If you’re not at least giving your clients these nutrition/lifestyle tips, you might be missing the ball, Sport.
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I was introduced to Marc through reading his guest spot on TG’s blog (aka dope blog #1.) I was instantly impressed and knew that all of you savages HAD to hear some of Marc’s epic advice and stuff. He is a wealth of knowledge, an excellent writer, someone worth a follow or 3, and also someone who I will be sharing a coffee with whenever our paths cross. Right, Marc…? ❤
Mr. Capistrano, take it away.
Compliance is the most important aspect of nutrition. As a coach, the most effective way of getting results for your client is by helping them build a set of habits that they can sustain over the long run. Telling them about all the things you’ll change may sell them on the process in that moment, but having your client leave the gym and apply all those changes are a different story. Instead of overwhelming them with a large list of changes that need to be made, I always recommend coaches implement a habit-based approach with their client.
I remember being introduced to this strategy when I was introduced to the work of the folks at Precision Nutrition. The beautiful thing about habit building is that they give your client a baseline of where they should be while helping them figure out how far off they are from their normal routine.
Before we go any further, let me get one thing straight. If your client is eating poorly, then they’re going to find success with any sort of structured diet plan especially when it addresses the amount of calories they take in. However, this doesn’t take into consideration the longevity of their success. The way to set your client up for long-term success is by structuring a plan, which simply adjusts what their current lifestyle is like.
The work involved isn’t in finding a diet on the Internet and simply imposing all of those rules on your client. Instead, it’s about listening to their eating habits/lifestyle and upgrading it without having them feeling overwhelmed about the whole thing. The hardest part you’ll find when explaining the “habit concept” to your client is that it’s not sexy. I’m realistic in that I know that most clients want something actionable. I’m usually asked “habits are nice, but what do I eat and when?”
With that being said, there’s a set of universal rules and habits that I feel can be applied no matter what type of diet you follow. These universal habits are not necessarily the secret door to ultimate and unending performance, but instead, a set of habits that are actionable and easy enough to attain which helps your client feel good about achieving their goals. If you take anything from this post, it’s that small victories matter to your client. Having them set a goal and capitalizing on that goal will implement a winning culture between you and your client. The more they succeed on a daily basis, the better they’ll feel about themselves. The better they feel about themselves, the more compliant they’ll be to the process.
One way of applying a habit based goal for your client is by giving them one goal at the end of every workout. This goal can be as small as increasing protein or getting to bed one hour earlier than they usually do. Once success and results are experienced, your client will want more and soon become self-sufficient. The same can be said for a training program. If you give a client a training program, we can all agree that the work and dedication becomes addictive when they experience some sort of adaption whether its body composition or performance based.
Here are the universal rules…
- Have a post-workout protein shake: Here’s the thing. Drinking a post-workout protein shake isn’t necessarily about the “anabolic window” or leucine’s effect on muscle. It’s important, but it’s not the main reason why I have clients do this. This is simply a way of helping your client set the stage for success.
If your client has the mentality that they’ve trained and refuelled with adequate protein, then they’re most likely to continue this success into the next meal (aka the post workout meal). If you leave your client to eat whatever they want after training, then post workout nutrition becomes inconsistent.
2. Dense Carbs before and after training: Again, this isn’t meant to be some sort of metabolic hack on insulin sensitivity, but more of a habit that helps your client utilize their food more efficiently. I cant even count the amount of times someone has asked me about why and when carbs should be placed in their diet.
Having your client understand that carbs are not bad and in fact help their performance in the gym will allow them to understand why and when they consume their carbs. This is important, as carbohydrates (along with fat) tend to be the most over consumed macronutrient for people struggling with fat loss.
3. Vegetables matter: Explain to your client that vegetables should be the focus of their meal with protein complimenting the meal. By no means am I telling you to have your client go exclusively plant based, but explain to them that vegetables are not only important for their fibre content, but also prevent your client from over-eating in general. Have every meal include some sort of fibrous vegetable.
4. Sleep: If your client is to make the first and most important change to their lifestyle, then have them improve their sleep. A lack of it can affect performance even before we touch a plate of food. The adaptions it provides hormonally are anabolic both physically and mentally. I won’t go in depth about the benefits of sleep because that deserves its own post all together, but it’s hard to argue that sleep doesn’t affect performance and body composition.
As mentioned before, the rules listed above are just as valuable psychologically as they are metabolically. Before attempting to apply any sort of strategy with your client, it’s important to let them know that diet and nutrition isn’t a race. Upgrade their lifestyle one habit at a time. Joel Embiid said it best when he told everyone to “trust the process”.
Marc, thanks for stopping by and gifting us with that f&#k-ton of awesome. You’re a beast.