First part of the series on “training” is discussing philosophy.
As my old mate Confucius would say:
“Get yo’ philosophy in check fo’ I crack yer neck” – Confucius
Keepin’ it real since 551 BC.
What is a training philosophy?
A training philosophy is the set of values or principles by which you plan and structure your training.
Everyone’s training philosophy will be different, and that’s ok. Many will have similar or even identical components, that’s ok too, better than ok even. There are certain training principles which have been forged over decades of trial and error, experimentation and study. These should not be ignored for the sake of individuality.
And while there are elements of almost every type of training that are beneficial, many have also got their priorities wrong.
Spending your whole workout hour laying on a foam roller is not doing anybody any good, I don’t care how stiff or tight you feel. Doing the exact same thing week after week after week, the same amount of repetitions with the exact same load, will not get you very far either. You are stalling.
If training is about improvement in performance and adaptation to increasing stress then you have to force the issue. With all that said, here is what makes up my training philosophy:
What is the Life Performance Training philosophy?
First off, what is Life Performance? Well, that will look different for each of us, because we all live different lives, right? Nevertheless, humans are humans, our bodies are fundamentally the same even though we all have individual strengths, weaknesses, and issues. For each of us the hip is a ball and socket joint, for some it may be deeper or more laterally placed than others, but they are not that different.
Yes training has to be individual, but not so individual that you’re doing something ridiculous just to be a contrarian.
We all need a base level of strength, we all need a base level of conditioning, and we all need a base level of mobility. Without these you will not function, nevermind perform. These 3 things essentially make up “fitness”. So our first thought is to make sure these bases are covered.
These will be implemented in varying ratios depending on the individual, and they are not separate entities, there is overlap between the 3. Depending on starting point, goal, restrictions, and injuries, one or two will take precedence over the other[s]. But none should be completely ignored.
Jim Wendler says it like this:
“Stretch. Lift. Sprint.” – Jim Wendler
Beautiful in its simplicity.
Without further ado, here are some of the main principles that make up the LPT philosophy:
This one’s a biggie. Simply put, if your training plan does not incorporate progressive overload it is not worth your while. Not for any significant time anyway.
Progressive overload simply means that each session/week/month/year you do a little bit more. Without it there is no progression.
Train often. As often as you can. The body responds well to frequency. Let me put it this way: if you can only spare 2 hours a week to train, 4 half hour sessions spread throughout the week is better than a single 2 hour session.
Training more often allows you to accrue a higher skill level in performance, and you can get higher volume spread over more frequent sessions than in an individual session.
Train hard. Push yourself. Force adaptation. Lift heavy – (intensity in strength terms is % of your max, not how breathless or sweaty you get). Run fast. But also…
Manage fatigue. If you train with intensity you need to put thought into your recovery. Prioritise sleep. Eat well, get plenty of protein and veggies in your belly. Stroll in nature. Get a massage. Take care of yourself.
When you’re doing something give it your full attention. Feel the movement. If you’re gonna do something don’t half-ass it.
Nothing else matters if you aren’t consistent. Suboptimal work done consistently trumps optimal work done every once in a while.
Why are you doing what you’re doing? If you can’t answer that then you need to rethink. You should be training for something. It doesn’t have to be competition, it can be for health, or dare I say it, to look good. Whatever it is for, your training should be aiming for that very thing.
The majority of coaches would agree with me on the above points. Following below are some of the beliefs that may or may not make our philosophy a little different (but not so different as to be a contrarian).
Strength Training Is For EVERYONE
You don’t have to want to lift double your bodyweight. You do have to push and pull against resistance and maybe pick something up and carry it around a bit though.
Strength training develops the body and the mind and I have seen people gain great confidence from getting stronger that I haven’t seen replicated by running a longer distance or being able to get lower in a stretch. Pretty much everyone with benefit from getting a little stronger.
Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things
Experiment. The only reason people know anything about anything is because they tried it. And yet…
The “Boring” Stuff Works Best
I believe in barbells. I believe in big compound movements. The reason I believe in them is because they work. The reason they are still around after all this time is because they work. I believe in push ups and chin ups and crawls. This doesn’t seem exciting because its not new and fresh but there is no need to reinvent the wheel. One of the best exercises in existence? The farmers walk – picking up a heavy weight in each hand and walking with it. That’s been around since the dawn of time. It still works.
I Don’t [Really] Give A Shit How You Look
Physique is not that important to me. Don’t get me wrong, everyone likes to look good, including me. I know you want to be leaner and more muscular. I’m not discrediting that completely. But it seems that for many that is what fitness and training has become. People come to me thinking they’re gonna be made to do bro splits and be told to eat plain chicken, rice, and broccoli. I can’t believe this is still most peoples perception of fitness!
I want to change that. There is so much more, so much more! You are capable of pretty incredible physical feats. Performance. This is what I prefer to focus on. Put effort into getting better, stronger, faster, and with just a little deliberate thought about what you eat and drink, your body composition will change favourably. Eating healthily is part of optimal performance.
Don’t Be A Pussy
Life is tough. If you want to succeed you’re gonna have to be tough as well. There will be disappointments and worse. You have to be prepared.
Life Performance Training prepares you for life!
I feel like I could go on and on about persistence, self-belief, phases, confidence, movement patterns… but I’ll leave it there for now. A training philosophy will evolve and grow and the useless stuff will be stripped away. The simpler, the more refined the better.
I hope this gives you an insight into what a training philosophy is, what my training philosophy is, and gets you thinking about your own philosophy in regards to training, because you should have your own.
Life Performance Training