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I’ve been training hard, really hard, for over a decade now.  Since the age of 12 I’ve had an Asperger’s-like obsession over squats, push ups, pull ups, and all other forms of physical training to make myself stronger and more durable.  Unfortunately, a lot of what I did in my early years of training was poorly executed. Even worse, it was poorly executed in unreasonably large doses. This culminated in long periods of stagnating results, chronic pain, and ultimately injury.  Fortunately though, all the pain and time spent spinning my wheels also led me onto the path of becoming an expert in all things physical activity-related

But still… if I could go back and do it all over again, I would.  So this blog post is for you, Young Pat. Cheers to you for all your tenacity and passion for exercise, but Jesus Christ were you dumb as a post.  Young Pat, I wish you wouldn’t have done these things:

 

  • Not seeking out a strength and conditioning coach.

Time spent in the weight room is a less is more type of game – especially when you’re training hard in and competing in multiple sports.  I wish I would have known that as a kid, when I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours practicing and competing in soccer, volleyball, kickboxing, and jiu jitsu – on top of my side-passion for strength training.  When you’ve already spent a full day of training in two or three different sports, the last thing you should do is to try and max out your squat or bench press to finish off the day.  Actually, scratch that… the last thing you should do is to try and max out your squat or bench press with sub-optimal technique and then try to do another 50 reps of each exercise afterwards.  Again, strength and conditioning is about quality over quantity.  It’s about shoring up movement deficiencies rather than mimicking the Rocky training montages.  So this goes out to all the young meatheads out there: Seek out a good strength and conditioning coach.  I promise you’ll feel better, see faster results, and stay injury free.

 

  • Eating like a dumbass.

Just because you’re burning over 4000 calories a day and you can’t put on weight to save your life, doesn’t mean you should be eating McDonalds and Pizza Pockets every day.  Young Pat, you would’ve felt and performed so much better had you eaten more vegetables and stayed away from the truckloads of processed foods and sugar you subjected your body to.

 

  • Not understanding the need to balance the autonomic nervous system.

If you spend tons of time in “fight or flight” mode, you had better be engaging in habits that put you in “rest and digest” mode during the times that you’re not training or competing.  I had no clue. I should have been doing diaphragmatic breathing exercises, self-massage, and sleeping nine hours a night. Instead I was drinking Red Bull and Monster, doing extra strength training sessions, and forgoing sleep to go out and do dumb teenage shit with my friends.  There are no performance gains to be had after training without the appropriate recovery, and that was very true for me in my youth.

 

My childhood and teenage years were really a caricature of what not to do when trying to improve wellness and boost performance.  And although the three main points that I listed were specific to what I did wrong as a kid, they also represent the main problems I see in the athletes and clients I currently train.  We could all benefit from better exercise selection in smarter doses to prevent injury and expedite results. We could all eat better to promote health and speed recovery. And we all could most definitely spend a lot more time chilling out in the stimulant-ridden insomniac society we currently live in.

As always, if you’d like to know more about, and start taking responsibility for your own health, fitness, and wellness, please reach out to Crux Fitness Richmond for any of your personal training needs.  

Patrick Koo – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Personal Trainer at Crux Fitness Richmond

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