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Autoregulation – Modifying workouts when you aren’t feeling your best

The biggest value in having a coach is in coming up with a plan B.

Anyone can write a program or find one on the internet, but it takes knowledge, skill, and even some intuition to modify that program on the fly.

If you never need modifications, I call you a unicorn. If you frequently need modifications, I’m sorry for your luck and I know how you feel.

Autoregulation how we modify your training program for any given day. It demonstrates both the science and the art side of coaching. I could gather a gather a bunch of data about you:

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Helping Someone Solve Their Own Problems

This one is hard because, in my opinion, you help more when you try to help less. It’s like dating: if you reallllly like someone (a.k.a. they are hot), it never happens. Part of that is our negativity bias, but you also don’t want to sound like too much of a know-it-all.

There's a pile of green good balls on the ground with a butterfly sitting atop them. The heart says, "Brain, LOOK!" The brain, staring at a single black ball of bad, responds, "Not NOW! Can't you see I'm BUSY?!"
Credit: The Awkward Yeti

I have learned to say less. I want them to do all the talking if possible. Partly because I don’t like talking. But mostly because listening is where the magic happens. They will tell you everything you (they?) need to know.

I just try to ask leading questions and be on their team. If I knew what they knew, thought what they thought, and believed what they believed, what state would I be in? What goals would I find realistic? What habits would I be interested in changing?

This works for general goal setting, but I have to tell you that this alone doesn’t do much other than help them stay in the gym rather than backpedaling. The people who see the most results are the ones who are just embarrassed by their body, their health, and their actions.

So not everything can be sunshine and rainbows.

How do you know if you reach the “right way”?

I’m looking for a flush scapula on the rib cage. If I see it coming off of the rib cage in any area, then I want to fix it. The only other situation where this doesn’t work is when someone is substituting scapular elevation for protraction.

Scapular winging is likely when the rib cage is wide. When you look down on it from above, it looks more like a rectangle and less like a circle. This makes it difficult for the scaps to swing around because they have to make a sharp turn.

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Are You Ready to Change?

Why do humans get ulcers? It’s a bit of a dated topic at this point. Robert Sapolsky’s renown book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” came out 25 years ago. The simple points of stress are pretty well understood, especially in health and fitness.

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Starting a Healthy Habit

Do you have a workout schedule or do you just go when you feel like it?

I feel like that question is rhetorical, but for clarity:

Failing to plan your healthy habits ensures you will not hit your goals.

Nobody has the willpower and free schedule for “I’ll just do it when I have time”. The most successful people block off the time to workout, prepare food, and get ready for bed at a reasonable time. And that time is sacrosanct.

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