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In a saturated industry, severely lacking of much original thinking, but more so, even the questioning of ideas is rare. It’s an industry where not only the general population, but coaches as well, are following the advice from the person on social media with the most followers. The person holding ‘authority’ in the space. Yet this person is not the most educated, or even most experienced, but the person who is intelligent enough to capitalise on their athletic build (some this may be good genetics but most have worked hard for this so take no credit away), good understanding of marketing, social proof, camera angles, consumer psychology, and often the ability to do really cool, eye catching circus stuff.

My thoughts on these coaches, they are great for motivation/inspiration but not for too much else.

The flipside of the coin, is the performance/athlete coaches. In this industry, everyone wants to train athletes. If I had $10 for every time I have had a coach tell me how sick and tired they are of training ‘ordinary people’ (not my words) I would be a very wealthy man!

Coaches have this obsession with training athletes, and by athletes, I mean professional ‘full time’ athletes (football, rugby, soccer, mma, netball, etc). This makes sense from a coaching standpoint. Coaching athletes is easier in the sense that most athletes will do exactly what you say, they will be on time or early, never miss a training session, train with no complaints, track everything you ask – nutrition, sleep, steps, why? They are extrinsically motivated; they will do whatever it takes to win. (Extrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards such as money, fame, grades, and praise. This type of motivation arises from outside the individual, as opposed to intrinsic motivation, which originates inside of the individual.) On top of this, athlete programming can appear to be quite fun. Plyometric work, sprints, grueling conditioning routines. Social media will often show coaches working with professional athletes doing all kinds of crazy/impressive athlete feats.

This trickles down to a coach (generally much less educated) programming box jumps and sprints for Jessica - Mother of 2 - 12 weeks’ post-partum. Garry – 45 years old, with stage 2 hypertension (Very high blood Pressure) doing a tabata set on his 3rd training session. Or the coach who saw that social media fitness guru’s 12 week challenge, prescribing 1200 calories per day and training 5x HIIT sessions per week, who then prescribes the same to every client they train.

Now, the point of this post, isn’t to bash anyone or shame coaches – everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available. My goal, is to give understanding that social media is not the place you should be searching for health and fitness information. Heck, I’ve seen doctors and dieticians (who should be the authority) prescribing terrible advice on 60 minutes. There are many snake oil salesmen out there, this makes finding the right information on social media, or even via a google search like finding a needle in a haystack for trainers, let alone the client with no understanding of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, or programing. Put it this way, it has taken me roughly 10 years’ continual education, seeking out and learning from the best in the industry, sifting through the bullshit to know what works for the everyday person, the crazy thing is, there are many, many levels to this and I’m still going.

So, what works?

The frustrating response is – it depends. There are many factors that as a coach, me and my team take on board, we don’t prescribe cookie cutter programs because this is so individual.

  • Age.

  • Training age / experience.

  • Gender.

  • Diet.

  • Sleep.

  • Lifestyle stress (away from training).

  • Goals.

All of the factors listed above are taken into consideration, then we aim to keep things as simple as possible simple:

Compliance - Adherence – Consistency

Sometimes, the best practices shown to produce the best results don’t always work for the individual. This is why we need to take a very individual and personal approach to training. Keep the friction low, work on the simple stuff rather than BIG/SCARY changes.

What is optimal for training?

  • Training consistency – Minimum of 3x per week 45-60 minute training sessions (mixture of resistant and aerobic training)

  • Having a coach who understands how to do a movement screening, will help set the foundations. Programming movements/exercises that work for you and will provide training safety and longevity is incredibly important.

  • Most people will benefit greatly from doing a solid 3-6 week block of aerobic exercise when they first commence a training regime. 2-3x per week, 30+ minutes of low intensity, cardiovascular exercise maintaining a heart rate of 130-150BPM (Give or take).

  • Enjoyment! This will keep you adhering to training.

  • Pushing to a point of discomfort that will illicit an adaptation. If you don’t stress your body, you’re wasting your time &/or money.

  • General Activity – Don’t train for 40 minutes and then sit on your butt for the rest of the day! Get up and move around often throughout the day.

  • What can we do to help mitigate stress? 20-minute walk ‘outdoors’. You will feel better, sleep better, better mental health, more energy expenditure.

What is optimal for nutrition?

  • Energy Balance (Calories) This involves tracking food in a way that works for you.

-Cronometer / Myfitness pal.

-Writing down in a diary.

-Taking photos.

-Weighing food.

-Precision nutrition model.

(Unless this is taken care of, you will likely not get optimal results)

  • Macronutrient Ratios – Protein #1

Most people under eat protein. Whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle, studies show protein to be the most beneficial macronutrient for body composition change.

  • High carb/low fat or High fat/Low carb?

Know your preference. Do you prefer yogurts, butters, cheeses, are you more of a sweat tooth, or do you like a bit of both? Neither is better or worse, it’s more important to choose foods you can adhere to.

  • Tracking progress.

Regular weight in, measurements, photos. Assessing of goals, strength / fitness. Daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly. Just understand what the path to success looks like. Understand there will be many days when you jump on the scales after what seemed to be the perfect week, yet the numbers aren’t what you want or expected to see. Understanding that there are so many factors that influence the numbers shown on the scales. Such as hormones, mineral intake, inflammation, time of day, time of month and more.


  • Use a method that works best for you to track your food.

  • Make sure you hit your daily protein intake (1.6-2.2g per KG of bodyweight)

  • Do a form of training that you ENJOY. (CrossFit, Martial Arts, Running, Resistance Training – whatever you enjoy and can stick to over a long period of time)

  • General Activity – MOVE often throughout the day. This is where a FITBIT, or activity/step tracking app can come in handy – 7200 steps per day MINIMUM.

  • Mitigate stress – This could be an outdoors walk, punching and kicking things (preferably focus pads or a bag opposed to a wall or person – that might get you in trouble) box breathing drills, meditation, yoga, reading. Really whatever works for you!

  • Environment. Place yourself in an environment that supports you, and your goals.

I think it’s fitting to sign off with my best piece of advice for those struggling out there. Studies have shown, having a coach to hold you accountable, or even training with a friend GREATLY improves compliance, adherence & consistency, which really is everything, even if training is sub-optimal, yet you are still turning up week after week, month after month you will most likely still get some great results.

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