Master the Basics
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
I figured for my first post, I'll talk about the basics of life (because I am literally always preaching about them to my athletes). What inspired me to write this post is the many athletes and friends who ask me the same question, "what supplement should I be taking?" First off, nobody should be taking supplements if they have great nutritional habits. You can get all your RDI's of vitamins and minerals by simply eating a well-balanced diet of healthy, non-processed foods, or beef liver. Anything with a long shelf-life might not be the best thing for you, nor is that "substitute" you think might be healthy.
Let me start by suggesting the 3 major basics in life that everyone should be trying to master:
1) sleep, 2) nutrition, 3) breathing
Let's start with sleep, because if your sleep is garbage, or less than 6 hours per night, you can kiss your goals goodbye. Whoever said "I'll sleep when I'm dead" must've been at the end of the road. Sleep is THE NUMBER 1 PERFORMANCE ENHANCER on the planet! Don't think about buying pre-workout supplements, like creatine, if you're only getting 5-6 hours of sleep per night. Those supplements will not make up for the loss of sleep or recovery that you are not giving yourself. And don't expect coffee to wake your ass up the next day if you only got 4 hours of sleep, it don't work that way.
Nutrition is the second major basic, because a lot of people fall into the habit of buying stuff that might be marketed as healthy. Alright, here's my beef with nutrition ...
1) If you're a vegan or vegetarian, good for you, however don't expect to all great things to come while training for strength and power as the amino acid profiles in plant-based proteins are not adequate enough to promote muscle growth compared to animal protein. Vegan and vegetarian athletes can add supplementation to their diets to fill in the blanks such as: protein & iron.
2) If you don't know something on the ingredient label, you probably shouldn't be buying it. Basic rules: if you can't pull it out of a tree, out of the ground, or hunt it; chances are it was manufactured in a factory and created...since when was it ok to consume created stuff? God didn't place it on this Earth to begin with.
3) Which supplement is good for me coach? I get this question often, and my answer is "let's take a look at your dietary habits, and fix any issues before adding anything else." I don't believe everyone should be on supplements, unless they are restricting themselves to a certain macro-nutrient, are highly deficient in any micro-nutrient, are predisposed to any health irregularities, or are of a certain age where they need to supplement because they body can't simply produce enough on its own. If you want my true advice, seek out a Registered Dietician prior to purchasing anything, remember products are always going to market themselves are a "superior choice" without any regard to any current issues or bad habits in your current diet.
Breathing is an overlooked aspect of life, because it is automatic and we don't need to focus our attention on it - our brains are set on auto-pilot. However, breathing exercises are starting to become more common in the athletic training world. I personally 'nasal-breath' myself during my resistance training as well as attempt to do so in my conditioning sessions (it gets hard as hell at times so I'll take one deep inhale through my mouth and resume back to nasal breathing). Nasal breathing has also been shown to increase nitric oxide delivery to our body, which helps release oxygen for energy (aerobic). Mouth breathing does not allow that nitric oxide to be delivered to our lungs. Mouth breathing has also been associated with diseases of the mouth (gum, teeth, throat, etc.) . Point being, why go purchase beet root supplements to enhance nitric-oxide when you can naturally, holistically, enhance that mechanism yourself by simply changing your breathing habits? Don't believe me, ask my athletes and they'll tell you their BOLT scores from Day 1 to today.
I don't want to dive down a HUGE rabbit hole with these topics, because trust me when I tell you, I can. But I'll leave you here to think about some of these basic things and ask yourself, where do you need improvement and how can you create better habits?
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Stay healthy my friends!