Starting Strength Novice Barbell classes are beginning October 16th!
Learn what barbell strength training can do in an environment of teamwork, excellence, and respect while supporting and progressing alongside others under the guidance of an experienced Starting Strength Coach.
Novice classes run for 8 weeks Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6pm. Classes are approximately 90 minutes in length. Every session is not required. No prior experience required.
Classes are capped at 4 lifters only so that each individual receives ample coaching.
Contact us to get signed up. Space if very limited.
Adapting the template for the individual
In part three we utilized the fundamental principles of nutrition to create a meal plan for a hypothetical female athlete. In part four, the final installment of the series, we will discuss how to adjust the meal plan for the individual.
Before any adjustments are made we must first ask is the athlete progressing optimally? If the answer is yes, then why consider making an adjustment at all? Only if the athlete is not progressing optimally should an adjustment be considered.
I want to caution that the scale is simply a measurement of weight gain and weight loss and cannot always be used to assess whether the athlete is progressing optimally or not. The goal in our past example is fat loss. What if our athlete is losing fat without scale changes, as evidenced by the mirror, bodyfat, and physical measurements? It’s a consideration to continue to adjust the calories but perhaps the goal is already being met? What if an athlete wants to bulk up for powerlifting and the scale is not moving? That could be acceptable if her lean mass and performance are increasing at optimal rates. In some cases the scale does ultimately determine success and failure such as in weight class sports. Make sure the athlete is progressing optimally towards the actual goals and not simply the metrics.
If the athlete is not progressing optimally it will typically be related to two categories: compliance, and the meal plan itself.
Compliance is of the utmost importance in nutrition coaching. The meal plan can be perfect but if it is only followed 50% of the time then success is unlikely and the coach will not have the necessary data to adjust. Issues with compliance are related to understanding, measurement error, and dedication.
It is important that the athlete understand what is expected of them by the coach regarding the meal plan. The meal plan should be simple and easy to read. The coach should take time to answer questions and explain commonly misunderstood items. For example: it’s not uncommon for my nutrition clients to miss the “anytime” section of my meal template. In that case the athlete could be missing hundreds of calories. During check in the coach should not assume the athlete completed the meal plan exactly as written and should ask the athlete to describe what they consumed. Make your materials as easy to understand as possible. Teach, answer questions, and ask for return demonstration of material. If you are the athlete ask lots of questions, especially is something seems unclear. Compliance is impossible without understanding.
Measurement error occurs when the athlete is either not taking the time to measure food or is doing it with improper tools. Eyeballing a cup of rice can quickly turn from 1 cup to 1.5 cups to 2 cups as the person becomes hungry. The caloric difference between 1 cup and 2 cups of rice is significant by itself but imagine the error compounded over multiple items throughout a week. It becomes impossible to make 100-200 calories adjustments when the athletes actual daily calories fluctuate 500+/- due to measurement error. The athlete should have an accurate food scale, measurement devices, and should measure everything to assure accuracy.
Dedication is the most challenging to address and the most common issue of compliance. The three most common issues I have faced regarding dedication are: food preference, eating outside the home, and the emotional and physical challenge of eating below or above maintenance.
The easiest to address is food preference. If I prescribe rice and chicken and the client absolutely hates rice and chicken then they are very unlikely to follow the plan. If it’s the sixth week of rice and chicken and the client is really bored of rice and chicken, then they are very unlikely to follow the plan. It’s my job to know what other arrangements of foods have similar macronutrients and be able to substitute. It also makes since to provide the client with substitutions they can make themselves. Dislike rice but love quinoa? Easy swap. Dislike chicken but enjoy beef, I am sure we can decrease the fat macros from somewhere else in the program. It’s possible to even accommodate special requests. If a client “needs” ice cream; for compliance, it makes the most since to program it in and accommodate the macros, rather than face an unexpected 500 calorie bolus. In the end calories and macros matter most anyway. Food selection should be variable and easily adjusted.