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Nutrition, More Than Working Out, Is the Key to Fitness

Charlie Chandler has earned a living as a football coach and high school teacher. Now, as owner of C4 Explosive Sports Training, he educates athletes on the best ways to reach performance goals, avoid injuries, and achieve peak fitness through nutrition.

“The number one thing I believe is in educating people on the process of fitness,” Chandler says. “Someone approached me the other day and asked me, ‘My child is trying to get into West Point. They’ve got a couple of weeks. Can you improve their push-ups, their crunches and their mile?’ Is that realistic? No. Fitness takes time. People need to be educated. And the number one thing is nutrition.”

Chandler points out that until people understand nutrition, they’re not going to reach their fitness or weight loss goals. Trying to build muscle or six-pack abs without considering the nutritional component is like “spitting in the ocean to make the water rise,” he says. He counsels his clients on boosting their metabolism, and also has them log everything they eat. Oftentimes, people don’t have a realistic concept of how many calories they’re consuming. “If you eat Chick-fil-A sauce, I need to know how many you ate,” Chandler says. “There’s more than a hundred calories in a pack!”

Nutrition is so fundamental to the understanding of fitness that Chandler teaches it each year in his high school classes. He hopes that even those students who complain that they never use anything they learn in school will remember how to eat healthy. He hopes his students will resist fad diets and weight loss pills, and focus instead on eating nutritious foods to control their weight.

“People can’t just say, ‘I want to lose fat in my belly, so I’m going to start doing crunches.’ It doesn’t work like that. You can’t spot reduce. These are the things I educate people about, so they can buy into doing things the right way.”

Chandler teaches his students, “If you take care of your body, it will take care of you.” Beyond nutrition, that also includes specific training routines for injury prevention — especially for those who aspire to compete at the highest levels of college sports. “Let’s use basketball for an example,” he says. “Let’s say you pump fake somebody, they jump, they’re heavy, and they land on you. Your body’s not used to that load. Now, say you’ve been going to the weight room and doing squats with a load. Now you’re applying more weight onto your back and legs, and your body’s stronger. You’re strengthening ligaments and muscles and bones. I teach them the right way to do it — and the ‘why’ behind it.”

Eighth or ninth grade is the ideal time to start training student athletes, in order to instill good habits in them, Chandler says. Young athletes get caught up in “gym rat” enthusiasm, but they may not think about the damage overexertion can do to their bodies. “They’ve been going to the gym and bench pressing and squatting every day, but when are they going to recover? When will their muscles grow?” Chandler says. It’s a good time to focus on nutrition, too. “Are they feeding their bodies right? How are they going to grow if all they eat are Cheetos? Do they understand the 45-35-20 ratio of nutrients their bodies need? These are things I instill in them at a young age.”

By starting fitness and nutrition training before high school, Chandler aims to give his athletes an upper hand over their competition. They’re free to start the year focused on the techniques of their sport instead of starting at square one with weightlifting, training, and proper eating habits.

Building character is another essential aspect of Chandler’s training regimen. He prides himself on building well-rounded athletes who perform in a superior manner both on and off the field. Developing strong character not only instills discipline and teamwork in athletes, but deters them from being adversely affected by celebrity and success.
Chandler is available to answer questions about his training approach, fitness, nutrition, speed and agility camps for student athletes, and boot camps for adults.

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