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Master the Basics, Do What You Already Know

One of the more common responses I get when coaching people on exercise and nutrition is “I already know this.” If we weren’t such sensitive creatures I would respond by saying “then f@$k&ng’ do it!”, but as we all know, “saying” and “doing” are in a constant battle with each other. They just don’t get along.

So as an alternative to me yelling at you and probably making you cry, I want you to take the time each week for some honest self-reflection. And don’t cry about it, it’s going to be ok because you can fix anything you want to fix.

Here are some questions to ask:

How’d you do this past week? Did you exercise? Did you eat healthier? Did you get enough sleep? Did you take action towards your goals? Did anything improve?

These basic questions only require basic actions to influence the outcome. Most of fitness is pretty basic stuff. There are no super secrets or magic solutions. If you know the basics of exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc. you can get pretty good results. Great results are in the details, but good results only require basic skills and knowledge.

However, the basics are what most people skip over, ignore, or forget. People search the internet, read, get expert opinions, ask friends, etc. looking for the answers to how to get in shape. They probably already know the answers though, they’re just not acting on them.

In my experience as a coach, most athletes ask the same questions, and the answer I give is usually something that person already knows. I love questions, I love teaching. What I notice though is people often ignore the answers they already have.

Athlete: “How do I achieve x?”

Me: “By doing this.”

Athlete: “Ya, I know that, I just gotta do it.”

The next week…

Athlete: “So what’s the best way to achieve x?” (the same question)

Me: “Have you done that first thing yet?”

Athlete: “No.”

I usually give people a list of alternatives so they aren’t left with only one choice. There are a lot of right answers in fitness and some are better suited based on the person. You can keep asking the question until you get the answer you like, but consider what you already know. Just pick one answer for yourself and do it. See what happens.

The questions you don’t want to ask yourself because you don’t like the answer are exactly the questions you should be asking yourself. The exercise you don’t want to do is likely the one you should do. The food you don’t want to eat is probably what you should eat more of. The time you don’t want to go to bed at is probably the time you should go to bed. You get it.

You’ll hear me say this a lot, “knowledge without action is nothing.” Information is useless if you don’t use it. Do you actually need more info?

What do you know you should be doing, but aren’t? Do you want to be able to give a different answer?

Ultimately, I want to get athletes asking even more questions, deeper questions. I want them eager to learn and train at the next level, but first, you have to master the basics.

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