Introducing: Train Better, Not Longer
By Cody Waite
Cody Waite is a professional athlete and owner of Sessions:6 Sport Performance. Along with his wife Kathy, he works with athletes of all backgrounds and disciplines to optimize their performance. With over 20 years of experience in bike racing and triathlon (as well as a USAT 2 Coaching certification) Cody brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. His signature Sessions:6 program focuses on the whole athlete, rather than just one or two specific areas. Cody will be going into more detail in coming blogs, but for now, here's an overview of what he's all about:
Six Components to Sport Performance (The Sessions:6 Performance Philosophy)
It’s common to think that becoming a better athlete means training more and pushing harder. Many athletes are familiar with the 10,000 hour rule. That is, that anyone can reach the elite level in their field with 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. In many ways this concept holds true; you definitely need to put in the time for your body to adapt and learn the skills required to perform at a high level of sport.
And assuming you have the time and fitness to spend 5+ hours a day training at your sport, there’s no question that you will improve. But is this high volume, single-focused training approach the only way to maximize performance? Definitely not.
So What is the ‘right’ way or ‘best’ way to improve as an athlete? There are many theories out there, but I have found that the only true rule is: “it depends.” How old are you? What’s your background in sport? What’s your lifestyle like? Do you have a job, a family, time, energy, and/or the physical capacity to train 30+ hours a week?
If you’re an athletic 20-something individual with minimal life stress and plenty of financial backing then it’s easy to put in the big volume. However, if you’re over thirty, have to make money to support yourself and/or your family, or are a less-than-perfect physical specimen, then simply doing more of the same thing might not be the best way to reach your potential.
So what do you do if you’re in the latter category and big hours aren’t an option? Through working with hundreds of different athletes coming from diverse backgrounds in sport, I have found that there are six essential components required to maximize fitness and athletic development.
1. Aerobic Conditioning
Aerobic conditioning can be achieved within your usual training, as well as through cross-training during specific times of the year. Long days, along with moderate and high intensity interval training (at and above your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds), will teach your body to convert oxygen more efficiently and recover more quickly.
2. Strength & Stability
Including muscular strength and joint stability training in your routine will improve your range of motion, application of force, and overall durability. Improper joint mobility and/or joint stability limits nearly every athlete in some manner, so don’t feel bad if you feel like a fish out of water. Slowly improving your strength and stability will make not only make you a more efficient machine, but will also allow you to use more of your aerobic capacity.
3. Skill Proficiency
Moving your body efficiently is critical to maximizing strength, power, speed and endurance. Wasted energy through improper movements not only slows you down but wastes valuable energy, limiting your performance. By incorporating skill drills into your training program you’ll be able to maximize your gains.
4. Diet & Nutrition
Most athletes are aware of the importance of nutrition but few actually take it seriously for any length of time. Through optimal nutrition you’ll not only perform better on race day, but you’ll also able to achieve optimal body composition for improved performance, optimal energy levels, improved training capacity, and optimal hormone operation to improve health and recovery.
5. Stress Management
Recovery between training sessions is critical to maximize your training consistency and adaptation. It’s important to learn and incorporate proper recovery methods, as well as recognize other forms of stress in your your life. Adjusting your training accordingly will allow you to get more from each training session.
6. Mental Fitness
Perhaps the most neglected and overlooked component of success in sport is the power of the mind. Getting yourself in the right mindset to train to your fullest potential and compete to maximum ability is surprisingly tough to learn. It is also one of the key differentiators between regular athletes and champions. By practicing mental strategies and learning how to train and compete to your full ability, you’ll unlock the complete athlete within you.
By incorporating these six components into your daily training and lifestyle you will be able to consistently improve your performance year after year. Don’t fall into the trap of simply doing the same thing repetitively, or more, in hopes of reaching those 10,000 hours. When you expand your vision and athletic ability by addressing a wider concept of fitness, you’ll find yourself continually evolving and improving, not just in sports but in all areas of your life.