Monday, January 28, 2013

So who is "Coach Steph"?

I've been thinking for the past couple of weeks about what my philosophy is with regards to training, fitness, and health. Every fitness professional needs a philosophy and everyone is different. I am constantly throwing ideas around in my head about how I would describe myself as a trainer and I started making a list. I think it's a pretty good start.

I don't focus solely on weight loss. I focus on body composition change - fat loss and muscle gain.

I don't use the word "diet." I discuss "nutrition."

We will talk calories, but I don't "calorie count". I focus on portion control, food quality, and food variety.

Fueling is key. Starving is stupid.

There will be weight training. Lots of it. More cardio does not mean better results.

Finding something that can be maintained is the ultimate goal.

I will hold you accountable.

I will push you into uncomfortable territory.

I do not believe in fads or too many restrictions.

I will make you believe that fitness is necessary for quality of life. You will make it a part of your life permanently.

Regarding nutrition, I see way too many people focused solely on calorie counting, with little focus on food quality. Their main focus with exercise, therefore, is to burn calories. I just don't completely
subscribe to this...although it can be a good start to understanding portion control and getting a big bang for your buck with exercise. But fitness is so much more than calorie counting and cardio. You'll never get the results you have the potential to achieve if you use this narrow focus. While it's important to understand calories in general, it's much more important to eat proper portions, eat quality food, eat a variety from all food groups, and eat throughout the day. With a consistent practice like this, your caloric intake will regulate itself properly.

Cardio is not the only way to proper weight loss. In order to obtain healthy body composition you have to include weight training. Lean muscle mass will boost your metabolism like nothing else. Your fat burning potential is increased since muscle is where fat is metabolized.

But that's not all. Muscle improves heart function...your heart simply doesn't have to work as hard. You will also protect joints and connective tissue and reduce arthritic symptoms in the process. Your bone density is increased with weight training. This ability to protect your joints and bones will lead to fewer injuries. Strength train with functional movements (using more than one muscle group at a time in a strength training move) and you're improving core and balance as well. With a stronger core, your ability to perform daily activities and exercise without injury improves even further.

Nothing can be achieved without a solid plan, consistency, motivation to succeed, and holding yourself accountable. I have always said that if you don't schedule fitness into your day, you're going to make every excuse in the book to not get it done. So schedule it like any other appointment....and then stick to it. If you need someone there to hold you accountable, join a fitness group. Make them depend on you and you will show up and you will work hard and succeed.

Exercise isn't always fun. If it didn't hurt at least a little, it isn't doing you any good. But there is a way to find the comfortable in the uncomfortable, and you have to be willing to understand that and put it into practice. You have to be willing to take yourself to a difficult place and push through it. What's on the other side is amazing and very much worth it.

Fad "diets" or fad "workouts"? Not my thing at all. I'm very simple and basic when you strip my philosophy down. I don't cut out any macronutrients and don't believe in diets that tout that. While I think some of these fad workouts are good to get people off their butts, a lot of them have too much fluff to do any kind of good in the long term. You want to be successful? Get your heart rate up, work your muscles to fatigue, don't be afraid to suffer, know your limits, do not do anything beyond your ability, get that core strong, and you will lose the excess body fat and gain that lean muscle in the process.

My philosophy is coming together. I'm enjoying the process of discovering it.

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