Let’s be honest, most of us hate being wrong……and we love being told we have the right answer. We loved raising our hand and giving a teacher an powerful explanation of the problem on the chalk board; and when we were wrong the class would giggle, we’d feel stupid, and embarrassed.
When I started coaching people in Muay Thai and became a personal trainer people asked me questions and expected me to have answers. It’s hard as a coach to say, “I don’t know, sorry” or “Let’s find out together!” It’s the shame that comes with being wrong and the burning desire to be right that cause people to look for a hard and fast answer to everyone’s problems.
My students today know that often when they ask me a questions my answer is, “It depends.” While it may be frustrating to not have a single answer to “What should I eat?” “Whats’ the best counter to the jab?” or “Which is better lifting or HIIT?”, it’s true that the most accurate answer is often: it depends.
Here is a list of things I have been wrong about in consecutive order
Simply eating less and exercising more will make you lose weight
– Wrong! There are so many other factors at play.
A raw vegan diet was the answer to all my problems
– Wrong! It might work for some people, but it doesn’t work for all.
Carbs are evil and we should avoid them at all costs
– Wrong! We need carbs for muscle growth and athletic activity, the trick is to finding a balance according to you goals, activity levels and genetics (metabolism).
All grains will cause health problems!
– Wrong! For some people they can be very bad, and gluten intolerance is real but for those with no sensitivity to certain grains (like rice), a moderate amount of grain in the diet will not automatically make you fat and sick.
Strict Paleo is the best way to lose weight and be healthy for everyone!
– Wrong! While I find many benefits to a Paleo template for nutrition and some people thrive on it, for others the strict nature of the diet can be too restrictive and lead some to obsessed food behaviour. Finding a balance that works for the individual is best.
Everyone should lift heavy weights
– Wrong! There are plenty of ways to be strong. While lifting heavy is awesome and I’ve seen many clients reach remarkable goals with heavy strength training, some people may prefer to do bodyweight training or circuit training and that is sufficient to keep them healthy, mobile and happy.
You must have a post workout meal for recovery, in at least 15 minutes after your workout
– Wrong! Overall macronutrients (i.e. the right amount of protein, carbs and fat) from a healthy diet throughout the day is more important than the “post workout” meal. And you don’t necessarily need carbs or a specific carb to protein ratio post workout.
I’m sure I could come up with more things I have been wrong about, but I’ll stop there. While I understand that making mistakes is okay, will probably always happen once in a while for the rest of my life, and is helpful to growth.
So how has being wrong helped me become a better coach?
Owning Your Mistakes Breeds an Inquisitive Mind – When I admit I’m wrong it leads me to seek out and dissect the truth in a way that helps me learn more.
Not Having a Definitive Answer Helps Me Meet Others Needs Better – As a coach and trainer if I know I don’t have a one size fits all approach, I can ask questions and get to the heart of what people’s goals, needs, individual biology and preferences are.
Being Wrong Helps Me Understand Who I Truly Am – It’s fine to be excited about what you love to do, but I have found it’s better to be careful about letting our labels define our core being. You are more than your labels…….