Many of the best and most effective trainers and coaches take very different paths to make their trainees successful. Which makes us wonder what they all have in common since their approaches can vary so greatly.
Take a deeper look and you’ll notice they focus their attention on two things…
The Big Picture and The Details
The philosophy each has pertaining to exercise is what guides their decisions about how to piece together all the exercise variables.
For me the big picture is all about managing and manipulating training demands to stimulate muscle growth and strength at each stage of a person’s life. That means understanding how exercise fits within the schema of every other stress and activity a person is faced with and how to navigate the waters to help them reach their goals.
The philosophy that guides all my exercise decisions is that exercise should be prescribed in the least amount necessary to get the best or desired result.
What constitutes “the least amount” will depend on the goals, needs, current condition and tolerance to exercise stress of the individual. It’s for these reasons I don’t adhere to one specific training method.
The details are things like lifting tempo, time under tension, reps, sets, frequency, load, muscle targeting, mental focus and intensity of effort.
Always Start with the Big Picture in Mind
Many weight training programs will work to a degree. Whether or not you get the result you’re looking for depends on whether it was the right program at that time.
Whenever we dig into the latest research or read an article from our favorite fitness expert we can’t help but romanticize about the details. How many reps did the subjects perform? What percent of 1RM was used for each set? How frequently did they train? Etc.
All of that is useful information, but it’s useless without proper context. You can’t simply throw shit together and hope it works, you should…
Plan the Details
One guy whose stuff I like to read and watch is Nick Nilsson. Nick is called “The Mad Scientist of Muscle” and for good reason.
I was asked to write the forward for his book Muscle Explosion a few years back and the one thing I noted is that even though his training programs look bat shit crazy (and I mean that in a complimentary way), he is very calculated in his approach. He sees the big picture and then goes nuts mapping out the details.
I’m not sure I could ever be as creative as Nick; I don’t think 99% of us could be. But I don’t think you necessarily need to be in order to have greater success.
You just need to see the big picture, stick with a philosophy and then make sure the details are aligned with it.
Avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome
If you’re not getting the result you want, reexamine the details and your application of them or adopt a new philosophy. Don’t jump on every new program or abandon what’s worked for each compelling piece of new information. Not without planning for it so you can determine its true worth and relevance to the big picture.
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