As a coach, I have so many tricks up my sleeve. Well, perhaps tricks isn’t the best word for it…I know a lot of different ways to help you reach your goals and to progress exercise in a way that meets you where you’re at, takes your exercise and injury history into consideration, and ensure that we’re reducing the risk of injury in the process.
The point is, as coaches, we have TONS of tools in the toolbox.
We can use a hammer and nails or a screwdriver and screws. But if we tried to use a hammer with a screw, that probably wouldn’t work well, right? As a coach, my job is to select the right tools for the project at hand: you and your goals.
But, in this analogy, I can only hand you – the builder – the tools. I don’t have the ability to actually use them. I simply pull the out of the toolbox and lay them down.
The builder has to put the house together.
Seeing where I’m going with this?
Do you want to listen? This post is episode 015 of the Fuel Your Freedom podcast! Check it out below or on all major podcast platforms.
E032 | What is Your Pre-Workout Routine? – Fuel Your Freedom
Taking ownership and responsibility of your program is one of the most empowering and important things you can do to ensure your success.
No, seriously. I can lay out all the tools for the job, but if they sit there, it’s likely that the raw materials – wood, tile, insulation, drywall, etc. will sit right alongside them. The house will not build itself.
In the same way: Reps, sets, tempo, etc. don’t matter if you don’t execute them.
Bringing it back to fitness: I, as the coach, can program all of the correct things for you. But, if they only stay on the paper, the results will stay a goal. They won’t build themselves into your reality.
I, as the coach, cannot take the action for you. I cannot schedule your appointment to the gym. I cannot lift your weights. I cannot resist afternoon snack times and drink your water. I can be there for accountability, coaching, and for support.
But I cannot actually take the action. You have to have to make the decision: Are you going to choose action or inaction?
If you choose inaction, that’s okay. There’s nothing more that I, as the coach, can help you with toward your goal. I can stay as support and be there if you do want to change. Maintenance is still a goal that we, as humans and athletes, may choose to spend time in. Again, that’s totally okay! Unfortunately, it feels good to think about your goals, to plan for the future, and to wish that things were different. It’s comfortable to stay where you are right now and do what you’re doing right now. This leads to us spending too much time in that moment of inaction. In that time of being stuck thinking about the future, instead of taking action on the habits and things that will make that goal a reality.
If you choose action, that’s where the change will come. It’s the choice to make things different. To pick up the hammer and nails and start putting the foundation on the house. It’s the choice to do the tough and uncomfortable work in your life. It’s the choice to take responsibility and ownership over your program. It’s the choice to not have a snack when you’re not hungry, despite being stressed, overwhelmed, or experiencing a cue that triggers a subconscious habit.
As the coach, I cannot take this action for you.
Let’s bring this back to the program, specifically. All of those numbers? They matter. The weight prescribed for each lift? That matters. The tempo or speed you should perform the exercise at? That matters too.
I can’t speak for other gyms, but with all the coaches at Unity, when we program, there’s a reason for each and every number we put in the program. Every single thing.
When we program, we first think about the end goal. Then, we work backwards to where we need to start to guarantee the outcome we want to achieve. So, when we neglect to follow the path, we’re not going to reach the top of the mountain…Man, I’m on it with the analogies today. Let’s keep it the same analogy for this and go back to building the house.
If we miss a screw here and don’t measure there, we’re going to have a structurally unsafe home. It’s not going to be the dream house that was on the blueprints we started with.
It’s the same when we’re looking at the numbers on our program.
They matter. If the exercise has a slow tempo prescribed but you speed through it, with no regard to the time set, you’re not going to get the benefit from that tempo. There was a specific reason that it was placed in your program – or there should have been. (Again, I can’t speak for other coaches.) If you ask the coach who created your program at Unity, they’ll be able to tell you exactly why they wrote it the way they did. Why they chose that exercise, sets, tempo, rep scheme, etc. There’s a reason for all of it.
But these numbers really only truly matter if you execute them. You have to take ownership and responsibility over your program. You have to take action.
Disclaimer: There is no one way to do it. There are always things that can be adjusted, changed, or swapped on the fly for an equivalently effective and efficient program. For example, when we moved to a pod system after we re-opened, we had to adjust our programming. I couldn’t give someone exercises with a rack, a cable machine, and the sled when those three things are all in different areas of the gym. We had to adjust. This is a “tools” problem and falls within the coach’s role.
But the principle of taking responsibility and ownership over your program holds true, regardless of the tools that you have at your disposal. The coach will choose the tools. You have to put the house together.
Are you choosing action or are you choosing inaction? Are you taking action on your program? Are you paying attention to the little details and the notes? Take inventory this week. Where can you take more action? Where can you refine the action you are taking? Do it.