By: Adam Campbell, CFL-1
July 7th, 2016
As coaches, we get lots of questions from our awesome community. Things “I want to lean out, what do you think I should do?”, “which is better, high bar or low bar back squat?”, “Adam, will you be the father of my children?” and so on. First and foremost, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we love when folks come up to ask for input on training, nutrition, or future parentage, because this means you trust us enough to ask us. So from the staff to you, keep them coming! Before we go further though, I want to encourage everyone to take one step back and try to answer another, more overarching question: what are you training for? This question is the foundation to success, and one that needs to be answered before moving forward.
First, I want to point out I used the term “training” for a reason. Training implies a goal, sometimes quantifiable (“I want to clean 200lbs”), sometimes general (“I want to slim down a bit”), but in the end there’s a GOAL. I’m sure most of us has a friend who likes to run; usually when asked why he or she is doing it, the response is “training for or “get in shape/stay in shape”. These goals are what fuel their efforts. But, what if when you asked that question and the only response was crickets and a blank stare. How would they know what they are doing is effective, if they have nothing by which to measure their efforts? Beyond that, how would they know their efforts are working at all? That same mentality can be carried here to the gym. In order for us to provide solid answers to your questions and help you achieve your goals, we have to know what those goals are. For example, if someone asked me the question above regarding high bar or low bar squatting, I would ask “What are you training for? Power lifting? Olympic lifting? All around bad-assery?” Once I knew the answer to that, I can provide better feedback as a coach, and get them to where they want to be.
Second, depending on what you’re training for, you may have to let some other things slide in order to really achieve the goal you’re working towards. Want to be an amazing Olympic lifter? You might need to cut back on some of the MetCons, to ensure proper recovery. Trying to lean out? Maybe time to reduce that caloric intake and change up some training days, to really get the results you want. By knowing your goals, this helps us as coaches ensure you’re taking the proper steps to get to where you want to be, and helps you as the client measure progress and success along the way.
Maybe you’re a relatively new passenger on the gain train, and aren’t really sure what your goals are; that’s perfectly fine! Start with those general goals: “I want to put on muscle, lose some fat, and look good naked”. Or, maybe you’ve purchased a house on Jacked Street and want to mix things up a bit (perfectly normal); time to start drilling down a bit: “I want to get better at the Olympic lifts” or “I want to get better at my Press”. Whatever your goals are, we coaches are here to help you achieve them. Strength, speed, power, and aesthetics are some of the common categories goals can fall in; we just need to know which ones yours are in so we can make sure your gain train gets you to the right stop.