Why You Shouldn’t Care About The 10%

As coaches, we tend to argue over whose methods are superior.  That’s part and parcel of the business.

And it has to be like that; otherwise we would never grow and evolve.

But, for as much benefit as there is for ‘healthy debate’ amongst professionals, one thing is for certain; our debating is confusing the absolute shit out of the general population!

Seriously.  I don’t know how many new clients I get that come to me expecting to never eat a carb again.  Or how many still think that ‘weights are for muscle, cardio is for fat loss’.

Or, my personal favourite, ‘aren’t eating eggs more than twice a week dangerous for you?’.

Let’s face it; we, as an industry, have circulated enough conflicting advice through various mediums that the end user no longer knows who to believe.

So what do people do?  They either a) suffer from paralysis by analysis and do nothing, or they b) find one ‘guru’ or philosophy to follow, and ignore all contradicting advice on the basis that their ‘guy’ is the best around.

This has, in turn, escalated to the point where people ‘wear’ their gurus branding as if it’s a badge of honour.

It has all become very tribe-like in nature.  Once you’re in, you’re in; and you’re part of the family, but if you’re on the outside, then your methods are wrong, and you’re evil to the point whereby you’re probably responsible for cancer, war crimes, and even the creation of Sex & The City*


Think about this list of various health & fitness brands.  You can almost picture the type of person who would be drawn to each – Poliquin, CHEK, The Paleo Diet, Body Trim, The Atkins Diet, Crossfit…The Garland Diet**

And we’re no longer talking about John Smith end-user, either.  Fitness professionals are also subscribing to one guru, and, much like a groupie following a rock band on their nationwide tour, these professionals hang on to the guru’s every word as if it were gospel!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  This isn’t a problem, per se.  In fact I’d prefer more coaches, especially new ones, to learn entire systems of training philosophy before they then branch out and explore other concepts.

But that’s the problem – they never do!  And it’s a shame, because instead of opening their minds to other methods, most coaches instantly dismiss other methods before giving them a chance to explain their logic.  This is where coaches get into a egotistical p*ssing contest about who has the better guru…

But here’s the funny part – if you were to break down each of the experts philosophies into their core components, you would actually find that they, for the most part, agree on at least 90% of each other’s philosophy.

So we’re often stuck arguing about an insignificant percentage, when we should be getting people to try and do the 90% first.  Sure, there are certainly times when we need to get a bit fancier, and customise everything to a greater a degree for some clients, but for the most part, this list is a great starting point.

What makes up the 90%, I hear you ask?  Well here’s a list of guidelines that I think most, if not all, experts would agree on.

On Training…

What we tend argue over –

  • Whether we should do bodybuilder-esque body part splits or whether we should do total body, or upper/lower splits
  • Methods of periodisation
  • Heart rate percentages for our cardio

What the experts agree on –

  • Some form of resistance training is necessary for everyone
  • Getting stronger over time should be a priority
  • Compound exercises are generally superior to isolation movements
  • Every now and again you need to elevate your heart rate – that means some form of ‘cardio’

On Nutrition…

What we tend to argue over –

  • What breakdown of macronutrients we should follow
  • How many calories we should get in per day
  • When should we be eating our carbohydrates, if at all

What the experts agree on –

  • Try to stick with organic foods, where possible
  • Lean protein is essential at most meals
  • We need to eat more vegetables, with a variety of colours
  • The less processed food you eat, the better
  • Sugar, especially in high quantities, is not good for you
  • Post-workout nutrition is important

On Supplementation…

What we tend to ague over –

  • Which protein powder is going to be used by our bodies the fastest
  • Which pre-workout stimulant has the best effect
  • Which protein powder has 2 grams less fat the other protein powder

What the experts agree on –

  • We’re mostly deficient in Vitamin D, and so need to supplement with it, especially during the colder months
  • Our Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio is messed up, so a high quality fish oil should also be on your supplement list
  • A good quality greens, or superfoods, supplement is a good insurance policy to keep the levels of ‘good stuff’ in our bodies up


Most experts would agree that it’s better to follow a blueprint for training success than try to learn (and apply) everything yourself.  In fact, one of the key points that most strength coaches agree on is that having someone else write your programs for you was far more beneficial than he had previously realised.

It’s really simple.  If you need knowledge, get the resource that will help you, and apply the information it gives you.

OR, hire a coach to look over everything for you.  The money you spend now will pay you back ten times in results, not to mention long term health.

So if you’re finding it hard to cut through the mass of information out there, try to come back to these simple titbits of information; they will serve you well.

*Seriously, that show is rubbish!

** The Garland Diet consists purely of consuming dark chocolate and red wine.  It’s a haven of anti-oxidant well being, and probably good for your waistline – results guaranteed!

James Garland

James is an educator, frequent ranter, teller of terrible jokes, lover of all-day breakfasts, and the Education Manager for The Fitness Playground. Feel free to tell him whether you loved, or hated, this article below.

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