Just completed a pretty cool seminar with Training Think Tank.
Max El Hag is the head coach and man behind this organisation.He deals with high level athletes in the sport of fitness,mostly working with program design and energy systems. If you want to learn more just watch this video.He is a really cool guy and getting to know him and his training philosophy was unreal.
As most of you all know,I take my program design quite serious for all my clients.Correct health and fitness advice is now free and widely available if you search at the correct places.I’m sure most of my readers and clients know that any trainer can make you sweat and keep you exercising at this stage but its the good trainers that provide training and can assist you to hit your goal. I have a keen interest in towards CrossFit style training,functional training and generally any other style that i feel fits and works for my client.However i will leave out styles and movements that i feel won’t benefit certain individuals (I don’t see the point or benefit in programming highly technical lifts such as Olympic lifting for some clients i see 2-3 hours a week and their goal is fat loss,strength gain or fitness gain)
The focus of the seminar was how to improve program design and tap into different energy systems for different clients and athletes.It seemed to be that Maxes opinion of group style classes such as CrossFit are only worth while for a certain period of time for a certain individual.Initially i wasn’t too sure about it but looking into it more perhaps he has a point.
CrossFit as a sport is growing every year,the athletes get better,the community is growing and the affiliation number is rising.
So many of us love the sport and its a extremely addictive part of our day when heading to our local box,but my experience as a coach is in order to get better as your sport then its time look at what YOU should really be focusing in on.Dont get me wrong the perfect training model does not need to be paramount for everyone but once your trainer keeps you safe and there is some proper structure in place that is primary.Sure the group model is fine but sometimes you may need to think outside the box.The group model sure is amazing,it brings in great community spirit,your accountable and it provides a competitive environment.Perhaps these reasons are why you got involved in the first place.I know that is one of the main reasons i got involved.The shift is changing at some gyms,I’ve recently visited a couple and they seem to be doing it well.They are programming for different types of individuals and goals and are still maintaining all of the above characteristics of a community driven gym.
3.2.1 GO is always going to be tempting in a group environment.Its a powerful feeling full of nerves and excitement but there is going to be times where you need to focus on the why not the what and perhaps start to question the reason behind what your doing.I now have started to take clients that have gotten fed up or frustrated of the daily group workout and have perhaps finally realised that doing 5 + random group based met cons isnt the way forward for them.They have all gotten excellent results since taking this approach.
Here are some of the standout points that we covered and that stood out for me.They can apply for everyone in my opinion.
- Lay a solid foundation first.Build a good aerobic base,good mobility,basic movement patterns nailed down like squat,hinge,push and pull. Take Rich Froning for example,of course genetically hes a freak but in his early life he was working on his fitness patterns laying a solid foundation,ive recently finished is book and is a great read.
- “Understand the entire elephant”is a term Max used at the start of the seminar and what he meant by it was to recognize what works best for you and work with it. Everything from emotional,confidence,passion,self awareness,internal strength,hormonal optimization,movement quality/functionality,strength,endurance,competition,game-day.Use all these as a check point along your journey.The foundation to health = good sleep, a normal sex drive and balanced emotional health.
- Horses for courses.Just because it works for them doesn’t necessary mean its going to work for you.Just because you hear a athlete is working off a Invictus program or your following Rich Fronings workouts doesn’t mean they will work for you.Speaking of courses it was pretty damn cool to hear Max say most fitness related courses are not worth while and he would rather see more coaches go down the road of interning or mentoring which is a path some of my clients know i have already taken.
- Start to think about your training protocol in order to get better.Whats working?Whats not?Why it is/not?.Find your limiting factor and go work on it,Is it absolute strength?Perhaps its muscular endurance?Not sleeping enough?Mobility is a issue?Nutrition?Your strong but strength endurance is a thing that is setting you back?
- Go from simplicity then into complexity.Like i mentioned above,There is far too many people out there doing olympic lifts but still cant manage getting their own body into a basic air squat.Hammer the basics and get pretty damn good at them then continually get better at them and eventually showing some virtuosity (doing the common,uncommonly well)
- Be realistic with your training,dedicate the correct amount of time needed for that goal.With the sport of fitness growing in Ireland we now have a handful of athletes attempting to crack into regionals/games level standard.This is super to hear but i really hope they realize that this itself is going to be close to a full time job,trust me i had the experience of witnessing it with my friend Colleen Fahey who went on to win at the Games in her category in 2013.The amount of time spent training and working with different coaches is something that was quite impressive,she works hard but trains smart which is a better training philosophy in my opinion.As my mentor Dominic and Max always say though “good health ends when performance starts”.Remember be wary of this if you want to get to that level.
- Listen to your coach and stick with the plan.Be patient its not going to happen overnight,your not going to loose lots of weight in 2 weeks or maybe you will but you certainly wont sustain it.When it comes to strength accept its going to be a long road but a road where you will continually improve once you stick to the plan.
- Specificity will start to matter once you have less and less limiting factors.The better you get and the more ticks you have to your checklist then i recommend you getting specific as possible in order to get better.And this is where i urge for you to source a good coach.Not only strength work will need to be % based but so will % loads in met-cons,recovery times,distances.Basic 5/3/1 strength program is something that Max thought was a good choice for most people starting off.
Overall it was a great seminar,was nice to be surrounded by other likeminded coaches from Ireland and abroad.I hope this small piece can help you out along the way.Keep an eye out for Max El-Hag he is a guy that will certainly be mentioned more in the sport of fitness.And if you liked some of this material here is his blog