never workout or get a gym membership and never go! So exercise needs to be connected to a deeper meaning. This is why you need to write a mission statement stating why this is important to them, whether its self confidence, feeling more powerful or worthy, or maybe some even deeper meaning based on your past. And post it on your fridge, on your phone, on your forehead, just never forget it. Every workout will mean that! Every workout should and will MEAN something. Otherwise you will fail. That's the truth. You know your friends who you call the workout freak? Even though they never stated it, doesn't it seem like their workouts mean something greater to them? That's the key.

Comfort Zones - It's unfortunate but change happens whenever you're not comfortable. If you only like the things you are comfortable with, why even attempt to change? Change is all the unknown stuff you've been avoiding. Our greatest strength is our ability to adapt. It's not survival of the fittest, we thrived because we are the most efficient at adapting. If you only like cardio or running, and your familiar with that, and asked someone to focus a workout program on what you already like, your asking them to give you what you know and produce something different with it. That makes no sense. An athlete would never ask their coach to train them in all the stuff they are comfortable with, then nothing changes. All they ask of their coach is to make them better than they already are. How can you change doing more of the same things you've already done? You have to train your weaknesses. So if you only like huffing and puffing and cardio, maybe just working on balance feels like a waste of your time. Well that's change my friend. Adapt. Step into the unknown and get comfortable there. The only zone you should focus on is The Zone, the one Michael Jordan talks about where you are performing in athletic overdrive.

Periodization and Programming - Athletes train in phases. Each phase builds on the last until you are at your peak level as a human being. Most people train the same things every day, or do something random every time they work out. Or their phases instead of being stability, or muscle endurance, or hypertrophy, its just called phase 1, 2, 3, or cardio phase, fat burning phase, summer body phase. And they get results early and plateau or lose all their gains after that. That's the opposite of peaking, that's the opposite of periodization and that's the thing missing from all non-athlete training programs. No programming, no periodization. Typically I'm sorry to say it's either random or stupid or poorly designed. There's a reason why professional strength coaches will design a program for someone, not even train them, just write it down and sell it to someone for thousands of dollars. It's that IMPORTANT. That's why you can't just hire any random Joe Trainer to train you properly. It's not just about proper form, can they design a plan? Maybe the trainer is good as in they are engaging, but is the program good as well? It better be.

Strength and Length - A little known fact about muscles. You CANNOT make more muscles than you already have. You can only grow or shrink the muscle fibers you already have. Whether you go up to 200lbs or down to 150lbs body weight, you still have the same amount of muscles and muscle fiber, they are just different sizes. Because of this, when muscles grow bigger, their is limited space, this creates tightness which can lead to injury or poor performance, and worst of all it can make you look bulky or blocky.

That fear of looking bulky and blocky has made some avoid all weight and resistance training at all when they work out.

The other problem is, when you avoid creating bigger muscles with resistance training, you have no good way of burning fat. Actually without muscle mass, there is NO good way of burning fat.

Unless you are expecting fat to burn fat. So there is the paradigm. It's why a lot of women avoid weights and only run or do yoga or pilates. The key is to lengthen and strengthen. If you can make bigger muscles, you can also make longer muscles. We focus on flexibility and length, then we focus on strength. It gives not only a more athletic and injury resistant body, it makes for a lot better looking body as well.

Diet - Calorie counting doesn't work. It doesn't. We need to eat the way we were designed to eat. There needs to be a comprehensive discussion about how you should be eating and how it can be done sustainably. None of this will work without the diet component.

Safety - You ultimately have to make it safe. Not only deal with current injuries but also prevent future ones. This is done through corrective exercise and prehabilitation. You can't be fit unless you are also resistant to injury. If you look good but are always hurting, you aren't fit. You're broken.

This is the humble beginnings of All Out Effort. It started with an idea and since then it's taken off. It's not for everyone. But for the ones who this is for, this is everything.

There is a more personal reason as well to why we are so unique.

- Coach Sam

Read Part 2
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