It’s 2001. I’m sitting in a crowded conference room in Toronto, having my first Paul Chek experience.
At the time I only knew Chek as the Swiss ball guy, so I expected a speech about stabilizers, core, and functional training.
Thirty minutes later and Paul had covered soil health, the healing power of the sun, and how the next and final world war will be fought over clean water.
Perhaps it was seeing a room full of slightly stunned meatheads that caused Paul to stop mid-rant and mutter “I can talk about power cleans instead.” But he carried on.
Almost 20 years later, I admit to having a few Paul Chek moments.
Not that I make self-indulgent speeches about aligning one’s chakras.
Just the basics of fitness, strength training, and fat loss (programming, technique, energy systems, calories, macros) are so …. BASIC.
Matter of fact, they’re boring.
Me, I’d much rather talk about the stuff that I think really matters.
Like how lifestyle management is the most important factor in the long term sustainability of a program.
Or the number one saboteur of diets isn’t hunger or cravings or boredom, it’s anxiety. Structure, consistency, and coaching/accountability all help assuage anxiety.
How the “best” training frequency is one that matches stress and recovery. And not only varies between two people, but within the same person, depending on stress.
That if you don’t have an overall net positive feeling about “the process” and your time spent doing it, you’ll always be a fitness tourist, not a resident.
And contrary to the above, if you’re NEVER uncomfortable (hungry, tired, depleted, burnt out) you’re likely not pushing hard enough, and as such not creating an adaptation.
I can think of 100 things like this. Stuff that I find interesting and can read or talk about for hours.
Then I stop.
And get over myself.
Because saying “I’d much rather talk about the stuff that really matters” is just a pretentious way of saying “I wanna talk about stuff that’s important to me.”
And the basics are still the engine that drives everything.
You can figure out what childhood foods trigger a binge but you NEED to manage your calories to get into shape. And then keep getting better at it.
You can learn little programming tricks like managing volume & intensity in different populations, but you NEED to learn how to squat. And push, pull, hinge, row, and lunge. And then re-learn them all, over and over.
You can learn to rotate your supplements every 8 days (or esters every 8 weeks) and have dozens of recovery toys from Thera-Guns to rumble rollers, but you NEED to train beyond your comfort zone and yet stay within your limits. And then get good, restorative sleep.
I call it being Brilliant at the Basics. You could also call them the Boring Basics and not be wrong.
But interested or not, you NEED to master the basics. Because the basics ALWAYS work, when you work them hard and work them smart.
The other stuff? It all matters too.
Perhaps even more as you get older and see how everything fits together, and that trying to draw separations between your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being is impossible.
They’re all just separate chambers of the same strong, healthy, beating heart.
I can talk about that stuff for hours.
But first, I gotta go squat.