Basics: Get Some
As you might surmise, as a strength and conditioning coach (and personal trainer), I’m a huge fan of teaching people the basics. Really, though, when you think about it, the basics are a great place to start when learning just about anything.
A common theme is that you need to learn how to walk before you can run. This makes perfect sense and it’s something that everyone can vouch for because, well, we’ve all done it. Likewise, when learning to ride a bike, the general progression is to slap on a pair of training wheels, and once you’re comfortable with that, you take them off, fall a few hundred times, and before long you’re jumping puddles like a champ.
I could sit here and come up with a dozen scenarios: learning a new language, how to hit a baseball 400 feet, how to make a meatloaf that doesn’t taste like death, building an atomic bomb, or even learning how to unclasp your first bra (which, as a dude, is arguably the hardest thing ever…..DAMMIT, it won’t come off!!! Ahhhhhhhh!!!)
The point is: whether it’s something as trivial as learning your multiplication tables or something as complex as figuring out which fork you’re supposed to use to eat your salad at a fancy restaurant, you have to start somewhere. You have to learn the basics first. You have to learn to walk before you can run.
The thing is, when it comes to our health and well-being, most people don’t want to learn how to walk. They want to sprint on day one.
Take for example a recent email I received from a new distance coaching client of mine asking me about intermittent fasting (IF).
Back tracking a little bit: this is a client who’s admittedly told me that he eats like sh*t, and that he’s tried just about every diet out there with little to no results to show for it. H
Given the high popularity of IF at the moment, he was curious. Now, I have nothing against intermittent fasting – it’s something I’ve experimented with myself and there’s obviously a lot of sound science and research backing its efficacy.
But, again, it’s analogous to sprinting. My man is CRUSHING Pop-Tarts every afternoon as a snack. Looking at this from my perspective, he’s not even walking yet….he’s still learning how to crawl. Why the hell are we even talking about intermittent fasting?
I understand that we live in a “I want it NOW” society, and that we’re obsessed with quick fixes…but why is it so hard for people to step away from the stupid?
In light of this, and despite the groaning, I’m taking a “learn the basics” approach with him. I’m demonstrating to him that drinking more water is kind of important, and that it’s okay to eat the yolk of an egg. In addition, he’s learning to make protein shakes with fruit as an afternoon snack (in place of the Pop-Tarts), and that kale is the shiznit.
Equally as important, with his training, we’ve had to take a step (or two) back. We’ve had to overhaul his squatting pattern, teach him how to perform a push-up correctly, and we’ve also introduced him to the wonderful world of foam rolling. He hates it, of course, but whatever….he needs to learn the basics.
It’s not sexy by any means, and it’s certainly not exciting. But, stroking my ego a little bit, I can almost guarantee that he’s going to see marked progress in the upcoming weeks and months.
Start with the basics. Master them. And good things will happen.