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  • Mitchell Rothbardt

Back To Basics

Hello and welcome to Back to Basics week!


A few years ago when I was just starting out I had a friend who was training a female high-school soccer player who was going to play for Notre Dame college. Yes, the Fighing Irish. I felt I had a pretty good grasp on how to program for most people but in my head I thought that Notre Dame, being one of the greatest and most storied athletic programs in college history, would have a very elaborate and complex programming system way out of my league. My friend had a copy of the program that Notre Dame had given his client and I asked to see it.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that her program looked almost exactly like most of the programs I had written for my clients. Yes, there were a few small differences, but for the most part they looked the same. They were working on the basics.

Sometimes people think the basics are just for beginners but in my experience that’s not the case at all. When you have a good grasp of the basics you realize that they are something you build everything else on and that you keep coming back to.

Let’s talk specifics. Go to Amazon and look up a book with the “Best Diet”. Actually you don’t need to because I’ve already done it.


Wow! That’s a lot of choices! Now, some of these books are great and some not so much, but I’d bet the good ones focus on eating high-quality, nutrient-dense foods in the right amounts. Sure, we can get into the benefits of nutrient timing, resistant starches, organic vs. non-organic and other advanced techniques but none of that matters if the basics aren’t taken care of. Not only that, but the vast majority of the time the basics are all that anyone really needs to begin with! What does it matter if you only eat non-GMO organic spinach if you’re drinking a six-pack of soda every day?

Let me go over the things that I feel are the basics for both excersie and nutrition. Just to let you know that if you’re looking for the “Silver Bullet Secret” in this list you will be disappointed.

Exercise Basics

  1. Movement and posture first. Whatever your goal is, be it fat loss, improved mobility or anything else, you’ve got to focus on your movement and posture. Without that you won’t be able to get everything you can out of your workouts and you won’t feel very good in the process.

  2. Strength second. I don’t want this post to be too long so I’ll just keep this simple. When you train for strength you build muscle which helps burn fat and increase your metabolism. It also helps with your mindset in more ways than I can explain right now.

  3. Be consistent. It doesn’t get any more basic than this. You won’t get results if you don’t show up. It is surprising to me how many people lack basic consistency.

  4. Work hard. This doesn’t mean you have to puke after every session or anything like that, but push yourself. If a weight is easy get a heavier one. If you’re doing a circuit, move faster. Just push and you’ll see better results.

Nutrition Basics

  1. Eat minimally-processed, nutrient dense foods. In other words focus on lean protein, fruits and veggies, healthy minimally-processed carbohydrates and healthy fats.

  2. Eat the right portion size. An easy way to figure your serving size is this:

  3. Protein – 1 palm size

  4. Carbs – 1 cupped handful

  5. Veggies – 1 fist size

  6. Fats – 1 thumb size

These may not be absolutely perfect but they are a good starting point. You can always make adjustments later.

I mean it when I say that if you just follow these simple things, you’re not going to need much else.

Let me know what you think.

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2Lean Eating Coach, FMS 2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley 510-754-7113 MitchRFitness@gmail.com www.facebook.com/MitchRothbardtFitness/

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