Shit We’ve Learned This Week – Luke Watson’s Transformation Seminar

As someone who earns a living teaching others, it’s often asked of me why I attend so many workshops and courses.  Well, I firmly believe that if you think there’s nothing left to learn, then you’re almost ready to start your schooling, once you get past your own ego.

The past couple of months we haven’t been traveling as much, so Zoe and I have been booking into as many seminars as we can.  One of these seminars was given by Luke Watson, from Code Fitness in Newark Upon Trent.  The seminar covered basic aspects of how Code Fitness trains people for fat loss and physique.

It was wonderful to sit in a lecture and hear someone with so many great transformations speak many parallels to what we teach at Muscle Nerds.  Below, I will write about some of the tidbits that we picked up from Luke, and add in some of our own viewpoints.  We have written in quotations the concepts that Luke spoke about.

Upon opening, Luke said something that forms the cornerstone of our own teachings…

“Training has to fit into people’s lives, and they have to enjoy it.  If it doesn’t fit into their day, don’t give it to them.”

“Make it as pain free and stress free as possible.  When eating becomes a chore, or a stress, they’re more likely to say, Oh F*ck this, it’s too hard, and go off plan.”

When dealing with the majority of the personal training industry, which is the general population, if you want success, you must set your client up for success.  If they are given the greatest program in the world, and they cannot or do not comply to the program, then it is no longer the greatest program in the world.

We’ve written about this many times…stop making your general population clients train like pro athletes.  Yes, they should work hard.  Yes, they should do some foundation lifts like deadlifting, bench pressing, and pull-ups, to name a few.  But if they don’t like to squat, then don’t make them squat.  There are tons of other exercises that build the legs other than squats.  A workout should be challenging, even difficult, but it should also bring to your client joy, and a sense of accomplishment.

When looking at nutrition…”if your client doesn’t like meat in the morning, then don’t make them eat meat.”

Whoa…I know that’s going to give some of you a mental seizure…and a year ago it would have given me one as well, but he has a great point.  If your client is stressed going into a meal, then that’s going to change the way in which the body digests and assimilates the meal.  In our opinion there is something magical about meat for breakfast, but if the thought of it gives your client the shits, then why cause unnecessary stress and worry?  Instead, what about giving your client a protein shake with some berries and added fat?  Maybe throw a pinch of spinach in with it as well.  They will enjoy the meal more, it’s fast and easy, and no stress.

“We give the majority of carbs around training, and higher fasts around the evening.”

Ok, so no big revelation for carbs around training…I will go into the reasoning why this is a good idea in another article.  However, fat loading at night?  Why?

It’s a very simple concept that I can’t believe I haven’t thought of before.  Basically, you’re going into an overnight fast, so why not slow down the response from the food so that your body has more available nutrients overnight.  Now, I’m not sure if I buy the concept 100%, and there are good reasons why you might want to give the digestive tract some rest (which is one reason I recommend not eating 6-8 meals a day unless in a feasting phase of programming), but the concept makes sense.  So it’s definitely something I would try with clients, and a tool I will add to my toolbox.  Mark Coles from M10 turned me on to fat loading for breakfast and the last meal of the day, and it’s worked very well for some of our clients, so it might be a strategy to try for yourself.

On training…

“Don’t make too many changes in one go. Make one or two changes at a time.”

I really liked this.  People do make too many changes, and they change programs too often.  The majority of your clients do not need a completely new training scheme every 2-4 weeks.  In my experience, if the program is solid, most people can go 6 weeks without needing a major change.  It’s not to say you shouldn’t modify the program, however.  Some of Luke’s suggestions were adding sets, modifying rep ranges up and down, and slightly decreasing rest…he was big on creating more density in training.

“High reps at the beginning, strength in the middle, high reps at the end.  You have to build up people’s work capacity to be able to train the right way toward the end of the program.”

He is 100% correct.  Success in physique training revolves around doing more work progressively throughout the program.  At Muscle Nerds we preach more work and more food.  It’s a concept we took from Dr Jade Teta.  Do more, eat more.  Do less, eat less.  Here is an example of a three phase periodization that might be useful for physique :

Phase I – German Body Comp – Lower body 15-20 reps, Upper body 10-12 reps

Phase II – German Volume Training with 4-5% principle – Week 1 – 10X10, Week 2 – 10X9, Week 3 – 10X8, Week 4 – 10X10

Phase III – Giant Sets – 6 Exercises as a giant set 10-12 reps per exercise

“At the start of your program, don’t work on weight, work on work capacity”

What Luke is saying is to put the ego to the side.  Work on building density and building tolerance to high volume work.  To do this, we cannot work close to failure.  We must work on accumulation of fatigue and tolerance to buffering hydrogen.  A strategy that I picked up from Joel Jamieson at www.8weeksout.com is to take care of increasing type I fiber hypertrophy and efficiency.  Type I fibers are highly packed with mitochondria.  In order to make your body a fat burning machine, increasing type I development will not only allow you to burn through energy at a much higher rate, but it will also make you STRONGER and stronger with endurance as well.  Yes, type I fibers have contractile abilities and if you don’t give them some attention, you are limiting your performance.  This is one of the many reasons that we will front load steady state aerobics on our clients, and progress to harder style intervals over the course of a training plan.

Luke’s delivery was excellent and we couldn’t believe it was his first time speaking.  In fact, he delivered so much information in such a simple manner, there were almost no questions at the end of the lecture, so we went to the gym floor and went over some practical training techniques.  I picked up a few new technique tricks and was reminded of some others that I had forgotten about.

In closing, we highly recommend taking a trip to Code Fitness to hear Luke lecture.  The area is gorgeous, the facility is fantastic, and Luke cusses as much as I do, so that’s two thumbs up from me.