I want all of you can better understand where I’m coming from, so I’m going to make my message more clear and concise. If you’ve read any of my past blogs (if you haven’t that’s fine) you know that at Odyssey Performance I believe in training for performance above all else, and when you solely focus on that one element everything else will take care of itself. Let me clarify briefly for all of you why I actually believe that performance should be the foundational goal of anyone’s training and exercise routine. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against training for aesthetics, pain reduction, weight loss, or what some call “general” fitness goals. Those are all fantastic goals to have, and to want to attain from a training routine. I just happen to believe, and more importantly I’ve witnessed many people (myself included) firsthand get all of the above results and more when they simply just focus on their performance day in and day out.
I first started working out when I was 9 years old, my dad bought my brother and I a weight lifting set and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. The set wasn’t anything fancy just a rack with an adjustable bench, a barbell, leg extension and curl set up, and set of weight plates. I had no clue what I was doing, and to be fair what 9 year old does? I just did the typical Bro workout which consisted of barbell bench press, curls, and whatever other exercise I saw in a muscle and fitness magazine. Even though this was my first experience with a weight set, I had been in athletics since I was five. I played soccer, basketball, and did judo for a couple of years as well. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that experience was a stepping stone that led to current training philosophy that I’m about to share with you.
What I didn’t realize at the time that I want to share with all of you is that I was training like a bodybuilder when I first started lifting weights. I’m not saying that this is a bad way to approach training. However, using anecdotal experience as an athlete and a trainer I would later realize that that style of training doesn’t have high transferability over to the real world or the world of athletics. The majority of the best athletes that I played football, basketball, and ran track with didn’t train to look good, they trained to move good. What I mean by that is they understood the fundamental principle of training is above all else to improve performance, and that athletes train movements not muscles. Because when you train movements you will develop muscles, but when you just train muscles you don’t really develop your movement.
Think of some of the best athletes of the past 30 years: Serena Williams, Lebron James, Michael Phelps, Roger Federer, Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt, Abby Wambach, Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White, Mia Hamm, and many more. More than likely, what do most of their training routines have in common? They all train to enhance their overall performance. They train to move better, so that they don’t get injured, because when high level athletes get seriously injured it compromises their livelihood. There is a huge pool of information in the human fitness/performance space and I understand that it makes it hard for all of you to navigate what to prioritize with your own training routines. My recommendation, focus on your performance and every other physical attribute will take care of itself. Stay Athletic!