Physical Preparation Coach
My background and philosophy in coaching is heavily influenced by Sport Performance. My true core of coaching is training and developing athletes and racers. But, I also work with a lot of working professionals who enjoy the luxury of having a coach helping them with their fitness. A lot of these clients are Entrepreneurs, Self-Employed, or they work some very high performing jobs!
Other than wanting to create a facility and something of my own, one of the main reasons I never wanted to stay coaching in college, or pursue being a Strength & Conditioning Coach for a Pro Sports Team (both of these would've been awesome opportunities by the way), was the fact that I never wanted to be tied down to training just one group of training population. I wanted to have no limits on who I was allowed and not allowed to train. And to be honest, when I first came to this realization, I never would have imagined that I would end up helping as many Working Professionals as I have had up to this point in my career. There is a lot of working professional that just happen to take their fitness very seriously!
I truly enjoy working with this population for a few reasons. I believe how you do something, is how you do everything. And what makes them successful in life, is also the same things that makes them successful within their fitness journey!
With this group in mind, I wanted to write a Lifestyle Blog that was unique to the working professionals. I'm going to share with you some overall fitness concepts that I have learned from working with Athletes, that have been critical to building success stories with our Working Professional population. It is (or it should be now) common knowledge that by giving attention to your health and fitness, can help allow you to perform at a higher level in your career. Here is a short list of benefits...
Being a business owner myself, I get included in on a lot of fitness related conversations that Entrepreneurs share with each other. And I also see these same trends within the high performing working professionals. Most are great ideas in order to improve physical performance to match their work performance, but some need more attention.
Lets see how your fitness and career share a symbiotic relationship!
Managing STRESS Levels
It's very important to understand that training is a stress that you're placing on your body. It's a stress just like the stress that you deal with difficult customers, pain of having to fire an employee, or a lifestyle of a bad diet. The good thing about training, is that you get to control that stress and manipulate it to allow you to adapt and raise your levels of fitness.
Without getting too deep into details, you have to realize that stress is accumulated as a whole in your body. Your body doesn't save energy for work, life, and then the gym. It gets lumped into one big pile of energy for the day. And all too often, these working professionals have stressful days of work, only to rush to the gym to "unload their stress levels" with their hardest workouts of the week.
Does this sound familiar? If it does, don't worry, I can totally see why this would make sense and/or it may make you feel temporarily feel better (from endorphins/distraction/etc). But, you have to 100% understand this will not be the best way to improve fitness results, especially if this is your normal routine. You're going to leave a lot of physical progress on the table, and even worse get hurt/sick if you do not respect this reality!
You see, your body likes to take stress for short periods on time, and then have the time to recover/adapt to it. If you do not give it that time to recover/adapt, then stress becomes a chronic environment, and it will begin to break you down instead of providing growth. Think add some STRESS, and then RECOVER from it. And because your body see stress as a whole, your workouts have to factor into this big pile of stress as well if you want to see positive results from your workouts!
So here are a few possibilities for you to handle your workouts with your stressful days of work!
1.) The 9-5 Professionals
You are someone who works long 9-5 hours, Monday through Friday and still like to train...You can still train, but just realize that for you, more is probably not better. Leave enough room in the tank for 2-3 good workouts a week and maybe 1-2 light workouts on other days. Understand that if the day of work beat you up, don't be afraid to lighten up the workout to live to fight another day. This is not you being a sissy, it's being smart so that you don't hurt yourself and have to spend the next handful of weeks feeling like a sissy because you can't train.
2.) The Short Term Hectic Professionals
You are someone who has a job that is pretty low stress most of the time. But you have 1-2 days out of the week that are really stressful. You will want to save your hard workouts for days or time periods that don't conflict with your hard days at work. Make sure you have a day or two between hard days at work and in the gym. This will allow stress levels from the gym to come down in time before your next hectic time at your job.
3.) The Alternating Professionals
If you're in a situation where you have high stress days on and off during the week just based on your schedule, but you know the next day or two will be easier. Place your hard workout on the high stress work day. This way, you can place all of your stressful activities on one day, and you can use the following days doing less stressful things on an off/easy day of work.
These are just a couple possibilities of how to help manage your stress levels between work and training. There are a lot of different options and scenarios to play out between different people, different jobs, different programs, and different goals. But as a Working Professional, you have to understand or take in account of juggling your stress levels. Don't let stress get too high for too long, and then stay high because you want to get your workouts in. We need time to recover, if we don't, you'll just end up with high levels of stress 24/7 and never giving your body a chance to recover. This will be one of the fastest ways to spin your wheels with your training progress and even worse, cause damage to yourself.
Working professionals are driven and hard working people. They know how to suck it up and push through. This is an amazing intangible quality to have that can also become a weakness when it is mismanaged. If they let the candle burn at both ends, they will see some solid training results for a small handful of months, but if they don't address their stress management, they will soon run out of steam and their training progress will come to a halt. The working professionals who understand how to do this, can maintain a well balanced approach of training hard and working hard in their respective careers!
Nutrition for the Working Professional
This is something that really needs to be addressed in this population of Working Professionals. Now more than ever, we're exposed to many different diets to follow every year (most that just get recirculated by changing there names by the way). But there have been two common trends that Entrepreneurs and high level Working Professionals love to dive in to. And before we do that, I just want to give you a quick biology background on food and the human body.
The calories that we consume on a daily basis support us in living. We need to eat, or we'll eventually die without calories. However, when the word "calories" get brought up, the conversation typically gets discussed with the comparison to working out. And that's understandable. It's not too hard to hear that the best way to lose weight is to move more and eat less. It's an energy equation. But what we don't talk about enough, is how the calories are distributed throughout the body. Majority of the calories that we consume are used for our organs (especially the brain, in which runs amazing on sugar), daily activities, and actually they are way less responsible for working out than what we tend to think.
So with this in mind, you have to realize that as Working Professionals, what do you do all day long at work? You problem solve with your brain. Your brain needs calories to operate and to operate at a high level. And if you have a job where you're moving a lot on your feet, you'll be needing more calories to support your increase daily activities as well.
So now what? If you have a demanding job, that you need to just be shoving calories down your throat? Not exactly...
A common current theory and practice that has been popular with Working Professionals is to practice long periods of fasting, going low carb, and eating very light (small chicken salads for example) to stay mentally sharp in their job. A lot of these same people who follow these methods will make claims that they do feel mentally better, can eat out at dinner meetings and stay leaner, and that they overall feel better.
I can believe these claims are true. I've followed these approaches too at different times of my coaching career. And they work up to a point. You see, if your diet kind of sucks, and you make a switch to just not eating like crap, you will probably feel better just based off of the fact that you've eliminated these "crap" foods. But if you're not eating throughout the day, depriving yourself from carbs (sugar that the brain needs to function at high capacity), and just trying to snack on small salads, you might be swinging the pendulum back the other direction a little too far and missing the boat to really perform at your highest levels in your career. Let alone, supporting your gym workouts too!
This is where, understanding that what works for high level athletes, has tremendous carry over to high level working professionals like yourself! Give your body what it needs to do the job it needs to do. If you're depriving yourself for too long, you won't even realize how you'll begin to under perform at work and in the gym.
In this Lifestyle Blog, I don't want to turn this into a Meal Plan, but I would like to offer you some suggestions that can help you get in that middle ground between, eating like crap to strict depriving diet plans...Follow these rules and watch how much more productive you'll be at your job (and in the gym) and watch your body change without having to deprive yourself!
1.) Eat at least 3 meals a day (including breakfast). This will help give your body the calories it needs to function all day.
2.) Consume lean protein (eggs, turkey, chicken) at every meal. Your muscles need it from your training, and it will help support fullness and your metabolism.
3.) Consume complex carbs (oatmeal, potatoes, rice) at every meal as well as vegetables and use fruit to snack on. This will help you avoid daily cravings and help keep you away from snacks and donuts that are brought to work. You will now have great mental focus, energy, and will severely reduce cravings during work.
4.) If you have a dinner planned after work, just be sure to not snack extra throughout the day. Also, when you increase your metabolism through working out, increasing caloric intake, eating protein and carbs, the dinners will have much less impact on your physique to compared to when you're depriving yourself. Also, make good options at these dinners!
5.) Eat to perform. Just like high level athletes fuel up to perform on the field, you need to eat to perform out in the work force. Food is your friend, not the enemy!
I get it, at this point you might be saying, "Joel this sounds all well in good, but I still want to lose weight and you're telling me to not shy away from food...I want to feel good and look good to help my professional appearance!"
Listen I understand. And in this last part to this, I'm going to tell you one thing that should really help you out. Focus on building your nutrition lifestyle around the 5 points above. Once you feel like you're doing a good job (not even a great job) at this, focus on pulling back 300-500 calories per day along with training hard in the gym. This will be enough to help you lean out but still be eating enough to operate at full capacity at your job too!
The working professionals who try to follow depriving diets plans to maintain appearances and mental alertness, these people 9 out of 10 times will run into problems with their energy levels and will want to resort to eating whatever they can get their hands on. They will feel good at first, but if you're nutrition isn't supporting your work lifestyle nor your training program, you will soon run into a brick wall. The ones who have the most success, understand that eating for success is a big part of the game!
I hope you see by now, that yes you understand there is this importance to training and nutrition in regards to your working career, but by mismanaging the fitness side of things can actually lead to results that you don't want. You want to respect these rules to training and nutrition so you can let them work for you and not against you! Manage your stress and eat to perform!