Optimizing Human Performance

Training Relative to Your Function

BASIC_2014_-8Why do you train? Chances are, if you are in the gym, you have a reason behind why you are there. For some, they are in the gym for aesthetic reasons: to keep in shape, tone up, slim down and put on lean muscle. Others, their goals are all about lifting heavy (and heavier) weights day by day, year by year. Still others simply train to be healthier individuals in life. They get in the suggested 3-5 days per week of exercise, and show up to check it off their list of daily habits and healthy to-dos. They choose to train to be fit and strong for life outside the gym—keeping up with the kids, busting their butt at work, or being able to wipe their own butt when they are 80. Injury rehabilitation is also (unfortunately) part of the mix, at varying seasons of one’s training journey. Rehabbing a bum shoulder or knee, after years of wear and tear on the joints; or rehabbing an acute injury—recently flared up, in order to get back to your original goals for training. Athletes use training to enhance their game outside the gym. Keeping their specific sport in mind, they train for the game. Likewise the exercises, skills, drills and lifts they choose have purpose and meaning for their sport of choice. And, as the "sport of fitness" has continued to grow, a handful of persons choose to train specifically for competitive fitness—think: Regional and CrossFit Games athletes of the world. Whatever your reasons or your "why" for training, it is vitally important that you align your reasons with your function in the gym. In other words: Structure your training to represent and support your personal goals, abilities and reasons behind your training.  As you see, from the varying above examples, these are all individual goals and plans and, therefore, each individual’s programs should look distinctly different. For instance, take your aesthetic-focused trainee, Sandra, vs. your competitive fitness trainee, Nikki. Ok cool…two people who both enjoy training and are committed to being in the gym regularly. But, two people with distinctly different desired outcomes. Therefore, although sub-maximal loaded lifts, accessory work (i.e. bicep curls, bench dips, strict chip-up holds), some good ol’ core "dessert" (sit-ups, plan holds, etc.) and 15-20 minute metabolic conditioning, HIIT sessions may be part of Sandra’s plan... Nikki’s training plan should may look something more like occasional two-a-days, a squat cycle, specified skill work, and snatching technique. What’s the difference in their programs? Their training is aligned with their end goal in mind and their function (capabilities) accordingly.  On the flip side, far too often, many people get their personal function and their training confused. Take the client who just wants general health (Bob), for instance. If Bob’s primary reasons for training is so he can get a good health report at his next Doctor’s appointment and to play soccer with his 7-year-old in the front yard, chances are snatching 15 reps then sprinting around the block, only to have to do that 4 more times, is not necessarily going to pave the way to his own success. Or if Krista really does want to try her hand at competing…it’s going to take more than her once-a-week group-based workout at her box to get her there. Sam is tired of being weak sauce, but in order to get stronger, he’s going to need to turn in his running shoes for some lifting shoes, cut back on the high-intensity interval training in lieu of slower sets and more rest, and replace his baseline maintenance nutrition with some more carbs and healthy fats to ensure more caloric load. This applies to YOU too. Your program should be customized and intelligently designed if you truly want to see the results you hope to see.


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