Experience is the best teacherDec 12, 2022
The secret to becoming a better programmer as a coach or rehab professional lies partly in consuming the right knowledge but also from experiencing many different types of programming.
Throughout my journey in the health and fitness space, I’ve always run myself as an n=1 experiment. I always wanted to try new rep schemes and see how I responded. Follow a new program and try to identify the trends. Join or drop into different facilities and see what I can learn from the coach running the program for that day. Learning opportunities in this field are literally everywhere.
Much of what I use to this day I have experienced myself since I believe to understand the desired stimulus, we should experience it. This concept helps immensely when deciphering feedback from clients.
My fitness journey started like many others. I went to the gym, did curls and bench press, neglected my legs, and walked around looking like a cartoon character. Around 2008, I found CrossFit, which truly changed my view on what fitness was. It opened my eyes to many new movements, the pursuit of improving my technique, gaining measurable strength, and moving away from purely aesthetics. CrossFit also challenged me to experiment with different methods. One cycle would be a Wendler 5-3-1 protocol, then next based off percentages, the next trailing what happened if I specifically programmed for strength endurance (think dedicated sets of 20 with a relatively heavy deadlift, 55% of 1rm as an example). All of this was just to see what happened to my performance so I’d know what could potentially happen to others.
Experimenting with this concept didn't just show up with the outcome, it also allowed me to understand recovery. How did I feel after training three days in a row? What about four? What about five? What about after a max attempt? All this information I learned through my experience and experimentation started to shape how I wrote programs.
In my opinion, this is where people get stuck. They want the straightforward answer of what “works,” but what works for one person may not work for another… that’s the human element. This is one of the reasons why I created a course documenting my experience in the field and helping to lay a foundation for program design. To learn is to experience. So I challenge you to go out and try something new and focus on extracting the lesson. You’ll be surprised at how much you can pick up when you recognize the patterns.
Interested in learning how to apply this to your clients?