If you are eating certain foods, or doing certain things pertaining to fitness and your health, then you should know why. Simply following someone yet having no understanding of the reasons behind why they do what they do is a cop out. Time and time again in the industry I come across people doing things because “everyone does it” “it works for me” or “because my coach told me to.”
These are not valid reasons and to be honest it makes you look a little stupid. If you are doing something, make sure you know why and you can justify it. Do your own research so YOU are comfortable with the decisions you are making. Yes it is up to your coach to explain their processes and protocols, but at the end of the day it is still your body and you are the one in control of it.
Squeems. These damn things come up at LEAST once a week in one of the competitor groups I am in. Reasons for using these include “because my coach is a pro and she swears by them” ok well that’s great. Lets look at what you need to become a pro these days. First you need a good coach (or not so good in some cases) you also have to pay to have your pro card, and the majority of pros are in untested federations anyway. As in pharmaceutically enhanced. I have nothing against this, however it is still something to keep in mind when comparing what you are doing to what they are doing. If you’re natural you’re different and can’t expect the same things to work.
But, I know of a lot of pros that are against squeems too. Layne Norton for one and he’s a pro in the IFPA and NGA. He also has a BS in Biochemistry and a PhD in Nutritional Sciences (both hons) which is more than I can say for most pros, and most coaches even. His credentials blow most coaches' out of the water. If you are going to take advice from someone make sure its someone that actually knows what they’re doing. Better yet, do your own research on the matter so you can make an informed decision. Just because someone is a pro, does not necessarily mean they are qualified to be giving out certain advice. And just because they are a pro doesn’t mean you should take what they say as gospel.
Simply because someone has competed before also doesn’t mean they are qualified to be giving advice. A large percentage of competitors simply follow a cookie cutter meal plan. 1,000 calories a day is a calorie deficit for almost anyone so of course by following this you are going to drop weight (and muscle). These people then pass this same diet plan on to their “clients” and pose as coaches themselves. This is a problem. I have been in this situation before and while I didn’t know any better, and while I was told by my trainer at the time this is what it took to compete, ultimately the responsibility still has to lie with me. Yes as a fitness industry professional she should have known better and should not have been giving me the nutrition “advice” that she did, however once problems started arising with this so called meal plan, I should have done something. It’s not normal to be on such low calories and be performing 3 hours of cardio on the daily. I have to take some responsibility for this myself.
Now I know better. I have learned from my mistakes and I have an amazing coach who has taught me a great deal. (Paul Revelia www.prophysique.com I highly recommend him if anyone is looking for a coach he is absolutely fantastic) He will give me reasons behind why I am doing the things I am doing, but I also need to be comfortable with this and do my own learning too. You have to trust your coach and know they have your best interests at heart.
Another thing I’ve heard of is someone taking baby asprin before performing fasted cardio! Ok fasted cardio for one isn’t necessary. If you want to learn more about this Brad Shoenfeld and Alan Aragon have published a study on it you can read here: http://www.jissn.com/content/11/1/54/abstract
But baby asprin? What the hell? Does this not ring alarm bells and make you wonder why the hell someone would tell you to be doing this? The answer this person got from their coach was that “I don’t remember but everyone just does it” Pardon? No they fu*king don’t! I sure as hell don’t take pain killers before working out. The fact that this coach was telling their client to do this is a huge issue. BUT the fact that the client was doing this, no questions asked, is that not more alarming?? It is to me.
Since when did we become so simple minded we did anything someone else told us without question? Just because they are a “pro” or a highly respected “coach” (I use that term loosely) if something sounds suspect, it's usually because it is.
How you learn is by asking questions. And if you’re given an answer along the lines of “everyone does it” well that is not good enough and you need to look further for answers. With all of the free information available online, and all of the forums where good coaches are actually happy to help and answer questions, not doing your own homework is a cop out. Things are forever changing. New research is continually being published. And while it is up to the fitness industry professionals to be up to date, the buck also needs to stop with you. The individual. If you are even remotely interested in your health and well being, don’t you think you ought to know what you are putting in to your body and why you are doing the things you are doing? Research, find out why, ask questions. That way when someone queries what you are doing, you can give them an honest, educated answer rather than “my coach said to”