Letter To My Younger Self: On Training, Life, Learning & Nutrition
You’ve been playing rugby for about 6 years now and you aren’t that bad, but then again you certainly want to get much better.
Lifting weights and sprinting has been your means of doing so – nice choice.
And after a few months dicking about with colourful dumbbells and a multi-gym station, you finally realised a barbell was the way to go.
Following Westside for Skinny Bastards program wasn’t the worst idea either, more luck than judgement, but hey at least you’re following a program.
You’ve lucked your way into a pretty good situation here and despite being a rookie you love training. The bug has truly sunk its teeth deep into you.
However, you’re knowledge is piss poor. Nutrition and training wisdom need to be installed into you, along with a firm set of principles, so get out your notepad.
There’s a lot of confusion and crap on the internet especially in regards to nutrition. Make sure you don’t fall prey to it.
Always be sceptical of new trends, and wary of coltish mentalities.
Keep it simple and stick to these basic guidelines:
- Eat tonnes of vegetables and fruit.
- Eat a source of protein at every meal.
- Eat more calories than you need to gain weight and less calories than you need to lose weight.
Another thing, don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself in moderation.
Enjoy a dessert or a drink once in a while, it’s important.
Memorable moments in your life are often spent alongside friends, family and lovers with a few too many drinks in your bloodstream and some delicious food in your belly; not sitting alone with a plate of chicken, broccoli and rice watching pumping iron for the 51st time.
Prioritize your psychological health as high as your physical health, you’ll have a more fulfilling life and also make better gains (you can make psychological and mental gains too you know…).
Furthermore, don’t be that annoying little shit that spreads misinformation – “diet coke causes cancer” or “sugar is more addictive than heroin”. Firstly, you’re wrong. Secondly, no-one gives a shit.
This is your journey not theirs, stop pressing your ideas onto other people and remember how I told you to be wary of coltish mentalities…
If you really want to learn more about nutrition grab a textbook, a journal, or a few degrees. Unfortunately the internet is too much of a minefield to trust anything, even information from good people with good intentions.
You’ve had many older lifters tell you to only do compound lifts.
Yes, you should prioritise compounds, just don’t make them the be all end all of your training.
As I know you want to be much more than big and strong. You want to be fast, fit, powerful, athletic and a good rugby player.
For that reason you should play tons of sports and perform countless movements; sprint, jump, roll, jog, weave, climb, crawl, carry, lift and have fun.
I know you’re in this for the long hall and this period is going to form the base for your whole career; so make it a big one.
Since the bigger your base = the higher the peak.
Two stand out examples of building a large base are Dmitry Klokov and Israel Folau, two outstanding performers in their respected sports.
Everyone tries to copy Klokovs current training regimen, but they don’t actually look at what made him the athlete he is today.
He has been quoted saying he used to “run around the gym and do every exercise” as a kid. That’s one of the main reasons he’s a fantastic athlete, he has huge base.
Israel Folau is a good example of how playing a variety of sports can provide you with novel and therefore unrivalled skill set. No-one can even come close to his incredible aerial skills that we’re learnt in a completely different sport, the AFL.
Check out his athletism –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uV8zSoc-GgM.
In short, play a lot of sports and practice lots of movements.
When you do your lifting, learn as many compounds exercises as you can.
Even the ones that seem like they’ll take a long time (Olympic lifts), trust me, just commit to it. You’ll soon wake up with a big inventory of exercises that you couldn’t believe you learnt. Get stuck in and do it NOW. Time is going to keep passing anyway.
Finally, if you have access get an experienced and knowledgeable coach/mentor they’re invaluable.
Learning and Knowledge:
I know you’re trying your best to learn but don’t spend too much time researching methods on the internet. You’ll just end up lost in a world of contradictions.
Methods don’t mean much anyway especially if you can’t understand principles behind them:
“As to methods, there may be a million and then some but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nevertheless you’ll still be drawn to methods, methods like dropsets, trisets, ascending, eccentrics etc. they appear exciting and beneficial but in reality they matter very little.
Principles are what matter.
Principles should form your program.
Put all your energy into learning them, and then create your own methods.
You’ll find principles from textbooks, scientific journals, higher education and experienced coaches/ mentors.
You’ll find methods on YouTube, online fitness articles and from your inexperienced peers.
Work hard. Keep Consistent. Love the process and actually make a difference in this industry.