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By Sean Van Staden

Columnist


A Better You: One needs to challenge old-school beliefs

Challenge the way things are done and find better solutions to your training.


Industries all have belief structures. These could be built on a lie and when you add a human being into the mix that has bought into the belief, it will take moving heaven and earth to help shift his adopted mindset. Let's take nutrition for example. We all believed carbs were critically important for carbo-loading before a big race and Bruce Fordyce was famous for eating potatoes and pasta on his couch days before a big race. At the time the belief in the nutritional space was that it was necessary for peak human performance. This notion was shattered by…

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Industries all have belief structures.

These could be built on a lie and when you add a human being into the mix that has bought into the belief, it will take moving heaven and earth to help shift his adopted mindset.

Let’s take nutrition for example.

We all believed carbs were critically important for carbo-loading before a big race and Bruce Fordyce was famous for eating potatoes and pasta on his couch days before a big race.

At the time the belief in the nutritional space was that it was necessary for peak human performance.

This notion was shattered by Tim Noakes years later once more credible data presented itself in research studies.

Everyone’s entire belief system was in question at the time, so it was easier to burn Noakes’ ideas at stake than to actually learn new information to change beliefs.

Think about all those old wives’ tales, like if you play in the rain you will get sick.

When last have you seen a professional footballer with 7% body fat get sick playing 90 minutes in the snow and rain?

Yet, you try and tell you mom or gran anything differently and see how they react.

It does take exceptional people to go against the grain and test “old school” belief systems because they feel it just doesn’t work or there is a better way of doing something.

Bless these people because without them, innovation would never push the human race forward.

Let’s turn to the latest craze thanks to Netflix documentary “The Keto Diet” that every Tom, Dick and Harry is on.

They successfully managed to change an old belief system that you need meat protein to grow and repair muscles.

They believe that the plants the animals are eating are more nutritious than the meat we are consuming.

Basically, why eat the cow when the nutrition lies in what they are eating?

Plant-based proteins are not all equal.

They come in various nutritional spectrums of low to high protein content quantities and substituting a heavy protein for an easier and more nutritious substitute in their minds can add vitality to your life and sport.

Wait two weeks and ask any Keto fan why he is eating a piece of meat and then just wait for the justification and excuses as to why Keto doesn’t work.

Their belief system is so entrenched in tradition that Keto becomes nothing more than a fad.

I equate starting a Keto diet to a weekend warrior that participates in park runs and then decides they want to run a marathon.

There is so much preparation work, knowledge and understanding needed in running a monster race like that and often you would need to seek expert advice and follow proven training programmes, yet Keto warriors just start running the marathon and then wonder why they fail.

By now, hopefully for every athlete “prehab” is a household name.

This is preventative injury training. Instead of always wanting to get bigger, stronger and faster, prehab is installed into your workouts which assists with injury prevention.

When you get injured, you got to the physio, they fix the pain and they give you exercises to fix your weaknesses.

Then you go to the biokineticist and they identify imbalance and they give you exercises.

Why not become proactive and take those exercises they give you when you get injured specific to your sports and add them to your daily routine?

The notion here is that if you see enough footballers or enough rugby players getting injured, you will start to see a common pattern occurring.

The exercise doesn’t change that much so why don’t you just add this to your daily routine and reduce the risk of that injury occurring.

If it does occur, then the severity of that injury won’t be as bad.

Sport is not about getting bigger, stronger and faster all the time.

Yes, you need to develop over the years for this but once you reach a threshold, getting 2% stronger in most sports won’t matter.

Adding additional core, prehab, mobility training, meditation, brain training and pliability training to your existing training framework will yield greater results than wanting to get 2% more on your bench press.

Challenge the way things are done and find better solutions to your training.

It is your duty to make sure you look after your body and keep in the game.

Push beliefs.

Sean van Staden is a sport scientist. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanVStaden or visit advancedsp.co.za.

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