Missing the Forest for the Trees

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Training

Missing the forest for the trees might be a sentence that I use the most with clients. Here is one simple fact that if you can truly come to accept will make a bigger impact on your goals, whatever they may be, than just about anything else. Ready?

You are not as advanced as you think you are.

That is it. You don’t need to be doing a specialized hybrid Russian periodization program with some added dynamic effort work and 3x per week sprint sessions. Trust me. The same goes for nutrition. The last thing you need to worry about is what kind of salsa you are using, I assure you if you haven’t reached your physique goals that your salsa choice has little to do with it. It might be the fact that you slug down 60 grams of unnecessary sugar after you train, or that you eat Special K for breakfast. It is not the salsa, I promise.

Master the basics. If you can do that, and I mean truly do that, you will have the physique and health status to prove it. Eat real food. Eat more protein. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat more healthy fat. Eat less refined carbs. If you can do that CONSISTENTLY, then maybe, just maybe you can start to think about carb timing, macronutrient ratios, carb cycling, cyclical ketogenic, or whatever else it is you just read about on some website. You might find that after mastering the basics, you don’t have to.

Training is the same way. It takes years, and I really do mean years, to truly master the basic movements to the point where you need to worry about anything else. You probably don’t need to be doing max singles, or the innie-outie machine. If you can master the squat, deadlift, pullups, pressing, pulling and lunging you will be far better off than the guy doing 1-leg squats with his eyes closed while standing on an Airex pad, or the woman reading a magazine while doing 100 reps on the adductor/abductor machine. (sorry for the stereotypes, but I did once work in a commercial gym, just making a point)

Dont be this guy

Don't be this guy

When it comes to training though, there is a catch. Most people move horribly and do not even know it. Your posture dictates how well you can do most exercises, so if it sucks, so will your technique. If you can’t even get to neutral spine, if you have locked up hips and upper back mobility, or you lack ankle mobility all of those things could hugely, and negatively, affect your ability to train properly, train hard and train long-term because you will likely get hurt.

Foam rolling and a dynamic mobility warmup go a long way to help improve posture, mobility and flexibility. We employ both with all of our clients before they even begin to train. After the evaluation it is the first thing our clients learn about at CP. It is that important. However it can not possibly cover every person’s unique postural and mobility deficits.

Fortunately for you Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Bill Hartman have joined forces and created a new DVD (and manual) to help you identify and fix your postural, mobility, and flexibility issues. Assess & Correct is one of the best products that I have come across in the fitness industry. It was created by three of the smartest guys in the field at assessment and corrective exercise. It is chock full of user-friendly and top-notch info and strategies that we utilize at CP and Bill and Mike use at IFAST to efficiently and effectively get clients healthier and more fit. With video demonstrations and written descriptions of every exercise it doesn’t leave you guessing on proper technique and execution. The most amazing part of Assess & Correct is that once you complete the assessment portion it helps direct you to the exercises you will personally need to do to fix your problems, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. So if you are interested in getting better posture and staying health, check it out HERE.

In conclusion, realize that mastering the basics is the name of the game, and you are never too advanced to pull back and work on the fundamentals: Make better food choices, master the basic lifts, eat more fruits and vegetables, fix your posture, and do not worry about what salsa you are eating as I promise it is not making a significant impact on your goals.

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Posted on November 12th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

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