Is Your Training Total Poop

“Right now you have 5 to 20 pounds of toxic poop rotting inside your colon.”

When you are an obsessive meathead like myself and constantly scouring the internet in order to stay on top of the latest fitness science, research and implementation this is the shit (quite literally!) that pops up as ads on YouTube.

And if you’ve learned two things about me from reading this blog over the years it’s that 1) I will turn nearly anything a metaphor for training and 2) I can’t stand people degrading the industry that I love by putting out absolute bullshit.

So with that spirit in mind I am going to cut right to the chase and tell you the two things that are holding back our clients from making the most progress possible.

Now, notice I say our clients and not just “clients”. Because what is holding back most people from making progress – namely, lack of training consistency, following an inept training program, not training in a positive, energizing environment, not tracking progress, lack of social support – we have taken out of the equation for our clientele. They are doing all these things. We make sure of it.

If I really want to get specific about it, the two things that are holding our clients back is really one thing that causes another thing.

While we are bigger believers in tracking data – weights, speeds, paces, reps – and that progress in those data points are critical, most clients have unreasonable expectations as to what that progress should actually look like.

This is not entirely their fault. Most people who come to us are either relatively new to training as a whole or they are relatively new to training in a way that is properly structured. So when they first start with us, progress is accelerated. This is what is known in the industry as “newbie gains”.

But as time soldiers on the rate of progress decreases and this can wreak psychological havoc. And while this slowing down of progress is normal, typical and in some ways essential, it can also be hard to accept.

This lack of understanding and acceptance is mistake number one. Not listening to our coaching instructions and making small, reasonable progress in everything you do.

And this leads to mistake number two: rather than taking things slow and steady, they overshoot the target and sacrifice technique, focus and full range of motion in order to “make it happen”. So squats get more shallow, deadlifts lack proper bracing and wall balls end up without full range of motion.

I cannot stress enough how crappy reps done faster or with more weight are a terrible idea when it comes to your long term progress.

The more bad reps you do, the more that movement pattern gets ingrained in your body. And you will continue to do reps in that poor way, even when the weights are manageable.

If you play a simple violin passage poorly 10,000 times, you won’t get any better at that passage. And it will be harder to unlearn all that bad practice. Your hands will want to fall into that same, familiar pattern it already knows.

The solution to this problem is pretty obvious and simple. Keep your ego in check and only progress the parameters of the exercise in a way that allows you to do it properly. The dividends it will pay in the long run are massive.

(SIDE NOTE: I’m not referring to injury prevention here. It’s pretty rare that I see someone lift it a way that will be injurous to them and if they did we would intervene immediately. I’m talking more about short cuts that ultimately sacrifice the optimal outcome of a movement)

I’ll give you one more metaphor to drive that last point home (you had been warned!). When Kyle and I first built out the gym, one of the biggest jobs was installing the floor. The tiles in the Strength Club are actually a complex, interlocking system and between the columns, the corners, the wood platform inlays and the fact that we are not professional floor installers, the job got hard in a hurry.

One of the things we quickly learned was that if we were not meticulous about laying the first tile in a row, they would veer off course massively by the time we got across the room. A two centimeter deviation at one wall became a two meter deviation in no time.

And this is what will happen to you if you chase weights or times rather than putting the effort and focus and restraint to do things really well. Your training will veer off course and your proverbial tile flooring will be as crooked as a barrel of fish hooks.

Finally, you don’t have 5-20lbs of toxic poop in your colon. Poop is not toxic and having some in your intestines prior to voiding is completely typical. Nothing to worry about.

Your colon will do its job. But it’s up to you to make sure your training isn’t total shit.