As I’m feeling in a particularly ranty mood this morning, let me explain THE most annoying things that coaches, players and other athletes ask me about strength and conditioning training and diet.
I’m also gonna cheat a bit and include stupid statements that I’ve heard people make!
Most of these people will not even change their own opinions and beliefs in the first place. It takes a strong person to have an open mind, look at themselves and say, ‘wow, I guess I have been doing that wrong, I will take your advice and change immediately’. How often do you hear that? Almost never.
Of course a coach should be cynical of new unproven ideas and stick to his/her principles, but every now and then it doesn’t hurt to have a good look at yourself and change something for the BETTER.
Let’s take a look at the most annoying questions/statements made about training and diet:
- We’ll train with you in the off-season….and then do road running to maintain fitness.
Yep, a coach actually said this to me. Sadly, if you think jogging a few miles 2-3 times a week will maintain your team’s strength, power and lung capacity built by training with sleds, powerlifts, strongman tools and interval training you are sorely mistaken.
Distance running actually decreases strength and power if done too often and especially if done with zero strength training. This is very bad.
- We gotta load up on Jelly Babies before the game! Don’t we?
Let me give you the short answer, NO. Simple sugars, contained in sweets and all sports drinks, will cause your blood sugar to rise. This is good if you have already started exercising. Start sipping sports drinks and eating sweets >20mins into a workout/competition and you could get some benefits. I don’t mind that.
If you’re still sat on your arse in the changing room then the body doesn’t know what’s about to happen, it will do what it always does and try to get blood sugar back to normal.
Blood sugar will be rebalanced by the release of the hormone insulin, but insulin will immediately cause blood sugar to drop below normal levels before rebalancing itself to a base level. This is called a sugar low, and eating loads of sugar is a great way to feel sleepy and lethargic. Why the hell would you want to feel like that during sport?!
- We have just got an insider to photocopy the strength and conditioning program of my favourite premiership team, we are gonna follow it and get huge and strong!
You might, but you’re training an under 14s team who haven’t lifted weights in their entire life, it’s probably not a good idea to jump straight to an elite strength and conditioning program.
If you were the conductor of an orchestra and no one had played their instruments before, let alone read a classical piece of music, would you begin on day ONE by giving everyone a copy of Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony in E minor? What do you think it would sound like? How would your orchestra feel?
Probably, they’d feel like a bunch of tone-deaf failures. But of course, you wouldn’t start here; you’d run through the basics and build up over several YEARS until attempting a complicated and highly elite task.
So start on press-ups, squats, sprints and walking lunges and make sure everyone can move like a human being. Get the fat ones to eat better and lose weight, get the weaker ones to do more strength work with the team. Create a happy, fun and motivating team environment and progress only when the team is ready.
- What supplements should I be taking to get massive?
This question can come from anyone, but only a small minority of people should be asking it. My basic answer is in the form of another question:
Is your diet perfect?
If not, then work on getting your nutrition dialled in. Make sure that you are timing carbs, fats and protein as and when they are needed whilst eating a wide variety of food. Sleep 8-10 hours a night and eat ZERO junk food.
Then take fish oil.
If you have any intelligent questions ;) then just drop them below and I'll get back to ya!