What type of athlete are you?

For the majority of people, Athletic performance and general fitness don’t match up in the same category.  In actual fact, an athlete and general fitness enthusiast can be in the exact same category when it comes to dysfunction and training.  Do not fool yourself into thinking that your training should be any different if you do not consider yourself an athlete!  The human body is athletic in every movement we make.

When it comes to fitness conditioning it’s important to get a clear understanding on what category you fall into so any program you follow will address your needs.  There are three main components to think about.  Movement which means you have optimal functional movement.  Performance which shows adequate power and coordinated movement.  And, skill, that shows you have optimal sports-specific or activity-specific skill.

For many people there is an imbalance between these areas.  There can be an over Powered or underpowered athlete/individual or under-skilled.  Take someone who is highly powered but un-stable.  This individual may seem strong but lacks appropriate stability to reduce injuries and transfer even more power.  Or take an athlete who is highly skilled in their sport but is actually lacking strength, power or consistency and fizzles out early in the game.  There needs to be a reason on why you are training the way you do!  Even basic fat loss programs need to address limitations.   

Many training programs now have become far too specialized and fancy.   You must keep it simple!  True success lies in the individual who can move with appropriate range of motion, has an increased sense of body awareness and an appropriate amount of power production.  You need to have enough stability, mobility and proper movement to handle loads and forces during training, life and game play!  You will then feel like you are in control of your surroundings and any chance of injuries is greatly reduced!

 So, what is next?  What does this all mean for you?  It means don’t exercise blindly!  Do not follow generic programs.  Think about your weaknesses and limitations when you move and find out how to reduce them.  Education is the key to fitness success!

How intense does it get?

Intensity has always been an issue that arises when speaking to people about reaching their fitness goals.  It’s hard to push yourself, sweat and feel the muscles burn if you truly do not enjoy that sensation!  Yes, you can make great gains in fitness with lighter/moderate intensity levels but to truly reach your goals of fat loss and sport performance, you do need to push to levels that are not comfortable!  These levels are also dependent on the individuals level of fitness.  This article will focus on the population that already has a training base.  Has followed a fitness program on a regular basis and does not have any injuries.  Increasing intensity if you are not ready for it can be a recipe for injuries so know your body!
When was the last time you sprinted?  When was the last time you skipped?  When was the last time you pushed your level of fitness beyond what was normal?  Do you find yourself reading on cardio machines at the gym?  Do you spend 2 hours on your workout?  Take this challenge for the next 30 days!  Find an activity that you feel pushes you beyond your norm.  Shorten the duration and increase the intensity level!   This will utilize more energy and overall increase your caloric output and fat usage!  Stop thinking that slow and steady will win the fat loss race!  Running 10k every day isn’t the way to lean up!  Limit your workouts to maximum 60 minutes and less and get outside and climb stairs, hike and sprint the wonderful sport fields! 
Excessive long duration activity can be a curse for Adrenal fatigue and high cortisol levels among other things but most people feel the only way to lose fat is to workout or run for hours on end!  This is the same for athletes!  More is not always better!  Most individuals respond better to high-intensity intervals incorporated throughout the week between the all important regeneration days.  Use heart rate monitors or timed trials into your workout.  Race a training buddy in sprint or agility drills and don’t be afraid of hills or stairs!
Intensity can be the one curse for so many who do not reach their goals.  How you train becomes the enemy but may also become your dearest friend! 
If you have any questions regarding this article please contact Rhonda Catt at cattconditioning@yahoo.com