“Manners maketh man”, stated actor Collin Firth playing Galahad in the action-comedy “Kingsman” (2014). Although this quote originates from English headmaster William Horman (1440-1535), you probably associate this quote with some serious butt-kicking in an English pub. Although manners certainly hold great value, this post is not focused on manners; rather, I will discuss how habits maketh both man and woman.
Teacher F.M. Alexander (1865-1955) once said “People do not decide their futures. They decide their habits, and their habits decide their futures.” Through my years of coaching I’ve observed several different styles of training and nutrition. Naturally, I’ve tried my hand at several of these styles. For training, I’ve made attempts at linear, undulating, and block periodization, a pseudo-Bulgarian method, a Russian squat cycle, or some sick combination of all of them at once.
For nutrition, I’ve slathered on the extra butter attempting a ketogenic state, I’ve gone high carb and cried wet salty tears upon a pile of white rice to make it go down easier, and I’ve eaten everything in sight on flex dieting because it “fit my macros”.
I’ve always looked for the “best” method because I’m greedy and want all the gainzzz. This hunt down the rabbit hole, although very educational, prevented me from accomplishing what I now believe to be THE MOST IMPORTANT training philosophy/method/style of all time… Are you ready for the most underwhelming secret to training and nutrition?
Ladies and gentlemen, I am no wizard like headmaster William Horman (I’m pretty sure he was a headmaster at Hogwarts…), great teacher like F.M. Alexander, or classy spy like Galahad, but allow me to say this:
Habits Maketh Man
Why do strict diet plans fail? Because people stop following them. Why do intense training programs fail? Because people get burnt out. Why do almost all New Year’s resolutions cease to exist by late February? You get the point. Of course I’m speaking for the common man, but needless to say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your body composition or training goals. On top of that, we are busy people with lives that extend outside the gym. We have jobs to do, kids to feed, and lives to live! If you haven’t already, check out Coach Grant’s wisdom in his “Training for Life” blog post and figure out your priorities.
Sometimes the last thing on our mind is to prep-cook chicken breast for the upcoming week. Or maybe the thought of another dry chicken breast grating down your gullet is enough to make you buy chicken thighs instead (wave goodbye to those gainz because now your macros are off by 7.639%. Tsk tsk.). The point I am trying to make is that small changes over time lead to huge benefits down the road—sort of like that Roth IRA I haven’t started yet… BUT DON’T WORRY! I’ll throw 100K into it next year!
Instead of following the same training routine as the Chinese gymnastics team or rationalizing that a 72 hour fast followed by a juice detox will give you the most gainz of all time and that your life is dependent on these gainz, I challenge you to simply take note of your habits and then ask yourself, “are these habits pushing me towards my goal?” Do you buy a fast food breakfast every morning before work? Do you stay up too late watching television and moan and groan as you crawl out of bed the next morning? We all have a pretty decent idea of what is healthy and unhealthy. We also have a pretty good idea about what we could do better to reach our goal. Instead of going cold turkey on any of your “not so great” habits, let’s figure out how we can make these habits just a little bit better.
Just ask yourself, “How can I improve this?” Start slow and build up your discipline by making it easy. You should be at least 80% confident you can accomplish the task/goal. Instead of saying “I’m not going to eat fast food all week”, start with “I’m not going to order soda all week”. You order a water instead of a soda at the drive through. You shut off the TV 15 minutes early. Marten puts 5% of his paycheck into a Roth IRA.
You’ve just won the day, folks. You’ve gotten just a tiny bit closer to your goals. Next week, bump it up a notch. Remember, every day is an opportunity to better yourself. Keep building those habits one brick at a time, because these habits will decide your future. Habits Maketh Man.
Marten Baur, CPT
Certified Personal Trainer - ACE
CrossFit Level 1 - CrossFit
Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach - BioForce HRV
Marten is strength and conditioning coach with a passion for Olympic Weightlifting and optimizing human biomechanics. He is a certified personal trainer through the American Counsel of Exercise and has received certifications ranging from CrossFit level 1 trainer, USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach, and Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach. He has also completed a 100 hour internship with USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame Coach Bob Takano, gaining a deeper understanding of the classical lifts, strength training, and program design. Marten’s interest in pain-free movement and performance optimization shows through his programming and coaching style. Originally from Lander, Wyoming, Marten moved to Laramie to pursue higher education. He is currently finishing two Bachelor’s degrees in Kinesiology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming. After graduation, he hopes to continue his education at physical therapy school. Marten is excited to teach what he is passionate about, and is proud to be a part of the Altitude Fitness team. He enjoys the opportunity to impact the health of the Laramie community and learn more about himself in the process. He enjoys outdoor activities (backpacking, mountain biking, climbing, mountaineering), playing music, and training for weightlifting competitions.