Taking Care of The Big Rocks

February 5, 2017

Over the past two years I have been studying with Precision Nutrition in order to expand my knowledge base and improve my coaching skills. One of the key concepts that I have learned is to really focus on mastering the basics when it comes to nutrition and training.


It is always exciting to discuss a new training method or nutrition strategy. To investigate the potential benefits and analyse in depth the minute details of the strategy is always exciting. In the past I would often have looked to try and implement an advanced training method or nutritional strategy before I had mastered the basics. Often I did not see the results that I thought I would and this was because I was focusing on the sand before the big rocks! 








“What in the world are you talking about?”

I hear you ask.

“What does ‘sand’ and ‘big rocks’ have to do with training and nutrition?”
















Watch the following video and you will see what I am talking about



The big rocks are your basics and the sand is the fine details. The basics or the big rocks are things that are important for everyone and yield the biggest return for your investment. The sand represents the small details that are only important if you have taken care of your basics. You will often hear people referring to these small details as the one percenter’s in sports or business.


How does this concept relate to training?


Big Rocks


  • Training with purpose 3-5 times per week.

  • Completing a structured warm up that raises your body temperature andincreases range.

  • Focusing on big movements such as squats, lunges, pushes, pulls and hinges for strength and building muscle.

  • Bodyweight strength exercises such as chin ups and push ups.

  • Working on areas that you currently struggle with.

  • Enjoying your training.




  • Advanced sets and rep schemes.

  • Advanced training splits such as body building routines.

  • Time of day that you train.


How does this concept relate to nutrition?


Big Rocks


  • Eating real foods (single ingredient foods).

  • Being satisfied not stuffed following each meal.

  • Eating slowly and mindfully.

  • Eating a serving of protein with each meal.

  • Eating a serving of vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) with each meal.

  • Eating a serving of healthy fats with each meal.

  • Eating a serving of quality carbohydrates with most meals, especially around training.

  • Drinking water as your primary beverage.




  • Supplements

  • Meal timing

  • Macro nutrient restriction

  • Calorie counting




I want to clarify that I am not saying that the small details don’t matter. Far from it; the small details are vitally important and these small details can be the difference between good and great. That being said these small details or sand do not matter unless you have taken care of your big rocks.


It is very easy to spend your time obsessing over the small details or looking for the latest training technique. It takes consistency and discipline to focus on taking care of the big rocks. Making time to consistently train with purpose, making time to prepare your meals, focusing on mastering the basic exercises and getting at least 7 hours sleep per night. I know this might not sound sexy but this is the truth!


So today I am going to focus on taking care of my big rocks!







Ciaran is the Co-Founder of and Head of Strength and Conditioning at Fitter Faster Stronger Gyms. Ciaran holds an MSc. in Applied Sports Science and is a qualified personal trainer and certified Precision Nutrition Coach. If you would like to learn more about Ciaran's experience you can check out his profile here or follow him on social media here






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