Building sustainable training into members’ mindset

All too often we see new fad diets, new fad training methodologies and false promises of abs in 10minutes.  Non-evidence based diets and programmes are everywhere in today’s media and it’s not only confusing but can prove dangerous if you don’t research the evidence and make sure that the claimed benefits can apply to you.

The simple answer to success is slow and steady…. I can’t think of any quick fix solutions to weight loss and strength/fitness gains that are sustainable and show long term improvement to both your physical appearance and most importantly your health.  Social media plays a huge role in spreading these false promises, with the overnight instafamous being paid to plug products  and routines that they have never heard of, and often without any sound scientific evidence for their health benefits.

I recently listened to a Shrugged Collective podcast with James FitzGerald, the owner and founder of Opex,  a company aimed at improving the knowledge of coaches and the application of their training methods . James was the first CrossFit Games champion back in 2007 and whilst he appears to represent many of the traits of a CrossFit programme, his training message  is very different. One of the things that really stuck with me was when asked what he is training for, his answer was to be able to squat down to a chair when he is 90 years old.

This statement resonated with me as over the years my view on training has developed.  Let’s use a different analogy; You buy  a car, , and from day one you red line it  absolutely everywhere, you still get it serviced and keep it in tip top condition, but you thrash it as much as you can. Now lets call every tyre and brake change a minor injury, and every engine fault a major injury; you’re starting to see the point.

In my view, the key to long term sustainable health and fitness is a training programme that balances the following factors (not necessarily in order);

  • Strength
  • Muscular development
  • Cardiovascular Fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Rest

Sounds like CrossFit right??? Well yes and no. CrossFit has two aspects to it; there’s CrossFit the training tool that promotes a well-rounded level of fitness as well as good nutritional practice, and then there is CrossFit the sport,  which promotes many of the same elements but at an elite level in a competitive environment.

People can be far too quick to get into the sport element of CrossFit before building up an appropriate level of fitness and tolerance  through sustained, sensible training.

As a bit of background,  I played Rugby for many years and I trained hard to be the best player I could be. I accepted the risks; that injuries would be inevitable and that I had a limited shelf life. Unfortunately for me my anticipated shelf life was more that of the fresh fruit and veg section and not that of the tinned foods isle. In part I put this down to my training volume; by that I mean impact based training, like running, changing direction along with all the contact that goes with the sport.  My body was trying to function at 100% all the time and the inevitable injuries came knocking , broken wrist, torn hamstring, cracked sternum and the one that ended any chance of a Rugby career, a double fracture to my Coccyx. Today, things have changed; yes I train hard, I have days when I go 100%, but I also have days where I ‘tick the box’ so to speak, and days when I don’t train at all.

At The Athlete Centre  we programme accordingly; some days you will finish a session feeling like you have given absolutely everything, whilst other days you will feel like you have more in the tank – and that’s fine, our aim is not to shatter you every day.

I’m going to finish with my 5 points to sustainable health and fitness:

  1. Empty the tank twice per week
  2. Improve your movement
  3. Eat healthy/balanced 80% of the time
  4. Enjoy your training
  5. Rest accordingly – get out of the gym and stay active

Good luck with your training –  and remember –  you don’t need to leave the gym on your hands and knees every session to improve.

James Shields

Founder of TAC

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