It’s an amazing time to be involved in the fitness industry, be it as a coach or as someone just beginning their journey towards better health.
We are currently seeing huge strides being made in the knowledge level of fitness professionals, due to a heap of information about a wide variety of health-related topics being easily accessible through podcasts, blogs, books, etc.
And this is excellent for all involved.
There is a problem though, and that quite often you’ll discover some information that makes sense, and then you’ll discover another opposing point of view that seemingly also make sense.
The thing that makes this hardest of all, is that often these opposing views can both be right.
Or wrong for that matter!
Which way is the right way?
Ok, so you’re interested in losing weight. Actually, you’re interested in losing body fat, but that can be a whole post in itself.
You also want to get fit (very broad goal but I know what you mean).
You’ve done your research and found that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best thing you can do to get shredded as quickly as possible.
You’ve also recently discovered during your investigations, that carbs are the enemy and always have been, so moved to a very high fat (ketogenic) diet, and completely removed carbs from your life.
Except you use the word ‘carbs’ far more regularly than you ever had before, usually when bad mouthing them behind their back.
A year later, you’re absolutely shredded and feeling fitter than ever.
At this point you meet someone else who also started their journey one year ago, and they also got shredded and are feeling fitter than ever.
‘No carbs and HIIT training?’ you ask.
‘Heavy barbell training and ten minutes of conditioning at the end of each session’ they answer. ‘And I got to keep eating the carbs’.
Who was right?
If both of you went in with the same goals at the start (let’s say you did), then the answer is that both these approaches worked.
Thanks for clearing nothing up.
At this point you’re probably wondering if I’m going to give you a definitive answer as to what’s best in this article.
To spare you the suspense, the answer is no.
Generally speaking, the more general your goals are, the wider a range of possible training options you can use and still get your desired results.
So, when it comes to ‘general’ fitness goals, meaning improvements across a wide range of factors (body composition, strength, mobility, cardio fitness, etc), there are a lot of different options in terms of training styles and nutrition options that will work.
This is especially true when you’re just starting out, after not moving and eating terribly for an extended period of time, as you have much more room to progress, meaning that any change you make will have an effect.
So, in this case as long as you have everything dialled in with your nutrition, then you can do most styles of training, mix it up a bit and you’re probably going to see those general improvements you’re after.
What if my goals are more specific?
After having reached your goal of losing fat and getting fit, you’ve gone to your coach, stoked with the progress you made.
You loved that feeling of getting stronger during the year, so much so that you’ve decided you’d like to work towards competing in a powerlifting meet.
Now at this point your goal has become much more specific, and so the training style implemented has to become more targeted to reach that goal.
If your coach was to continue smashing you with HIIT circuits at this point then it’s probably time to have a talk with them or find a new coach.
This is where it becomes a lot easier to differentiate whether a training style is right or wrong for a goal.
Doing a pile of burpees every session is not going to get you ready for your powerlifting meet.
What you need to be doing at that point is specifically working on getting better for that meet, by doing a properly structured, periodised program, with a lot of focus on getting stronger for the specific lifts you’ll be faced with.
What worked great for one goal (HIIT) isn’t the right answer when the goal has changed.
That’s not to say that HIIT wouldn’t be involved at all in your powerlifting preparations, but it absolutely shouldn’t be the main style of training you’re doing.
So, the answer is?
I guess the long answer to this is that if you work with a good enough coach, then they should be helping you pick the best training style, or styles that will help you get to your goal, whatever that is, as efficiently and safely as possible.
And the broader the goals, the wider the range of suitable ways to get there.
I was initially going to tackle diet in this article as well, but it’s already getting pretty long, so I’ll wrap it up there and make this my first ever two-part series.
The other half of this article will come out a fortnight from now, so stay tuned.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful, and thanks you so much for reading.
I’ll catch you next time.