You’re just not that advanced

Here is something that we all need to be reminded of sometimes – you’re not that advanced! Be it as a rider or in the gym, the vast majority of people reading this are not as advanced as they like to think. It’s called the “10% rule” – only 10% of people are advanced enough to sweat the details.

Here are a couple of examples to better explain this…

Training: The basics may not be exciting but they work, and work very well for most of us. Sometimes we sabotage ourselves and start to get “bored” and start looking for the next routine or exercise that will solve all of our problems.

The vast majority of us would do great on a simple routine like this –

Workout A – 4 X 5 reps

1) Deadlift

2) Chin Up

3) Dips

Workout B – 3 X 8 reps

1) Bulgarian Split Squat

2) Inverted Rows

3) DB Push Press

Of course, I’d personally add in some mobility work and some specific corrective and core training stuff based on individual needs but the heart of your training program can and should revolve around the basics. Get off the internet surfing around for cool looking exercises and the routine of the pros. BOSU balls and complicated exercises that look like you are trying out for the circus are only valuable for the highly advanced trainee…sorry but you’re just not that advanced.

Nutrition: This is one that I could write a book on but here are the two areas I think most people need to stop worrying about. First, until you are eating breakfast, eating every 3 hours after that and are getting some protein and fruits and vegetables with most meals you don’t need to worry about “carbo loading” and performance based diets. Those only work if you have a solid nutritional foundation to build on. And just because you ride a mountain bike a few times a week does not give you the liberty to eat tons of breads and pastas…sorry but you’re just not that advanced.

Also, supplements are just that – things to supplement a good diet (see the previous paragraph). Now, with that said there are some base supplements you should be taking. First and foremost is fish oil or some other essential fatty acid (EFA) supplement. 6-10 grams a day of a high grade EFA supplement is a must and the first thing I ask people when they start inquiring about supplements. Even then, most of the “performance” supplements are only valuable for the person who has everything dialed and needs that extra edge…sorry but you’re just not that advanced.

Riding: This is a pet peeve of mine but it still flabbergasts me how many riders will drop $1000 or more on a fork that has a little more “advanced” valving or has shed a half pound. Or spend hundred more to upgrade to XTR or XO or any other high priced, high performance part. This stuff can only be truly appreciated at the highest levels and, in my opinion, is more about looking the part than really enjoying the ride.

Steve Peat won the World Championships by just fractions of a second – for him having the lightest equipment, best suspension and everything else that went into his run obviously counted. He goes so far as to remove the grease from the bearings in his chain guide and replace it with oil, which has to be re-oiled every time he rides! Steve Peat, by the way, IS that advanced and needs to worry about stuff like that.

But Steve has also spent countless hours on lesser bikes honing his skills, trains hard and focuses on all the other details that help him appreciate those small increases in performance the top level stuff delivers. The guy who is looking to finish top 5 in CAT 2 in his local series needs to spend more time and money on strength and conditioning, skills training and nutrition than he does worrying about the next bike or part to invest in. Sorry, but that guy is just not that advanced.

Here is the good news, though. If you face reality and focus on the basics you CAN become advanced. It will just take much longer, or probably not happen at all, if you try to skip over the basics and start to consider yourself advanced even though you’ve only been riding for a few years, you have 22% bodyfat and you still think that beer and pizza is a great post-ride meal.

Not that there is anything wrong with being that guy, just don’t write me asking for an advanced cardio routine and ask about the latest “must have” supplements and/ or parts because my answer will be pretty simple – you’re just not that advanced, bro! Hope you guys can appreciate the humor in this post as it is not meant to offend anyone, simply to serve as a wakeup call to reality. I personally don’t consider myself to be that advanced, which is why I still concentrate on the basics. We’re all in this together with one mission – have more fun on the trail!

-James Wilson-

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  1. Scott says:

    Thanks for the reality check James. RE: Fish oil, I’m taking supplements, but not 6-10 g/day (and unfortunatley I doubt I’m getting it from my diet either). I’ve had a hard time finding any credible information to suggest how much fish oil (or total EPA/DHA) I should be getting daily. GNC’s triple strength fish oil, for example, recommends (1) daily and has a total of 900mg combined EPA/DHA. Where did you come up with your recommendation, and can you point me toward any good resources on this?

    Reply • October 12 at 9:05 am
    • bikejames says:

      I have to admit that I am going based on the recommendations of guys like John Berardi of http://www.precisionnutrition.com and the feedback from guys like Mike Boyle and Dan John who have been doing it. Nutrition is one of those subjects I know some stuff about but defer to guys much smarter than me when it comes to specific recommendations.

      I use a liquid lemon flavored fish oil which gives me 5 grams per tablespoon. A generous tablespoon or two a day in my protein smoothies gets it in no problem. I only use pills when traveling since taking that many pills would be a pain. Hope this helps…

      Reply • October 12 at 2:04 pm
  2. Simon says:

    James: Aren’t dips hard on your shoulders? Plus they need some kind of dipping station. If you did overhead press or side press you’d get a vertical pushing motion that may be easier on your shoulders. Plus if you did uni DLs instead of DLs you’d get more balance work in. My glutes are always sorer after uni DLs than regular DLs. Form is less of an issue, too, right? But I know you’re trying to keep it simple.

    BTW, I bought Power Training by Robert Dos Remedios because you recommended it somewhere. He puts Dls in knee dominant – just the same as squats. What do you make of that? To get hip specific he’d recommend Romanian DLs or equivalent.

    Reply • October 12 at 1:36 pm
    • bikejames says:

      @ Simon

      Ha ha ha…you have really picked up some stuff in your quest to educate yourself about good training strategies. All of your comments are true, however dips are a case by case basis. If they hurt your shoulders then something else that falls into the horizontal pressing catagory would be good but if you can do them dips are still one of the best rep-for-rep upper body exercises around.

      And single leg deadlifts are great as well but yes, for simplicity sake, I chose the regular old version. Easier to learn, easier to get strong on and still a staple in any good routine.

      About Coach Dos’s book – good eye and I have to respectfully disagree with him there. 99.99% of everything else I am with him on but I think that he may teach the deadlift differently than I do which is why he sees a quad dominant exercise where I (and most other coaches) see hip dominant. If you look at the picture he has the model with a very upright torso which would indeed make it more quad dominant. I teach it with a more vertical shin and more of a trunk angle which makes it more hip dominant. Either way, that book was great and I found it to be very informative and useful.

      Reply • October 12 at 2:16 pm
  3. clotch says:

    Great post James! Amen to all the above.Keep up the good work, people will start listening eventually 😉

    Reply • October 12 at 1:54 pm
    • bikejames says:

      Thanks, although I think that some people may be coming around. Helping people ride faster and have more fun is what it is all about!

      Reply • October 12 at 2:10 pm
  4. Simon says:

    This guy has an outstanding cheapo dip station that he built out of PVC pipe. He weights 200 + uses a 50 lb DB and claims that it’s survived 2 years… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA9EhzdN1a4&feature=player_embedded.

    Reply • October 12 at 4:54 pm

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