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Ben Sharpe . Podcast. AFL Strength & Conditioning Coach

ben sharpe afl strength and conditioning coach

Ben Sharpe Podcast Show Notes

Introducing Ben Sharpe

SharperPerformance.comben sharpe afl strength and conditioning coach

Can you imagine:

Studying sports science at university racking up a large hecs debt, your day job employers goes bankrupt and an AFL coach asks you to come work for him for free?

Today on the podcast I am joined by Ben Sharpe from

Ben completed his Undergrad in Sports Science at Victoria University, in this time he completed internships at nationally recognised organisations in both strength and conditioning and sports science.

Ben is currently a Masters Student (S&C) at Australian Catholic University and is undertaking research relating to long term athlete wellness measures and how they relate to performance.

He currently works within the AFL (Richmond Football Club) and is the High Performance Manager at the Oakleigh Chargers Football Club (TAC Cup).

Sport is his number one love, but applying the principles and methods learnt in elite environments to health and wellness is a long term motivator.

His motto is high level performance reaches much further than the sporting field, the reach is truly endless.

Highlights / My Favourite Points:

[3:23] Ben’s attitude to overcoming adversity.

[5:35] What does optimal performance mean to Ben.

[6:40] What Ben recommends you drink to get big & strong.

[8:45] The myth about carbo loading for endurance athletes.

[10:35] How Ben trains himself.

[14:30] What Ben’s 30 minute client sessions look like.

[26:03] The million dollar LA to Vegas cycling bet by Dan Bilzerian

[27:28] Coaching to a range not a fixed set standard.

[31:34] App based remote coaching.

Books Recommended

High Performance Training For Sports by David Joyce,

Core Performance by Mark Verstegen,

Leading by Sir Alex Ferguson
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Questions Timing:

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[1:26] 1. Your studying strength and conditioning at university and in your second year you are asked to intern with the Richmond AFL club. Your day job employer goes broke and you’re not getting paid by the AFL club. Can you tell us what was going through your mind and how did you feel at that time?

[4:52] 2. As a qualified strength and conditioning coach and sports scientist -What is your definition of optimal human performance?

[7:22] 3. What are the biggest mistakes health and fitness enthusiasts are making in regards to the nutrition and training? What are the biggest wastes of time and effort?

[10:00] 4. What are your key principles for looking and feeling better? Which of these would you say are the priority one’s people should focus on?

[13:00] 5. What is your work our training program for the week.

[15:53] 6. What makes you different and who has trained or influenced you to be the fit strong person you are today?

[20:47] 7. What are your favorite instructional books or resources on health and nutrition? If there has been a book that has deeply changed your life what one was it and what did it fundamentally change in you?

[23:20] 8. If you were to train me for four weeks to lose weight for a competition and had a million dollars on the line to win, what would the training & nutrition look like. What if I trained for 8 weeks?

[27:00] 9. In your opinion what is the most important element of a good coach? Do you feel some aspects may often get overlooked?

[29:12] 10. What do the AFL players do really well that amateurs can take a lesson from?

[30:13] 11. If people want to find out more about you and your work – where should they go?



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Woman: Welcome to the podcast where we show people who want to be happy and healthy how to get the maximum from their training and nutrition even if they hate to exercise or diet.

Anthony: Can you imagine studying sports science at the university, [inaudible 00:00:22] and your day job employer goes bankrupt? And then an AFL coach asked you to come work for him for free. Today on the podcast, I’m joined by Ben Sharpe. Ben completed his undergraduate in sports science at Victoria University and in this time, he completed internships at nationally recognized organizations in both strength and conditioning and sports science. Ben is currently a master student at Australian Catholic University, and he’s undertaking research related to long-term athlete wellness measures and how they relate to performance. He currently works within the AFL Richmond Football Club and he’s a high-performance major at the Oakleigh Chargers Football Club in the TAC Cup. Sport is his number one love but applying the principles and methods learned in the late environments to health and wellness is a long-term motivator. His motto is “High-level performance reaches much further than the sporting field. The reach is truly endless.” Good morning, Ben. It’s Anthony. Thanks for joining on the podcast.

Ben: No, [inaudible 00:01:25]. Thank you for having me.

Anthony: Back in the day, you were studying strength and conditioning at the university. In your second year, you’re asked to intern with the Richmond AFL club.

Ben: Yeah. It was a stroke of luck, actually. It was just close right time type of thing that I’m here. Have a look back since…

Anthony: Fantastic. And your day job employer went broke, and you weren’t getting paid by the AFL club. Tell us what was going through your mind at the time and how did you feel?

Ben: Yeah. It was funny. Being at an AFL Club, it was great. It was fantastic. I’d go to work, I’d be dancing around. Setting up cones for drills, for me, it was a dream. I was an intern in my first year there, and I wasn’t getting paid. And then as an assistant for the next three years, I didn’t get paid. So in my mind, it was the greatest job ever. And the only thing that was different about my greatest job ever was I wasn’t getting paid. But because I loved it so much, I didn’t really notice. So I had a day job. I was actually delivering pre-made Paleo food to gyms, to businesses, fantastic food. But my employer went bust. That’s a whole other story in itself. I didn’t get paid wages for the last month of my employment. So if you’re a student working part-time living at home, it was a… I wouldn’t say it was a stressful time, but it was definitely something I didn’t want to deal with at the time. And so the pressure for me was the fact that I, obviously, had to go and find something else that fit in with my schedule being in a footy club, being in unions. It’s got a…It’s very specific. You can’t just walk into a business, “I became available on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Give me a job.” It doesn’t really work so…

Anthony: It’s really a big stretch for a lot of people…

Ben: Yeah. Exactly. For me it was…in my mind, especially being offered such a fantastic foot in the door, I was like, “I have to make this work. There’s no… I can’t knock this opportunity back. I have to work for free and I’m going to. And I’m going to do it the best I can.” But it was not an ideal situation. My employer stopped…it wasn’t just my wages. It was everyone’s wages. So it ended up being a little bit of a blessing in disguise because I graduated my undergrad. So I did have a bit more time on my hands. So I actually went out and got a really good job at the YMCA as a personal trainer. So it was a blessing in disguise, but there was a period of six months where I was like, “This is going nowhere.” I’m giving my boss the benefit of the doubt, “He’ll pay me. He’ll pay me.” And he just never did.

Anthony: I guess what really impressed me about that back story is about it’s such an incredible…it takes such an incredible amount of focus and commitment. You’re locked into a path, and you have to believe in it and go forward from there. Really it was…

Ben: That was exactly it. And then, you know, [inaudible 00:04:34] went down the master’s route. That’s exactly it. I chose that. And locked in is probably a little bit strong. But definitely top committed I guess you could call it.

Anthony: Yeah. Absolutely. Hey, look as a qualified strength and conditioning coach and sports scientist, what’s your definition of optimum human performance?

Ben: It’s an interesting one. You take the approach every single human being on the planet is slightly different physiologically, mentally. It’s going to look a little bit different. So for me, when I’m at my optimal performance level, it probably looks slightly different to where you are. So I guess it’s the art of coaching probably comes into that as well. Being able to have the right, you know, being able to make the athlete…not necessarily athlete or the person, what makes them tick? If I’m a PT and I’ve got a general population client, what gets them motivated is definitely not what gets a professional athlete motivated.

So first of all, identifying that and then what does it look like? Someone who can push, pull, squat into the hip, run, jump and they can do it all well. And they are competent across the board. When you start to have holes in any of those skills whether it be flexibility, whether it be range of motion of the shoulder, whatever the case maybe. When you have holes, that’s where you’re not at your optimum levels. So drilling down into each category if you will and having them at a level where you can do everything. That’s probably my raw definition of optimum performance.

Anthony: It’s interesting to me. I’m constantly wondering myself about mobility versus flexibility, versus strength, versus endurance. And that whole…that’s certainly on the, I guess, the functioning side. But you talk about nutrition, and it is so much that is encompassing thing optimum…

Ben: And it does look different for everyone else. For example, I think that for someone to get big and strong if their body can handle it, they should drink milk. I myself am lactose intolerant. So it looks different for someone, be it myself, or someone who can handle milk. I reckon if you can drink milk, that’s going to go a long way to helping you put on lean muscle mass, burning fat and all that. On the nutritional side, again, it does look different for everyone else. But it is a… If you can do it yourself, it would be trial and error. What works for me? What works for someone…someone’s blog I read on the internet, won’t necessarily work for me, you know?

Anthony: There’s plenty of that. What would you say the biggest mistakes health and fitness enthusiast are making in regards to their nutrition and training? What is the biggest waste of time or effort?

Ben: The biggest waste of time in regards to training, and I think a lot of people coming from a sports science background would agree with me where there’s an evidence by this approach. The biggest mistake is the tendency to do a ton of cardio. That’s… I’m working at YMCA. I see it all the time. It’s with females, it’s with males, it’s with young people, it’s with the older people. It’s just…it’s this idea of for me to get “fit”, I need to do lots of running or lots of bike riding.” And when you’re on the treadmill for 40 minutes in a steady state, I think the evidence is there that it’s not actually going to help you put on any muscles. It’s probably gonna waste away muscle. You’re gonna store fat, all those types of things. So definitely in regards to training, I’ll say it’s a tendency to load up on the cardio.

Anthony: Interesting.

Ben: In regards to nutrition, the biggest mistake I think probably it ties in with the doing too much cardio. It’s the… Coming from an endurance background and a long distance sport background, you would probably be well versed in carbohydrate loading. It’s something athletes have been doing forever, particularly longer events. But it becomes problematic. It really, really does. Without getting too into it, there’s an inflammatory effect in the body when you eat certain foods. And those are the certain foods that people tend to eat a lot when they’re doing a lot of exercise rather than things like lean proteins and healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. Probably pasta, rice, and potato stuff like that.

Anthony: I’m just thinking that those guys in the 80s that wore headbands and wristbands have got a lot to answer for that cardio…

Ben: They do, and it’s amazing the old pediagram [SP] we’re kind of stuck in at the moment. It is shifting. You’ve got things coming through like high-intensity interval training. People are focusing more on weight training. But there’s definitely still this dogma if you will and like, “Yup. I’m going to burn all this energy. It’s going to help me lose weight and put on muscle.” That’s actually not how it works at all.

Anthony: So what are your key principles for looking and feeling better?

Ben: The key principles for looking and feeling better as far as the nutritional aspects, it’s definitely eating actual food, fruits and vegetables, nuts and some seeds. Any animal is good to go as long as it was either organic or grass fed, which in Australia, we are pretty lucky with all our cattle being pasture raised and the chickens are fairly healthy. So definitely in regards to nutrition, it’s just eating actual food. Obviously, drink a lot of water.

And in regards to training, I take the approach, it ties in with my view of my optimum human performance. This is how I train myself. I try and do everything. I’m not saying I don’t go out and run for distance, but I don’t do it in the regular. It might be once a month just to test the capacity. But I dabble in gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, movement so just mobility and flexibility. Anything that I feel I’m lacking in. And this goes the same for anyone. Anything that they might be lacking is something that you got to chip away and improve at whether it be balancing on one leg, whether be holding weight above your head, whatever the case may be. Working on your midline strength and your glutes and your hamstrings. So being across everything is, I think, the best way to put…

Anthony: Yeah. It’s interesting. I wonder about which of those is the… I guess to make the biggest gains in the shortest time, where do you focus? You start with your weaknesses? You’re saying that if you have a balance issue or strength issue, so you build the building blocks first or…?

Ben: Yeah. Definitely, definitely. I mean, if you go back and you look at science…I won’t go too deeply into it, but the science of these principles of getting stronger you need to have a good base. You can’t attack the top end if you don’t have what you’re actually trying to get at. If you know what I mean. You can’t build good speed if you don’t have good strength. You can’t build good range of motion if you don’t have good stability.

So yes, definitely building the base. But if you’re going to pick one, the best one for mine would be lower body strength. Definitely, lower body strength and if you’re going to pick a conditioning aspect so if you were, say…if you didn’t want to do weight training, if you didn’t like strength training, and that’s fine. I will always recommend you do it, but I’m not going to force the client to do it if they don’t want to. I’m going to talk to him into it eventually but if you’re going to go for conditioning base, you’d definitely say it would be an anaerobic base. So not necessarily half an hour, one-hour duration stuff, but working in shorter time frames and actually building up capacity in the lungs and build up the heart rate and get your blood flow and stuff like that.

Anthony: You just mentioned before you train clients as you work out yourself. What would be your typical workout for… Do you have a program a week and then inside those workouts do you have a different structure?

Ben: Yeah. So I change it up a lot. I wouldn’t say… I don’t have a six-week program. But my idea is I try and do gymnastics once a week. I try to do Olympic lifting once a week. I try and do powerlifting once a week. And in a month set, I’ll do all my flexibility and mobility. And then a conditioning pace if I’m feeling good. I do get a bit lazy on the conditioning. But in summer, I’m much better with that stuff, you know, getting outside and swimming and stuff like that as well. But yeah, I try and hit a skill once a week. And I classify powerlifting as a skill not just a strength building thing. You’re squatting and [inaudible 00:13:55] and pressing. That’s powerlifting. And then you’ve got clean and jerk snatches and all your variations. And that’s for Olympic lifting. For gymnastics, it’s all your body weight stuff. So I don’t just classify that as working on the rings and the parallel bars and whatever. But I consider that all the body weights stuff, squatting, pushups, chin ups, whatever you might call it.

And then mobility and flexibility is something… I’m 6’2, and I don’t have long muscles. I’ve got short muscles, so it’s something I work on and do try and get better at. But it’s definitely a weakness of mine. And that’s what my client sessions look like. At the YMCA, we work in half hour blocks. So it is a little bit rushed. We cram a lot into a half an hour. So you got a quick warm up, the client comes 10 minutes earlier, does that foam rolling and activation. We’ll hit a strength pace 7 to 12 minutes. And then we’ll hit a conditioning pace another 7 to 12 minutes. And then, at the end, we’ll work on the mobility, the steady holds, the balance, the flexibility. And then we move on to the next.

Anthony: It sounds like a great workout.

Ben: Yeah. And it’s a… Some people are coming like, “Why are we doing this? Why are we doing that?” I give them the simplified reason as to why and within two weeks, they’re like, “This is great.” So I know it works. I have faith in it. And there’s a reason behind doing it, not just doing it for the sake of doing it which I think is important. If someone says to you, “Hey, why are we doing this?” Particularly coming from an elite sport background if you can’t tell an athlete why they’re doing something, they won’t do it. They’re not going to trust you and they’re not going to want to do it. So you have to have a reason behind doing something. And I think that translates perfectly across to the general population as well. If you can’t justify your reason for doing something, well, then why someone is going to pay me and tell them to do it?

Anthony: Absolutely. So what makes you different and who’s trained or influence you to be the fit strong person you are today?

Ben: Again, it was something…at school, I always played sport. I played…represented basketball for Australia. I played a lot of sport when I was younger. And not necessarily because I wanted to. Because I was good at it. I fell away from it probably for the first late school in life, first year out of school. And then I started doing exercise science. And from there, again, I still wasn’t sure. It’s funny. I actually fell into CrossFit, right? Started doing it, got really good at it. I was like, “Hey, hang on a minute. There’s…” This is where I’m in my undergrad now and have started a footy club.

I’m like, “There is so much more to this whole exercising” if you will. But the principles of CrossFit definitely have carried through. But myself now, I don’t consider myself to do that anymore. There’s so much more in regards to fitness, in regards to nutrition, in regards to having a balanced approach to it that I think… But that’s where I got started. And what makes me different? I wouldn’t say I have a point of difference. I like to think that when I’m with clients or when I’m with athletes, that my personality and the way I interact with people is applicable to not just being a good coach but making friends and being personal and understanding and not just being that authoritative figure if you will. Like, “Do this. Do that.” And there’s no rhyme or reason. It’s just do it because I say it. That’s not the case at all. So I wouldn’t say it’s point of difference, but I do like to pride myself on my ability to communicate and interact with a whole lot of different people.

Anthony: Connect at a different level.

Ben: Yeah. Definitely.

Anthony: What about a mentor? Would you have…is there a person that you can say, in your career, that’s been a real mentor and given you a leg up and showing you the inside workings?

Ben: Yeah. Definitely. My mentor at Richmond Football Club is a man named Robbie Ness [SP]. So he came from the [inaudible 00:18:10] footy club and he got offered the role… Richmond is a strength and conditioning coach heading up to VFL [SP] program and also assisting with the AFL program, and he was the one that got me in for the internship. I didn’t know, going at that time that he was going to offer me a position there. He’s like, “Let’s just have a chat.” Because I was looking for an internship for a placement for uni. And at that time I was like, “I just need a placement.” I wasn’t thinking, “Hey, this is what’s going to really get me moving in this industry.”

So I met up with Rob just at the club. He showed me around. He goes, “Do you want to work here?” I said, “That would be bloody amazing.” In my head, I’m like, “I’ve got all these things I need to do.” I’m like, “No, no. I’m going to do it.” I made the call. It was a split second decision. I’m like, “No, bugger all that. I’m going to do this.” A hundred percent it’s like, you don’t say no to an opportunity like that at all. A couple of years down the track, I got offered the role of as the high-performance manager at the Oakleigh Chargers Footie Club, which is part of the TAC Cup, the elite junior competition in the country. They feed into the AFL, and they feed into the draft. And I spoke to Rob and I said, “First of all, thank you. I couldn’t have done any of this without you.” He said, “Don’t even worry about it.” And then we were speaking about hiring interns. And he said, “Ben, you know what you do? It’s not a formal interview process. You simply say to them, ‘Let’s meet up, have a chat.’ And if you like them, you ask them to come on board.” And looking back, that’s exactly what he did to me.

Anthony: Wonderful.

Ben: So definitely the one who gave me a lot of responsibility, put me in a position where if I messed up or didn’t do it right, it wouldn’t matter. It was learning with experience, you know?

Anthony: He let you…

Ben: Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. It was nerve-wracking at times. But definitely, definitely learned a lot from him, grew a lot from it as well.

Anthony: What do you reckon his biggest lesson would have been that he’s given you?

Ben: Biggest lesson is definitely be kind to others. Definitely, have manners, don’t just expect things. You’ve got to earn it up. I think it’s the best way to put it. He threw me in the deep end, but he also showed me the value of actually being a real person and not just being a coach if you will.

Anthony: Yup. You don’t need to scream at people.

Ben: No. I’m not a screamer at all. That is…if you got 70 people that need to hear your voice, you yell. But I’m not yelling at them. It’s just projecting your voice. It’s two different things.

Anthony: What about on the, on the book side, have you got any favorite instructional books or resources on health and nutrition? What’s been good in that regard?

Ben: Yeah. So I’ve got a few. So won’t I carry on about them. But there’s a book called “High Performance Training for Sports” and that’s by a man named David Joyce. He runs a high-performance program at the Greater Western Sydney Giants. This book, in the nutshell, is everything you need to know training wise, nutrition wise, recovery wise, rehabilitation wise. You think of it, it’s in this book in regards to sport. And it’s methods, principles, practical application. He explains in it. He interviews people from around the world in positions of nutritionists, high-performance managers, strength and conditioning coaches, sport scientists. And they’ve all got their little inputs into this book. Fantastic. Highly recommended for anyone who’s into sports.

If you’re more interested in the training side specifically, training methods and training principles, there’s a book called “Athlete’s Performance” and it’s by a company called…I don’t know if you heard of Exos, E-X-O-S?

Anthony: No, I haven’t.

Ben: Over in the States. They are well-renowned performance training center. And the man behind it, Mark Verstegen, I believe his name is. He’s come up with this company. They’re training athletes over in America. They train athletes worldwide. And they also do…they’ve got a tactical branch so they train people in the Army and in the police force and stuff as well. Their book, “Athletes Performance”, is their principles and methods for training people. So it doesn’t have to be athletes. It can be anyone. And every bit of the way where you can follow it from start to finish and either follow their methods or apply their methods. As far as the training book, definitely, definitely that. And I think there’s a few that I can toss up that in regards, not specifically training. At the moment, I’m in the middle of Alex Ferguson, “Leadership”. And I can tell you right now it’s an absolute ripper. I’m loving it. I don’t normally pick up a book of that size. I read it from back to front or front to back. But it is just fantastic. So if you’re more into the leadership stuff or the coaching aspect, I definitely recommend Sir Alex Ferguson’s book as well.

Anthony: That sounds really cool. Excellent. And what about if you were to train me for four weeks to lose weight for competitions, and you had a million bucks on the line to win? What would that training and nutrition look like?

Ben: The nutrition, it would come back to eating a ton of good food particularly fruits and vegetables. I’ll have you drinking as much as water as you can. And in turn, eating your lean meats, your fruits and veggies. Not knowing what you weigh now or what your fat percentage is now, I would hazard a guess to say you might not necessarily lose weight on the scales, but you will definitely [inaudible 00:23:55]. So you’d increase your lean muscle mass. You’d increase the strength and connection of your tissues and what not. So the nutrition would look like that. Breakfast would be high fat, high protein. And then at lunch time and dinner time is where you could get more stuck into your sweet potato, your cauliflower, your pumpkin in regards to a carbohydrate rich meal because you would be training a lot so definitely necessary. And in regards to the training depending on the event. If we’re talking…you say it was… What exactly was it?

Anthony: Like mountain biking or trail running.

Ben: Yeah, mountain biking. Yes. So the ideally… The ideal situation if you had seven days in a week, and you’re available to train every week, you’d have one full day off, completely zero. Off the back of that, you have your heavier days. So it would look to increase your strength base. And then as far as the riding, getting back to that anaerobic base that I spoke about. Probably for the first one to two weeks, that would be the real focus. Your Tuesday, it would be a heavier load again. And ideally on your rest day, so you got your Sunday which is your full day off. Ideally, on your rest days, you’re doing something like you’re swimming or you’re doing yoga. You’re playing recreational sports. Something where you’re not doing nothing even if you are a little bit sore. And then getting to the later into the week, you could probably take the strength training back and focus more on… If you’re trail bike riding, things like hills, looking at the more, I guess you could call it, sport specific stuff at the back end of the week because then you’re coming to your rest again on a Sunday. I hope that made sense. It’s more… The start of the week is less specific, more strength building and non-aerobic building. And the end of the week would be more sport specific with less strength-based stuff, more of the cardio-based stuff, I guess, you could call it.

Anthony: Yeah. It sounds like a great plan.

Ben: Yeah. I just thought about this really quickly. There was bloke over in the States who had a million dollar bet. And it was specific to bike riding. He bet one of his mates that he could ride from LA to Vegas in 30 hours.

Anthony: Wow.

Ben: And he had Lance Armstrong training and… I kid you not. I kid you not. And they had a million dollar bet, and he did it.

Anthony: Wow.

Ben: A whole lot of…he had a car in front of him. What do you call it? Drafty?

Anthony: Yes. Yup.

Ben: Yeah. So he did it. He did that. But he managed to ride from LA to Vegas in 30 hours.

Anthony: Wow. There’s got to be a YouTube video about that. I’ll have to look that up.

Ben: There is. There is. Yeah. Quite remarkable for million dollars. And he trained, and he went full boar on it. Quite remarkable.

Anthony: Pretty good up until the point where we started talking about Lance Armstrong. But let’s not go there.

Ben: Yeah, yeah.

Anthony: He used to be a hero of mine. I just can’t believe how big that…

Ben: I know. You’re not the first person that I’ve had this conversation with.

Anthony: Oh my God. In your opinion, what’s the most important element of a good coach? Talking about Lance as a coach there. But let’s not dwell on that. What’s the best steps that get overlooked?

Ben: Definitely, as a good coach, definitely the ability to communicate and empathy. It’s like if someone says to me, “Hey, I’m really sore.” In my mind, you’ve got to be able to adapt on the fly. It’s not like “Hey, you got to do this. You have to.” If you can read the situation and then they’re sore and you think they can still do it, definitely do it. But you have to be…I think the word I’m looking for is adaptable. It’s not… if you think everything’s set in stone, particularly in a coaching environment, you’re gonna miss the point a lot of the time. You can’t be stubborn, and you can’t be stuck in your ways. You have to be adaptable. You have to be flexible. I think that’s something that might get overlooked by, definitely, some older school coaches. Maybe not so much my generation coming through. But I think a good example would be with Mick Malthouse when he left Carlton. He was premiership coach at West Coast and then he came to Carlton, and he left the club in an absolute shambles because he was so intent on doing things…it was his way or the highway. And I think that approach these days doesn’t work.

Anthony: That’s really interesting. So I guess you’re saying you’re working within a range there as well. When you’re coaching, you’re coaching to a standard.

Ben: Yeah. Definitely.

Anthony: But the standard has to have room and has to be flexible.

Ben: Of course. And if it doesn’t, you’re going to run into issues whether it be…what’s the word I’m looking for? Whether it be that you don’t get along with people, whether you have people that are getting injured, whether you’ve got people that aren’t getting results. It’s millions of different things that can encompass. If you’re not flexible, and you’re not adaptable, and your clients and your athletes don’t think you are, then you’re probably going to miss the mark a lot of time.

Anthony: Very interesting. And what about AFL players? What do they do really that the listeners can take a lesson from?

Ben: They do their injury prevention and their extras really, really well. They come in early. They’ll jump on the foam rollers. They’ll do all their activations with the beds. They’ll get on the balance boards. They’ll do their Pilates. They’ll do just the…I guess you’ll call them the one percenters. I don’t look at them as once percenters because I think they’re necessary and they’re part of the program. But they definitely do the extra little bits really, really well. When me and you go to the gym, we might spend maybe a little bit of time foam rolling or doing some injured prevention work. But not like these guys are doing it every day. It’s a habit. They don’t even think about it. They just come in and do it because that’s what’s in the program and that’s what’s gonna help them play more footy. So I think that’s definitely something that… I know that it’s not just AFL footballers that do it well. It’s athletes in every sport that do it well.

Anthony: Yeah. Very good. If people want to find out more about you and your work, where should they go?

Ben: So I’ve got a website. It’s www.sharperformance S-H-A-R-P-E-R-F-O-R-M-A-N-C-E .com. On there is my blog. On there I also have a business. I do online remote personal training. That’s all on my website. And I post stuff in regards to nutrition. I post stuff in regards to focus and mindset. I post on regards to sleep. So it’s my views on…not my views, my philosophies I guess you can call it, on health and fitness. Anything that comes to mind. And when I’ve got time amongst all the stuff I’m doing at union and in sport, I try to post on there as well. So yeah, that’s where they can find out most about me.

Anthony: You mentioned earlier that you don’t have a six-week program. If people did want to hire you to put a program together and be coached through a program, what do you typically do in terms of the time frame and the scope?

Ben: I don’t like to give a time frame as far as like, “This is when you’ll get results.” But I know in my own mind, eight weeks or two months is a realistic time for a client to really start seeing sustainable benefits, I guess you could call it. So with my clients, they get access on an app on their phone. And we have meetings every…we do half an hour a fortnight. So in that time, we discuss anything that comes to mind. It’s not a step list of questions that I run through and they give their answers. It’s more what do you think you could improve on. If we’re on Skype, “Can I see you squat? Can I see you move? Can you go out and do a 2k timed challenge and tell me your time?” So it’s more just nailing down because sometimes the client doesn’t necessarily know what they want to get better at or why. So it’s getting into the specifics of what they want to achieve, and then I’ll set it out for them. They log on to the app and they literally got all their programming in there for them for the month. And they jump in and they do it. And give me feedback. I give them feedback. We move from there. It’s not a hard and fast number. I like to think that if a client was training six months, they would then go off and do their own thing if they wanted to.

Anthony: Very cool. Ben, it’s been a fascinating talk with you this morning. Thanks for your time.

Ben: Absolute pleasure. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anthony: Look forward and catching up with you soon. Thanks, Ben.

Ben: Beautiful. Thanks then.

Anthony: Ben.

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