I put together a list of stuff I no longer do or believe (or maybe something I still do but for different reasons). In no order, here they are:
- I used to think foam rollers broke up little knots in our muscles. They don’t. But they do sometimes feel kinda good. So, if you want to do it- that’s cool. But be careful of the story you tell yourself.
- I used to think extensive warm-ups were necessary to bend your knees and hips a bit. 15-20 minutes of extra warm-up time spent rolling on the ground and laying on hard objects to get mobile and stabilize. Now, if the plan is to squat, I do some squats.
- I used to think progress in some way was always necessary. I’m okay now with repeating a weight or going a little lighter. Funnily enough, I seem to be getting stronger.
- I used to think pain and injury could be boiled down to a simple mechanical explanation- shoulder pain? Needs more mobility. Back hurts? probably a weak core or tight hip flexors. Pain is more complicated than that.
- I used to think everyone needed to squat and deadlift. While I love those lifts, if someone told me they only wanted to leg press and leg curl I’d be fine with that. More people moving is my hope.
- I used to think I was good at coaching and talking with people. Then I heard some people talk about motivational interviewing and I’ve got a long way to go.
- I used to think by the 10,000th hour I’d be an expert, or at least after 10 years, right? As I sit here I feel less like an expert and more like an imposter.
- I used to think people who threw out a research article and a neat graph were automatically smart. Now it’s more likely that they’re layering in some B.S. to up their game.
- I used to think my program was top notch, that my blend of sets and reps and %’s led to great strength gains. Then I realized I was training division 1 athletes who spent the summer and winter at home, who were already largely undertrained, and for whom lots of stuff likely would have worked. When you train people consistently for years on end, you see more of what works and what doesn’t.
- I used to think a lot of goofy stuff about nutrition. Now I’m happy if we can get a habit or 2 changed for the long term.
Maybe I’ll update this list in 10 more years. The positive side is that I’ve made mistakes- and, like Neil Gaiman says, if you’re making mistakes, it means you’re doing something.