Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, May 16, 2016

My top three coaching lines from other coaches

I love a good one-line quote. Even more so, I love a good motivational line or motto.

Not just any motivational line, though.

I like ones that are actionable, listener-centered, and punchy.

Actionable - meaning you hear this and have something to do.

Listener-centric - meaning it's about you, the listener, not me, the speaker.

Punchy - meaning it's memorable, quotable, and hits solidly home.

Here are my top three:

1) John Berardi. "How is that working for you?"

Why I like it: It seems confrontational, but it's only that if you are being defensive about it.

It's a handy line for fitness pros and anyone who gets asked for advice. Advice about anything - losing body fat, or gaining muscle, or earning money, or happy in life - whatever!

It's a great way to follow up any request for comment on a plan of action.

"I'm cutting out carbs."
"How is that working for you?"

"I'm doing 100 pushups a day."
"How is that working for you?"

And so on.

If it's getting the person to their goals, it's a good plan. If it's not, you've basically called them out on it and asked them to ask themselves, "What now?"

This is really useful when you get asked for advice by people who don't actually want any.

"How should I work out?"
"Try (such-and-such)."
"Oh, I'm doing (some other plan), I'll keep doing that."

2) Kelly Starret. "Make a better decision."

Why I like it: You can't ask for more actionable, more listener-centric, and punchier than this one.

It's widely useful. About to scarf down another piece of cake, and you already had the one piece you'd decided you'd have before hand?
Make a better decision.

About to let your back round on a heavy deadlift because you're too tired to keep your back flat?
Make a better decision.

About to do a shoulder-heavy workout without mobilizing your routinely achy shoulders first?
Make a better decision.

You reach a lot of decision points during the day, and often it's clear which is the good path and which is the bad path. Tell yourself, when you're about to choose the bad path because it's easier - make a better decision.

There are genuinely times when you don't know what the right path is. That's fine - no line or quote or motto is going to get you through everything. You might be heading down the wrong path confident it is the right one. But this quote gets me through more bad forks in the road than anything else.

3) Dan John. "The body is one piece."

Why I like it: It's easy to think of the body as a series of parts. It's easy to get caught up in fixing one piece without regard to the rest.

Thinking "my knee hurts, how do I fix my knee"?
Well, what about your ankle and hip? And your foot? And abs? And gluteals?

Thinking about your chest strength?
How about your shoulders, your back, your neck, your arms?

The truth is that if you look at your body as one functioning unit, and address problems with part of it by addressing the issues with all of it, you will do better. The opposite is true, too - addressing one area will spill over benefits for the rest. You aren't a collection of parts, you are one unified whole.

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