3 Ways to Thrive as a Veteran Athlete
Updated: Aug 13, 2019
After years of education, instruction and kinetic problem solving it's easy to believe, as an experienced athlete, that you might be due for a completely individualized program or that you have 'outgrown' any group-templated program out there.
While there are certainly times that call for that (competition prep or biased training toward one specific aspect of fitness, just to name a few...), consider the options below as ways to extend your progression and enjoyment in the group training environment you find yourself in.
Figure out where you actually are. At Cfdc we treasure the advanced athletes that come thru our doors and want to meet them right where they are. This means we administer an assessment set that goes beyond the basics of "can you/can't you" and have a blast looking at the balance across movements and well as energy system training.
Most coaches at most facilities should have a battery of tests they use to determine where you lie on the spectrum of fitness. If you've never gone thru that, now is the time to ask!
Pop open the hood and figure out:
why your close grip bench is weaker than your power clean (psst...you're stronger than you are powerful)
why your elbow flags out every time you try that bar muscle up (there might be an asymmetry between the pulling strength of your arms)
why you love workouts that are interval based but only when it's under 30 seconds of work (you might be more built for anaerobic work/higher power!)
From that testing, you might find that you aren't the finished product you thought you were - ha! Most of us are intimately acquainted with what we lack, but to objectively have that measured can sometimes be humbling. Join the club!
If this is you, it might mean for a season you completely devote yourself to balancing out those 'things' with a completely individualized program, but it may not. We've had great success prescribing daily 'extra credit' that is individualized for that athlete and thru the compounding effect of daily attention, we see great improvement on a faster time table than we sometimes expect.
In addition to focused work outside of class there are several things you can tweak inside class. A few examples might be:
Working on more strict strength but the workout calls for high volume of that movement? Figure out the 'time under tension' and double check with the coach for the strict option you had in mind
example - 50 kipping handstand pushups turns into 20 strict deficit; 100 kipping pullups turns into 45 strict chest to bar
Absolute strength not where you thought it was?
Increase the load, very slightly, but still shoot for the intended stimulus and time frame of the workout
example - slip a weight vest on for cindy but still shoot for 20+ rounds
Have trouble with stamina but strong as an ox?
example - negative split your rounds: have your own little timer that tells you if you are getting faster each round (psst...you'll have to start slower then your competitive spirit wants you to)
It's impossible, right? But embracing the beginners mindset, allows us to revisit the movements we think we've mastered and see where we can improve even 1%.
We find great satisfaction in virtuosity: An approach that makes everything we do look...easy (although it isn't). From range of motion, to core to extremity; from transitions to breath work - the places to find improvement are broad and deep.
This perspective should encourage you to not only be competitive with your pace but also with your position.
Instead of whipping the pack by one minute with 9/10 of the squat range of motion you could have, shoot to perform a 10/10 squat, and be in front by 10 seconds.
Do you need to banish yourself to the garage or train on an island if you've got the basics down or put up the top times in class? Not always! Enjoy a fresh perspective, a new challenge and the unattainable pursuit of perfection as a way to stay engaged for years to come.
Here's to being: