As a young strength and conditioning coach, I was taught how to design the most effective training programs for our athletes. We would begin with a thorough sport analysis that would include the types, numbers, and speeds of required movements; the specific energy systems utilized during competition; the layout of a normal game and season; and every other aspect that would help us be as specific as possible. This would lead to complex training programs that would include long-term, detailed planning of periods of high intensity, low intensity, and different types of training. Everything was designed to help each athlete peak at the time of his/her competition (peak performance). In my professional baseball days, we created an annual workout plan for the players with workouts designed down to each hour of the day.
When we work with executives, we take the exact same approach. As it turns out, the real world is a bit more complex and unpredictable than most sports. You have to be on all the time. You have to come to work at your best, and go home at your best. You need to peak for a meeting here, a presentation there, a key negotiation tomorrow, jet lag next week, and on and on and on. Physically training an executive to maximize his performance is really quite complex. When we train athletes, we get an incredible amount of data to show us how our training is working, how our athletes are recovering, and what loads they are under each day. When we work with executives, we must create the same impact with much less information.
With this in mind, we take a flexible and adaptable approach to help executives develop their movement programs and achieve their goals. First, we work with our executives to develop a high level of self-awareness to help them self-regulate their workouts. This means an awareness of their current status, short-term load, and long-term load as well as their personal needs, strengths, and limitations. Second, we want our executives to have an array of movement options to help them “stay” on their program no matter where they are, no matter how tough or easy their day is, and no matter what equipment, time, or space they have available. Finally, we try to get our executives to use their self-awareness to help them choose the best workout to get the results they need that day. We call this the audible approach (similar to an NFL quarterback calling a change of play on the line as he assesses the reality of the situation the team is facing).
To use the audible approach, here are a few (not comprehensive) key questions you can ask yourself:
_How do I feel today (bad, ok, great)? How much sleep did I get last night (too little or enough)? How much sleep did I get over the past 5 days (ideal is 35 to 45 hrs)?
_Is my tank full, 3/4 full, 1/2 full, or near empty?
_When are my peak performances (yesterday, today, tomorrow, next week, etc.)?
_What do I need from my movement today (wake myself up, build strength for the future, reduce pain and feel better, prepare my brain to be more creative, recover from previous stressors, etc.)?
These inputs will help you develop a versatile movement program that ensures you have tools at your disposal to help you be your best in any situation. For example, if you're running on empty and giving a presentation in the afternoon, you may want to refrain from doing a high intensity workout first thing in the morning. You'd likely find yourself yawning or double dosing espresso right before the presentation. On the other hand, starting your day with some light movement like Tignum Daily Prep would be a great way to wake yourself up and get you on track to prepare for the presentation. Following up your lunch with a quick walk as you set some intentions and do some visualization will raise your energy and synchronize your brain to help you give your best presentation. Not only does this allow you to be your best today, it also sets you up to put more fuel in the tank to reap the benefits of higher intensity training in the days to come. When you use this movement approach, you are strategically using movement to be a Sustainable High Performer.
Do you have your own movement algorithm? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
By Jake Marx
Tignum // Performance Coach