A Better or worse approach – Why Good/bad does not exist.

This principle is perhaps the key element underpinning how to maintain a Rugby fitness programme month after month. It drives me crazy when I hear people say ”that XXX is bad” or “XXX is good”.

Statements such as above are unhelpful and cause more harm than good. Let me illustrate. First ask yourself these questions about how the following activities impact your rugby performance and whether they are good or bad:

  • Eating cereal for your breakfast
  • Running 10 km
  • Drinking protein shakes.
  • Spending 20 minutes in the gym.
  • Being 18 stone (115 Kg, 250 Lbs)

I am sure you have gathered the answers to these. Call me sneaky but you cannot answer the above questions. Do not get me wrong, you will find a million experts on TV, radio and amongst your friends happy to tell you that the above behaviors are good or bad for you and your rugby performance. The truth is the above behaviors cannot be answered as good or bad.

Life is relative – nothing is absolute.

The strange thing in life is everyone is desperate to label things. People want to label you as a certain type of person, people want to label things good or bad and people want to label your behaviour.

The only way to deem something good or bad is to compare it (silently or subconsciously) to something else. Therefore if it is compared to something else you are talking better or worse. Let me explain why this is important using the above statements:

Eating cereal for your breakfast –

The TV adverts tell you this is the way to go but what if you are intolerant to milk and / or wheat? Would it be better to have no breakfast rather than cereal if this is the case? For most rugby players they would also need a natural protein source at breakfast. Does cereal provide this?

The truth is some people will do awful having breakfast for cereal each day and not achieve their goals. However some people will do ok on it. It is neither good nor bad as a general term.

Running 10 km –

If your muscles are not working efficiently then the joints are not protected and running such distances will cause more harm than good.

Whether 10km is ideal for rugby performance is relative again. Compared to doing nothing definitely. It also depends how you are covering the 10 km , are you using intervals or slow steady pace? You cannot say running 10 km is good nor bad until you consider the other questions around the issue.

Drinking protein shakes.

The magazines would have you believe that protein is the key to getting bigger, faster and better at rugby. Protein shakes serve a great purpose for many athletes. The question is are they more effective than eating natural food? What would happen if you didn’t have them? The answer will be different for different people and may be surprising to you.

Spending 20 minutes in the gym.

It sounds way too short but compared to nothing it is surely a huge benefit. If you only have twenty minutes then how could you structure your training differently to get results?

Though it sounds too short 20 minutes can still make a huge impact on performance. Would taking longer be more beneficial? It would depend on what you did with that extra time. If you were to just stand around and chat then maybe it wouldn’t be better. A 20 minute workout is neither good nor bad.

Being 18 stone (115 Kg, 250 Lbs)

Being 18 stone is irrelevant unless we know what that weight is comprised of. Many people try to judge a goal weight regardless of whether it is fat or muscle. How do you know what weight you play at your best? Different player will suit different weights for optimal performance. There is no good or bad weight.

View the world as better or worse

I must reiterate this as it is one of the most important principles in being able to maintain a long term rugby fitness programme. Often you will be short of time and may have to do just 30% of the usual training. Adopting this better or worse approach will free you to continue this reduced training and keep you on track.

You can learn more about applying this principle through my rugby performance course which will transform your physique and rugby abilities.


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