Physiology has a lot to do with the way we train, eat, perform and generally look. What I’m seeing a lot of right now is a lot of blanket prescription from so called ‘experts’ and people generally within the industry.
By gloriously proclaiming that its ‘ok’ to eat a particularly food group in large quantities or explaining the specific way we should all be training then basking in the rapturous applause you get from your brethren is something frankly I could do on a daily basis.
You see, in this industry it’s very easy with the invention of the Internet and mass marketing to make a name for yourself. There are a plethora of fat loss experts across the nation and celebrity trainers who will happily make you aware of that fact. Hell, I even did a business consult with a chap who became a ‘strength coach/educator’ overnight after it and still has a logo uncannily like mine. I know for a fact he knows nothing about strength training and when I also politely asked him to change his logo he chose to ignore my polite request. I therefore feel I’m perfectly within my rights to mention him. I won’t name him as thats not my style but I know he’ll read this.
A couple of notable ‘expert’ quotes for you to consider and their social following statistics. When I say ‘system’ I mean their blanket prescriptive method they’ve chosen to bestow upon the population. This is more than likely their solution to world peace and a growing bank account alongside it.
“Women should never lift more than 2.5kg”
Twitter 48,001 followers FB 62,800 ‘system’ likes
“If you chew your food less you will absorb less calories.”
Twitter 6157 followers FB 19,444 personal likes FB 40,127 ‘system’ likes.
You understand the power of this if you go on any of these pages and question these statements…dare you…you’ll get destroyed by thousands of keyboard warriors, even possibly death threats for defying their ‘religion’.
I choose to the best of my ability not to make any of these statements, as the way I see it it’s an abuse of power. When I teach my courses I am in a position where I could pull a statistic quite frankly out of my arse and get 60-100 trainers then quoting that for the next 5 years. I don’t and that is why when I speak to trainers in educational seminars I actively encourage questions and if someone disagrees its cool. Why? Because lo and behold I’m human and I could well be wrong, miss-read something or quite simply miss-understood something.
A lot of what I’m talking about takes me back to my very early weight training days and due to a multitude of factors the way I used to plan my training. At the tender age of 14 when I started picking up weights pretty much the only resource I had was literature I would find strewn across the gym reception or the occasional magazine I would blow my pocket money on. Not to show my age but the Internet wasn’t really available when I was that age sadly.
Much like when I hear ‘oh I don’t want to get too big’ or ‘not too lean’ I would look at these guys and think, I would like to look like that and therefore did the routines that they had published in Flex mag, Ironman, muscle and fitness or whatever it may have been. They looked like I wanted to look so therefore must know what they’re doing. NOT always the case.
The problem unbeknown to me, or the fact I was oblivious/ignorant to it was:
A) These guys has been in the trenches and lifted for a LONG time.
B) A large number of them are at the top of the genetic tree, being riddled with good muscle bellies, small joints, appropriate muscle insertions for the sport and good fiber types. This is NO excuse btw it just means certain people will never grace the stage of the Mr Olympia.
C) Many would be using hormonal assistance.
They say a picture never lies but they can certainly be misleading. Many of these guys would only look like this for the shoot or a few days, many are shorter than you may think so look a LOT bigger than they may in the flesh. So many factors I never considered but I would still pick up the mag and do Lee Priests or whoever’s workout it may have been.
There are a tonne of factors when considering training prescription, supplements and also nutrition. Just because I’m a powerlifter, eat a low carb diet for the most part and use barley starch as my chosen post workout carb DOES NOT mean that my clients will do this, it does not mean this is what I would suggest to people and it DOES NOT mean I personally will always do this. This makes me VERY narrow-minded and to be honest VERY stupid.
When people ask me ‘what I do’ that is why sometimes there is a little hesitancy as depending on who is in front of me and why they’re asking will often depend on my answer.
The human body is ever evolving, assuming we’re doing things right it will be positively doing so. As it does this certain things change therefore training, nutrition and supplements will also change. There are elements that may never change and that is what I like to call ‘base physiology’ this, if we’re talking science is your control and the rest your variable.
What happens typically to carbohydrate metabolism and tolerance, as someone gets leaner? I’m not going to answer that but if your trainer who is 8% body fat and an ectomorph is continuously telling you at 20% body fat with poor digestion, the physiological characteristics of an endomorph and a history of insulin resistance that carbs are ‘fine’ for you. The answer to quote a good teacher of mine ‘Depends’.
Answer me this:
Is an overweight person with insulin resistance going to applaud when you tell them carbs are fine to eat? Damn right they are, I would love someone to tell me I can eat a bunch of carbs and get leaner. Fact of the matter is I can’t.
NB: ‘I’ can’t doesn’t mean other people can’t.
Anyone who read my article on systems failure will understand why a system will not work. If I was to blanket prescribe what I personally do to all of my clients my success rate would be ‘ok”. Wouldn’t be great but I bet a decent amount of them would respond pretty well. I could document those cases and sell myself around those ‘success’ stories and testimonials. I am lucky enough to have a reasonable size following on social networks so have a decent amount of Internet power. Recently after a question posted by someone a few people commented that I was one of the best trainers around, obviously HUGELY flattered but a large amount of them have never trained with me…you see how in some ways that worries me about the industry.
Fig 1. NOT me by the way.
If I chose too I could write a book, sell a supplement or food range, create a dietary system based around my teachings and beliefs. The problem in doing so is I then fail to understand and comprehend human physiology and its ever-evolving needs. I’ll make a lot of money potentially? Given the right funding and support anyone on this planet could profit from people desperation to lose weight. It genuinely isn’t rocket science and people do it and have done it for decades. Could I make more money than I do? Of course, could I sleep at night? I doubt.
I give a crap about this industry, my clients and the people in the industry with me. This is why I take great satisfaction in teaching trainers and coaches. I DO NOT have the goal of a bunch of mini me’s preaching what I say. My goal is for a network of trainers with independent thought processes that together can resolve, find solutions and ultimately make what we have better. There is only so much one person can read, fully understand or specialize in right?
In order to do this we must have open minds and be prepared to listen, change and evolve our thinking.
To pull one of my responses to a recent discussion:
“Education is about the willingness to listen and sometimes understand that despite the thought you may have all the information you never do. To dismiss something is the most idiotic thing anyone can do alongside making a blanket statement as to what is ‘best’ for the human body. Anyone claims they have the solution or make a physiological statement pertaining to ‘the human’ has NO idea about human physiology am sorry. Let alone claiming they know ANYTHING about changing it. I will quite happily put my hand up and say I’m wrong and also always say when something is my opinion. Anyone who knows me, has been taught by me, heard me speak or read any of my articles I hope will know that”.
Keep learning people and don’t be a smart-ass who has all of the answers. You don’t have them, no one does and generally when you may think have just grasped it you pick up something new that causes you to question it.