MAXIMISING YOUR ISOLATION TRAINING
HERE AT CASTORE WE HAVE AN EXCLUSIVE NETWORK OF BOTH ATHLETES AND COACHES WHO SHARE IN OUR ETHOS OF BETTER NEVER STOPS.
WE’VE REACHED OUT TO TOP PERFORMANCE COACH AND CASTORE AMBASSADOR PAUL KELEHER FOR HIS ADVICE ON HOW BEST TO MAXIMISE YOUR TRAINING DURING THE PERIOD OF ISOLATION:
We are currently faced with an epidemic that has (temporarily) impacted our day to day lives. Of course, these are worrying times and we’ve lots to think about, including and some would say most importantly, the state of our mental health. So how can we boost our own morale and use this period of isolation to better ourselves and push human performance? Well, I hope to give you some tried and tested advice to help you.
It has been great to see so many people continuing to push the envelope with their training regimes, being proactive and recreating training environments to continue their programmes. But, I also think now could be the perfect opportunity to explore new areas of human performance, areas we may never have previously considered before.
Here are the 4 specific areas of human performance I’d like to share with you:
Done in the right way, breathing can transition you from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state, giving you new energy, reducing heart rate and blood pressure, making you feel more present. I have adopted breathing to the start of mine and my athletes training, as a transitional phase from an early morning start, a busy day, or when athletes come in just overwhelmed with daily business. Treating your breathing is like hitting the reset button, so try the following:
- Lie down on your back, legs bent at 90°
- Place a hand on your abdomen
- Now inhale through your nose and intake as much air as possible, you should feel your abdomen expand and your belly rise
- When you’re full of air, pucker your lips and exhale all the air possible
- Try to contract your abdomen and flatten your back into the floor at the end of each breath
- Repeat this five times and complete two sets. If done correctly, you will feel a change in your physical state.
This breathing technique can also transition into your foam roller (soft tissue therapy) and stretch sequences. I have started prescribing both stretch and foam roller work by breaths rather than time, as this keeps my athletes more engaged in what they are performing.
Fuel your body for optimal performance. How we fuel our engine has more consequences than you may think. Poorly controlled nutrition can degrade your overall performance, play havoc with your recovery time and make it harder for you to stay focused when it matters most.
It’s important to understand what’s being plated up and what you are consuming in calories and nutrients per day.
Precision Nutrition is leading the way when it comes to fuelling performance and these diagrams illustrate what nutritional plates look like, that are going to fuel optimal human performance.
Working on soft tissue quality and joint mobility will not only open up range availability at joints but will improve the way you move and movement quality which is essential when looking for optimal performance. Improving the overall quality of your movements will reduce the risk of injury and you will be taking a proactive stand when thinking about preventing injury.
Performing 10 minutes of soft tissue therapy (foam roller) prior to training and going through a thorough 10/15 minute mobility/stretch block will have you on the right track. Remember investment here will only improve the overall quality of the session to follow.
I like to have to hand, foam rollers of different strengths, therapy balls of different sizes and massage sticks to help my athletes get optimal results from rolling. Remember this isn’t meant to kill you, if it’s too painful, it may not be doing you any good so think of ways of toning down the intensity (if you don’t have rollers to hand, you can use a tennis ball or equivalent). As touched on above, breath when rolling and stretching to improve the quality of work done.
CREATE A SLEEP ENVIRONMENT THAT ENHANCES SLEEP QUALITY:
Sleep isn’t taken seriously enough as a recovery tool.
Time to black out your windows, remove illuminating lights and clocks and enhance your sleeping environment. Try and create a regular bed and wake up time accumulating seven to nine hours and you will notice the difference in your alertness, mood and willingness to work when you’re well-rested.
I monitor my athletes’ sleep, sleep quality, daily readiness, soreness, hydration and stress levels (this can easily be achieved by grading the above areas one to ten, one being poor), so at the start of a session, we have a thorough overview on how hard my athletes can train. This assessment is essential in monitoring training load and readiness. I would suggest you do the same, develop a spreadsheet and start to see trends in performance and what’s affecting it.
In my 20 years experience as a Personal Trainer, the majority of performance athletes I have worked with deliver the performance aspect of training to a high standard, but need encouragement to do their recovery and regeneration work. It’s time to take recovery seriously and you’ll see your performance in your sport and day to day life peak.