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Monday
Apr212014

5 Changes for Performance Level Fitness

We’re all interested in good fitness. While our personal standards and expectations defining that may be different, new variables come into play when we’re looking to expand fitness into performance. After establishing a solid fitness base, you may find yourself itching to start pushing your fitness routine out of its comfort zone and into the performance arena. Performance can be defined simply as the next progression of fitness. I’ve had many clients who have accomplished their weight loss goals and then wanted to start training for their first sprint triathlon. I’ve also had clients who have picked up sports that they may have played in their youth. Their weight loss and exercise achievements gave them a new motivation to redevelop their old interests and to perform better. Whether your sport is football, hockey, running or simply active living, focusing on enhancing your performance can be a fun way to approach fitness progression.   

Solidify a Strong Foundation.

As I stated earlier, performance is the progression of fitness. It’s critical to ensure that your overall fitness foundation is strong and ready for a next step. I’ve seen too many individuals start training for a performance event only to be sidelined weeks before the big race because they failed to start their plan by building and solidifying a strong foundation. If you’re training for an endurance event, it’s essential that you continue to strength train. If you’re training for a strength event, you will maximize your performance by building a strong core first. Any performance training plan should start with building your fitness foundation before you begin increasing your volume or intensities. These basic but essential efforts will strongly dictate the safety and overall outcome of your performance endeavor.

Commit to an Event.

Challenging yourself to an event is important for both basic fitness and higher level performance, but when you’re training for a performance event, you may feel like you have a little more skin in the game. Start small with something that will push your limits but you know you’ll be able to finish. Do a 10K before going all in for that ½ marathon. Sign up for an Indoor Tri. To our women members, check out the Esprit de She Duathlon (run & bike) if you’re fearful of the dreaded swim in a triathlon. Commit to an event like the Alpha Showdown, or just browse some of the many athletic events on the Life Time Athletic Events home page. Putting the event on your calendar will give you added motivation once you’ve made that commitment. It’s also fun to commit to an event with a partner or group. This will allow you to hold each other accountable with the common performance goal.

Train Smart.

Whether it's the latest device, assessment, supplement, or seminar, take advantage of the information and tools around you. There is a TON of great content that can be accessible to you at little-to-no cost, but be sure to trust your resources. The days of training for performance with no guidance can certainly still be accomplished, but why not learn from those who have been in your shoes and utilize some of the life and training hacks that have allowed them to succeed? (No need to reinvent the wheel...) Science has evolved immensely over time, and year after year individuals are getting faster and stronger by learning how to train smarter, not harder. Be cautious of many magazines or websites that fixate on the latest trend. If you connect with a website or a coach, make sure the authors or trainers have extensive experience and solid credibility for helping individuals reach their performance goals.

Be Competitive.

This year’s Alpha Showdown is all about “You vs. You.” It’s a great way to enjoy a competitive experience, whether it’s with your previous scores/times or with other individuals in your age or weight category. I’ve had clients who’ve started their training programs with me, making it very clear that they aren’t the “competitive type.” Yet, they continually devote themselves week after week to be better, stronger and faster than their previous selves. There’s nothing wrong with that approach to competition! You can, however, get a little competitive around the office if that’s what motivates you more. Try signing up with a couple of coworkers for a relay team. You can compete against other departments in your company or just amongst yourselves. Competitive performance, however you define it, can bring some added fun to any goal!

Find a Coach.

If your goal is to improve your fitness, there are many health and fitness professionals who can help you achieve that. When it comes to a performance goal, you may want a coach who is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist or a Performance Enhancement Specialist. These individuals will have a larger breadth of education surrounding performance specifically and can help you define the best path to accomplish the detailed goals and relevant preparation. Enlisting this level of expertise is important for many reasons, including the benefits of advanced exercise movements as well as performance specific nutrition and supplementation. Working with an experienced coach will clarify the what, when, and how that best fits your performance plan and supports your success in your individual performance endeavor.

How have you progressed your fitness into the performance zone? Are you interested in doing so at this point in your fitness journey? Share your goals, questions and feedback.

Written by Mitchell Keyes – Senior Program Manager, Life Time Training, NASM-CES, NASM-PES, RTS-123, MAT Graduate

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.


 

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