NO STRAIGHT ANSWERS • HEAD COACH XN'S BLOG

​Head Coach and Next Level founder Christian Matyi – a/k/a "XN" – gives notoriously complex answers to even the most simple of questions.  He'd always rather you "think more" than "know more." So you can only imagine what'll happen when there wasn't any question even asked . . . 

You never know what his many years of coaching will inspire him to claim as "relevant" to your progress. 

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The Dot & Mr. Miller: Maybe The Steroid-Free Guys Really ARE Steroid-Free

Watch this video.  The workshop wasn't trying to prove anything.  We weren't even taking a hard agenda that "steroids are wrong" or "bodybuilding is full of liars."  We were merely discussing what makes something credible.  And that is a topic that so few of us in life ever really breach, much less any of us in bodybuilding. 

But that idea was at the center of a recent meeting of the Next Level's Spring 2015 team.  And at the epicenter of the discussion was guy named named Doug Miller.  

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What I "do" as a coach, simplified.

. . . . See how one simple, well-done act of motivation
starts into motion a mighty machine of free promotion? 
Well, if you ever wondered "what I do," this is "what I do."  
While others strive for vain, self-proclaimed Greatness,
I meanwhile quietly strive to build a community among the truly great.

This was pulled from a conversation with an Athlete today who I was promoting.  

I find that, as a Coach, I pull results from Athletes far more affectively by bringing in close to them other Athletes or Mentors who are motivational and exceptional.  By being a constant bridge to examples of greatness, an Athlete can build far greater trust in me than if I was hammering down upon them an endless rain of mind-numbing, emotionally boring "true, hard facts."  

My wisdom is my own, but my brains are certainly not.  I have quipped for decades that "I am not very smart, so I keep my brains on speed-dial."  I always find it wiser as a Coach – and more effective – to not try to be the embodiment of all the information, but rather the navigator towards where information might lie.

This is something I beg of many other trainers and self-proclaimed coaches; to stop pointing always towards yourself, and instead learn the powerful skill of pointing away.  I have always believed that "the Truth is anything which points away from itself in order to lead you back towards it." It is always a tiny bit of a lie, therefore, when a teacher or mentor proclaims that they "have all you need."

Trust more those leaders who are well-resourced, rather than those who are merely well-accomplished.  The teachers who have a solid, trusted network of others who can share information has a lot more directions to help you than the dude who tries to be the one, single compendium of all things useful. 

This is why so much of my work is in the development of the community, rather than in the fortifying of my own, private mind.  And this is why I work in groups, collaboratives and – most importantly – teams.  These well-networked solutions provide more opportunities for Athletes to learn, as well as more possibilities within that learning.  (Not to mention a LOT more laughter – which is one of the best teaching tools I have ever encountered.)

Minimizing expertise own to "how much someone knows" not only misguides those who seek to learn, but also insults and diminishes the power of the very knowledge one seeks.  All best learning is done, dear human beings, together.  I know – many of you can remember the countless times where you were learning alone . . . but if you think of the environment in which you were doing that solo learning, you will see you were hardly "alone," and that the contributions of others were critical for that learning to have taken place.  The house you were in, the book you were reading, the computer you were clicking and the weights you were clanking were all tools supplied by others. And they were all the types of tools that pointed away from themselves to help you.  And because they didn't demand your reverence, your mind was free to learn and grow via their usefulness.

We're all in a network.  We're all in a community.  And the minute someone or some thing proclaims "I (or we) self-possess all you will ever need to learn" is the minute you are being misguided.  Which is why I find it far more vital as a Coach to be the aggressive and protective arbiter of a stable, consistent community for my Athletes to learn within, rather than demand their reverence and complete devotion to my own thoughts.  (Many of which are not too swift, anyway.)

This is what I do.  This is why I call myself a "Coach" and rather than a trainer.  I am more gardener than whip, more palette than paint, more tool than building.  I seek to leave open more options than I eliminate, and ardently try to bring around me resources which I can pass on to those seeking out which options are their best choices.  

The community is more powerful than the knowledge any single member of it possesses.  I don't seek that power.  I merely seek to keep it well-networked.

And then keep it all on speed-dial.

Dear "very smart" fitness writers:

Good writing is not the result of having good content.  if no one likes reading what you wrote, then who cares if you alone are publishing the "best information."

The majority of a "fitness articles" (the term gets caught in my throat) out there today are not written by those with rhetorical expertise as one of their credentials.  These are not writers; these are people with a lot in their mind.  And while I am grateful they want to contribute, they too often shoot themselves in the foot; they lose our attention and then criticize us for diverting that attention to things which can capture it.  

Good writing is about good editing.  Good writing is NOT about good content.  If the marriage of reasonable content and compelling writing takes place, then you have a winner of information delivery.

I only share this because too often I see athletes criticized for following the most flashy writing that has lousy content, yet those with solid content bore the crap out of those athletes and thus lose the chance to fill their heads with the good stuff.

We need to pay close better attention to how the good information travels from hand to hand.  We mustn't lament when good content gets overlooked when it was not delivered in an "easily-digested" form.

Meanwhile, this same sentiment should stand as a warning to athletes: just because something reads convincingly does not mean that what it has convinced you of is of high merit.  Persuasion is the tool of masters and the drug of fools.  Be mindful when you feel that an article is :right" that what could be convincing you is the writing, not the content.