Modern soceity hard wired to value and reward progress.  We are results driven and place a premium on hard work.  Whilst admirable this approach to exercise and nutrition can be a double edged sword.  Athletes, young and old, may be comprimising their training gains.  Tempering our enthusiasm can lead to far greater progress in the medium and long term.  Here, we explore how and why.


What are our ‘Ace Cards’ for training gains?

When it comes to training and fitness our Ace Cards include any strategy that will stimulate our bodies to become fitter and / healthier / leaner. Let’s illustrate this with some training examples for a squat:

Squat to a box

Tempo squat with a slow descent, pause at the bottom and a controlled ascent

Squat, no pause

Jump Squat

Each training method represents an ‘Ace Card’ bevcause they have the ability to stimulate adaptations and improvements in fitness.  Changes in the lifting speed, resistance used, repetitions employed and exercise type can also be considered ‘Ace Cards’.  If we look to examples from the nutrition world we might consider the following:

Being Calorie Neutral

Being in a Calorie Deficit

Monitoring Protein intake

Cutting out ‘Added Sugar’ products


Each one of these nutritional strategies will impact both performance and body composition, so they too, are ‘Ace Cards’.


How to play your Ace Cards

When it comes to nutrition and fitness people introduce a number of variables at the same time.  Playing all of your aces at once means that once you stop adapting where do you then go?  It’s better to play one ace at a time.

Let’s illustrate it with an example.  If you want to build some muscle and lose some fat, probably the most popular goal we encounter as a leading PT in Ascot.  The vast majority of clients will focus on what the scales say.  The scales will only tell you your mass, they will not tell you about any changes in your muscle to body fat ratio.  The scales will not inform your training gains.

If we play all of the following ‘Ace cards’ at the same time in a bid to build muscle and lose fat, how do we know how effective each one is?

Being in a Calorie Deficit

Increasing Protein intake

Monitoring daily Fat vs Carbohydrate intake

Reducing consumption of foods with Added sugar

One part of our original goal was to build muscle.  In order to make this training gain you will need both energy and protein.  Therefore, there is a lot to be said for actually keeping everything typical and only focussing on being calorie neutral – there could be a lot of fat loss and increased muscle purely from this one ‘Ace Card’.  Once results plateau then explore increased protein intake.  Having dialled in the protein intake it may be beneficial to replace foods with added sugar or sugary foods with more natural alternatives.


Nutrition and Training are more marathon than sprint for most people

Taking time to dial in training and nutrition one sensible step at a time is one of the most overlooked issues that we expereince in our industry today.  Peoples impatience for ‘hacks’ and lack of understanding of the human body can result in strategies that really are ‘Two steps forward, one step backwards’.  Exceptions to this are athletes that ‘make weight’ for their sports, who over the years have developed various strategies to cut mass before competition.  However, these techniques are often dangerous and do not represent a viable option for most athletes and members of the general public.