Walking A Mile In Your Shoes

Abraham Lincoln once said, “He who represents himself has a fool of a client!” I believe the same can apply to training. Trying to write a program for yourself is not a great idea, it is almost impossible not to be biased and just do the things you like. For the past 16 weeks I have put myself in your shoes and followed a program designed by Eric Cressey, a strength coach up in Hudson Massachusetts (check out some of his stuff if you want to learn some awesome tips).  This was the first time I strictly followed a program by someone else and I have learned quite a few things from it that I want to share with you.


Choosing your weight shouldn’t be a guessing game when working out. Always write things down! In the past I would walk into the gym and decide what I was doing that day; then I would try to remember what weight I used in the past. It would drive my crazy. I felt like I was constantly doing different weights and didn’t have any rhyme or reason for the weights I chose. So, I made a change.  For these past 16 weeks, I would have my clipboard in hand with my paper and pencil and write everything down! It was amazing how much easier it was to get my workout in and I could see where I was getting stronger. It doesn’t take much time to just WRITE THINGS DOWN!


There is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” exercise, however there are better exercises for different people. What may be a good exercise for you might not be a great exercise for me. Now Eric Cressey is someone who I look up too greatly and if one day I am half as smart as him I will be happy. However, some of the exercises in the program were not the best exercises for me so I modified as needed. Just one example of an exercise I needed to modify was a straight leg barbell deadlift. When I started doing the deadlifts I would feel discomfort in my lower back, instead of trying to push through the pain I modified it and elevated the barbell a little to put less stress on my back. I was accomplishing the same thing, but this variation was slightly better for me. If a certain exercise just doesn’t feel right talk to a coach to see if we can help you get in a better position or if there is a better variation for you!


In a perfect world we would come up with a plan and everything would work out exactly the way we plan it, right? Well I’m sure you all know but a perfect world doesn’t exist. It is important to come up with a plan in the beginning, but expect a few roadblocks and know how to navigate around them. If you were driving somewhere and a road was closed or there was some construction, would you turn around and go home or would you figure out how to get around it? Things are going to come up. Work, family, and many other things are going to get in the way of exercise, but don’t let that stop you from reaching your goals. Accept the fact that these things will happen and try to come up with a strategy to get around them. Some days I was pressed for time because of work or having to go look at a new car (because that is more important than exercise) but instead of just blowing it off completely I tried to shorten my workout a little or decided to get the workout in a different day when I was supposed to have an off day. If you are having trouble trying to navigate your road blocks talk to your coach! That’s what we are here for, to help you come up with solutions that will help you reach your goals.


Look I am going to be completely honest with you, some days just suck and you wont get a good workout in. Us coaches are the same; we are human just like you and everyone else. If you try to tell me that every time you step foot into the gym you get the best workout of your life I am not going to believe you.  Don’t feel bad about it because that is completely normal! For whatever reason it may be, you didn’t sleep well, didn’t eat well that day, are stressed at work, or just feeling under the weather, some workouts are not going to feel great. The most important thing is that you listen to your body and either decide to take it a little easier that day, but still try to get a good sweat in and get moving . If you do decide to take a day off,  it is okay, just try and get your workout in the next day or whenever you have free time. It becomes a problem when that one day off turns into a week or two. Listen to your body, you know it best!


When I would try to come up with a program for myself it was filled with the things that I liked doing, and the reason I liked doing them was because I was good at them. I some how “accidently” forgot to program the things I didn’t like doing, and the reason I didn’t like doing them was because I was bad at them. What a coincidence right? Now often times the reason we don’t like doing something is because we are bad at it and that’s just life. However, when it comes to working out the things we don’t like are probably the things we need the most. Now for me the one exercise I really didn’t enjoy doing was Turkish Get Ups (maybe because I had 24 full Get Ups on one of my days).  Now, even though I don’t like Get Ups, I know I need to work on them because I have very bad shoulder stability and hip mobility.  So, what I focused on to get through them was trying get a little better each time. Now I am not saying if an exercise hurts push through it, there is a difference between an exercise being challenging and an exercise hurting. If the exercise is challenging keep working to get better at it, but if the exercise hurts talk to your coach about trying to find a different variation.


With all that being said I truly enjoyed following the program and I feel stronger, my shoulders feel better, and I have more energy. It was great to put myself in my client’s shoes and see the other side of things. I hope the five things I learned and shared with you will help you better understand your programs and how to get the most out of it.

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