Happy (early) Thanksgiving to all those in the U.S. popping in on this blog. Hope everyone is looking forward to time with family and having copious amounts of food to their satisfaction.
Despite the post to this title I know it won't be related to actual food. I know everyone has metric TONS of food on their brain with the holiday coming up. I think this will still be something to sink your teeth into so continue forward. This will probably something more science like than you might be use to from me, I think it'll be worth the read.
This week I am just wrapping up Simon Sinek’s book Leaders Eat Last. First off if you haven’t read his book Start With Why (or listened to it on Audible like me) …what in the heck are you doing with your life? OK only half kidding, seriously go read that thing, I'm probably the 20th coach I know to say recommend it so do it already.
Back to what I was talking about before, in Leaders Eat Last, Sinek talks about the chemical reactions that occur in our bodies and the types of people (leaders) that tend to bring those about certain ones. More or less depends on if you’re a complete dirtbag (Neutron Jack anyone?) or someone with a soul.
Oxytocin is one of these chemicals he talks at length about and for good reason. This guy is often spoken about when it comes to a mother and bonding with their child. If you’ve ever read either of Sinek’s books, you would understand why he really tries to shine the light on this guy nice a bright.
A portion of the talk about oxytocin is comparing it to it’s not so great chemical cousin dopamine. Dopamine, according to the University of Texas Addiction Science and Research and Education Center, is a chemical highly linked to addictions. With that it’s pretty clear why Sinek advises us to keep this guy at arm’s length as much as possible.
Sinek gives basic examples of when dopamine is released like; when you have a new text message, you hit the high score on Angry Birds, drinking coffee (YES ALL OF YOU…including me) and hitting your monthly bonus at work.
For an example of how/when oxytocin kicks in I’ve provided an example from the book:
He was walking along the street and noticed someone’s bag open with some of its contents likely to fall out soon. He tapped the person and said “Excuse me your bag is open.”
The person with the bag had a look and sure enough he was right. They zipped up the bag and smiled saying “Thank you”.
He himself smiled to the person and said “You’re welcome.” Now everyone is all happy, because not just these 2 felt the chemical release, people that saw this act felt it as well.
Hopefully you’ve started to do the math of where this stuff relates to the fitness world. I’ll start with the easy one, dopamine. Since we live in, what I believe is, a heavily dopamine driven world we seek those brief “Ooo Pretty” feelings.
For example, have you noticed how much those silly calorie tracker watches/wristbands have gone up in the last 5 years, and they’re getting fancier. While wearing one of those you hit your “steps” or “calories”, it dings and lights up. There’s Mr. Dopamine right there hitting you. Even something as simple as stepping on the scale and you see you’re down a few lbs from last week, boom dopamine.
Let me clarify that I’m not saying this is ALL bad. I like me some dopamine too, beer, coffee…have I mentioned I LOVE video games in my free time (what’s that?). The key here, like many things is that magic thing called MODERATION. Dopamine kept to a reasonably low level absolutely makes things a little better and can help us get where we want to go in life.
On the flip side let’s look at oxytocin, which is likely obvious how it relates to this field as well. As a coach (trainer) we want to help people feel healthier, move better, and gain confidence in themselves. When a client comes in raving about how they feel and others are hearing about it from them. We feel good about putting the time and effort into them, as well they feel good about all that they did for themselves. Everyone in the room gets that happy release of oxytocin and bam it almost becomes contagious (one more point in favor of semi-private and group training).
Yes, there are downsides to too much oxytocin so it too should be moderated. I would still argue that we could probably flip balance of the two chemicals and things might just be a little bit better for everyone.
Let me make this really clear, I'm not saying we need to ditch those smart watches (mostly) or that you need to knock off your caffeine and beer intake. I'm certainly not advocating for any of those out of my life so I'm not trying to convince you of that either.
What I am saying here is that maybe we can all take a deep breath, step down our dopamine driven behaviors a bit and try to find other ways to get happy chemicals released. This (my) generation is the most distracted generation because we crave that next hit of dopamine. Would it be such a bad idea to try to change that, even just a little?
This might be the most hippie/free spirited type thing you've heard me say, but help someone out once in awhile. Instead getting the chemical release from the next tweet reply or Facebook like, hold the door open for someone, or make sure they don't walk off without their wallet (I know I've gone soft on you all....giggity soft).
In any case anyone looking for a good book to read on leadership, life or just to learn a little bit this is your next purchase one. That's all I got today guys, go out there, get after it and have a safe holiday!
Happy Friday everyone, I've got some more goodies while you all enjoy this afternoon on Veterans Day. With that I want to say thank you to all that have served and those that continue to serve our country.
Today I have some good ones to sink your teeth into.
Fixing The Butt Wink During Squats-The Butt Wink is one of those bro-science terms that makes me giggle more than most. It's not so much of a laughing matter and should be addressed when issues come up. Zach Long did a great piece on this issue and I hope you all enjoy as much as I did.
Your Professional Network-More Important Than Any Piece of Equipment in The Gym-Pete Dupuis seems to just be on a roll lately. Loved this piece on how valuable establishing your network can be. I know I've made it a point in the last year or 2 to expand my own to many reaches, not all of the training related either.
12 Ways to Know if You Should Include an Exercise in a Strength Training Program- Anything that can make programing easier for new coaches...or in general is a good post for me. Eric Cressey rarely has "bad" posts, but this one was a damn good one for those making sure their exercise selection is right for the situation.
Happy Thursday everyone! All I'm going to say this week is that sometimes I'm happy I get to live in my own little sports bubble where thing don't really matter, even though we act like they do. Today I have a nice feature to maybe answer questions about what's the best training modalities when getting into this field for yourself.
There are many settings to train people in and some like one, as opposed to other’s. Perfectly legit and I don’t hold anything against anyone that prefers one over the others, neither should you. Today I want to look at the pros and cons of what I see in each format that I’ve been in.
Semi-Private: I’m leading with this one because I think it’s my favorite and preferred format most of the time.
Pros-It allows me to get more people coached in one shot so I’m not dragging my day on for 2-3 extra hours of coaching in a row. I can still give everyone an individualized program and the attention they need. Also as a financial bonus I can get more people training in the same hour that I’m paying to use the space, and the price goes down from private prices for these clients, so this is a win win about 99% of the time. It also builds a community where people can get to know eachother, eventually hold eachother accountable (even better than just me) and support eachother through the lift and life. Gives me more practice to nail coaching cues to top it off.
Cons-I am not always able to give someone my full attention RIGHT in the exact moment they may need it. This is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. Space and equipment availability can also be a factor, especially if I’ve planned bench for multiple people that are in that session (what a mess). A client that is very gun-shy about working out and doesn’t have a ton of confidence, might be worried about embarrassing themselves in front of someone else. This person also will likely pull a lot of my attention on certain days, but it’s not often that this happens (see beginning of this paragraph).
Team: There’s some similarities to Semi-Private and team, but I also think there’s a distinction. I would consider team training with 4-8+ trainees and even more when the space and numbers allow for it.
Pros-A big team atmosphere is generally awesome for camaraderie. When people see a lot of hard work around them it makes them want to work hard too. Again I get a lot of athletes/clients trained within a more limited time span. I can still make sure everyone’s needs are met in their program and there’s enough bodies to spot others when needed as a bonus.
Cons-The same issues as semi-private crop up, only amplified. Also the programs really can’t be super tailored to each client/athlete, because simply the sheer amount of them can be overwhelming and take time away from other areas of the operation/life just to program. Likeliest thing will be is that I modify for each person as I go. Coaching cues need to be on point here, not a ton of time to make errors in that.
Private: First of all it’s been said by a lot of people that straight up one on one training is dead. No it is not, it’s not AS prevalent as it once was, but it is still alive and well.
Pros-Complete attention gets paid to the client. I can pick up every little nuance and hitch of their movement. Program is absolutely customized for the client. I also get a chance to get to know the client one on one (assuming I’ve gotten their guard down). Coaching cues can be honed here just like semi-private as well.
Cons-The client is solely relying on me to pick them up and keep them up, especially on their rough days. Not really a bad thing, but sometimes, I'm just running on empty and it’s tough to do so. I also only get paid for that one client that day AND private training tends to get a bit pricier than other formats. I best get along with the client well too, otherwise that’s a long awkward hour plus.
Group: When done right this can be a favorite of mine believe it or not. Could I coach in this format all day every day? Not a chance. Strategically done once to a few times a week this stuff gets fun real quick.
Pros-More people can join in on the action. When the space allows(ed) for it I would welcome upwards of 10-15 trainees into a group session. Nowadays it’s closer to 6 max, but that’s still good. Like I said this gets fun when everyone is working hard, being successful with their lifts and drills, and getting their sweat on. Again that whole cost thing also benefits the clients here as the price point can get really cheap, especially for the quality of the product (in my opinion at least). Once I formed a good group it was nice to know the clients (trainees) had someone else waiting for them at the facility, not just me.
Cons-Some of these also come from the team training aspect. It’s a fairly generic program (I didn't say bad), which means I’ll need to change things for someone on the fly now and again. I can’t quite give that attention that some people may need or want, depending on where they are in their training level either. Those coaching cues, yeah they need to be on point here too, not a ton of room for honing here. Remember that equipment availability issue from team and semi-private? Yeah it definitely exist here, but can be navigated when given it some thought.
As you can see there are upsides as well as drawback to the different formats. It all depends on which of those pro's you really want and which of the cons you'd prefer to avoid. That's what I got for today everyone, go out there and get after it!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS