Guest Blog – A Student of Training by Jake Hartley

A Student of Training

When I was asked to do this article, I immediately started writing down some key points that I’ve learnt since I joined Strength and Performance and during my final year studying Sports Science at Salford University and I’ve picked 5 points  in my opinion to be the most important that I’ve learnt in this past year

“If you give everything you’ve got, all of it, every bit of it! You cannot fail” – CT Fletcher

Always be looking to learn more!

Last year I had a laid back approach to learning more in this area and would usually use as my main source of information and would try to apply what I had learnt in the gym doing half ass reps with heavy weight thinking I knew it all. How wrong was I!? Since I’ve met Sean and Z they consistently educate and remind me that there is always something to learn from many different outlets such as blogs/videos on training from the likes of Mike Guadango, James Smith and Dan John (whilst I’ve mentioned Dan, if you haven’t read his book “Never let go” I’d highly recommend it, probably one of the best books I’ve ever read) to looking at exercises for injury treatment and prevention. I try and find time to learn and become a more knowledgeable person in regards to training and performance every day .The bottom line is be willing to learn from many different individuals and not just about training, learn about proper nutrition and recovery for example and you will become a better coach for it and become more beneficial to your clients. 

Everyone has an opinion

I think this deserves its own section as it’s an area that has shown me that a lot of this industry is opinion and backing what you believe in. The best example to explain this view is “overtraining”. Now on one side you have the people (I used to be one of them!) who believe that you should train for 45-60 minutes and any longer than that and you’re overtraining, but during this 60 minute period, they’ve talked to friends for 10 minutes, took 15 pictures of themselves “working out” in the gym and done 2 sets of half rep squats…. Then you will have people such as this man telling you otherwise (he had to feature in this article somewhere!)

I think my main come away point from this is that if you believe in something and it works for you and who you’re coaching then stick with it. Just because someone says your wrong doesn’t mean you have to change your methods to please them. Don’t take everything you read and see as gospel, consider it and make your own judgement on what you believe to be right and wrong.

Recovery (sleep and nutrition)

This is what I believe to be the metaphorical keys to success, you can have the best training programme in the world, but if you’re eating crap and/or not sleeping well outside of the gym, you will never improve or reach your goals.


This man certainly knew the importance of proper nutrition

Sleep is very simple in my view, get around 6-8 hours of good quality sleep and allow your body to recover from the demands of your training!

In relation to the nutrition side of recovery, I’m not an expert on nutrition by any means, but get your basics right in relation to your goals and you will be on the right path. I’ll give you my recent diet as an example. When I first started training, my goal was to put some weight on to fill my 78.9kg slight 6”2 frame and for around a year I trained and ate what I considered at the time to be a pretty decent diet of a lot of different brands of protein shakes, minimal carbohydrates and fats. Yet again, how wrong was I!? I saw literally no changes to my physique and my main lifts were pathetic .Through increasing my carbohydrate intake (Rice, sweet potatoes and chocolate milk, yes I said chocolate milk!) water intake and eating more varied sources of protein (Chicken, meats, eggs) rather than the same expensive and minimal effective protein shakes, along with a solid training programme for around 11 months (There’s no quick fix ladies and gents!) I managed to reach 94kg and still trying to improve. I could delve a lot deeper into this area, but for now this just shows that if you get the basics right, the rest will follow!

Set the example

As people we all have the ability to motivate and inspire others, to explain this better I thought I would use some motivating words from a video called “Live your dream and master life”

“If we were all only made up of atoms, why don’t you be the bigger energy, the stronger energy, can’t you see that we live off each other and it’s the people that shine brightly that affect us positively”

In the training environment, people training need others around them that can inspire and motivate them through their own actions. How can you be a good coach if you don’t practice what you preach? Try new things and inspire people around you to greater heights. One of my best decisions was moving to a gym where everyone is striving to be better, it’s amazing the effect it can have on your own training. If you’re in a training environment that doesn’t motivate and inspire you, it’s time to find somewhere that does

Everyone is great at something


 “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”

People can make their own judgements on how this image and quote applies to training, but the main thing I take from it is there are probably thousands of people in the UK alone that don’t enjoy their same training of running on a treadmill for 45 minutes whilst watching the latest episode of bargain hunt on the gyms big television screen. They’re not enjoying their training because their a “fish trying to climb a tree”. Try new methods of training rather than the same old boring routine and enjoy your training! You might be surprised at the positive outcome it has on your life

Thanks for reading

Jake Hartley

BSc (Hons) Applied Sports Science Student


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