The Triumvirate of Training

“What are you training for?”

It’s a question you hear a lot in the gym (or the park or the trail or wherever it is you do your training).  And it’s a good question – what ARE we training for?

Typically, with derby skaters the answer (or at least the one we admit publicly) is sport performance.  Increased speed, power, and agility on the track, cleaner strides, harder hits, faster feet.

Within the general population, the answer is usually one of the following:

1) I want to feel better.

2) I want to look better.

For argument’s sake, let’s say the major potential benefits of solid training and decent eating habits are:

Improved Body Composition – Improved Heath – Improved Performance

photo courtesy 'The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition', Precision Nutrition

photo courtesy ‘The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition’, Precision Nutrition

All awesome improvements, right?  And generally, a certain degree of each improvement will happen to you, just at different rates and in different percentages.  A healthy approach to training and diet will aim to achieve a reasonable balance of all three.

That said, the balance is different for everyone.

It’s important to identify what that balance looks like for you.

Each benefit takes a different training focus and has a different timeline.  High-level sport specific performance can have a negative impact on your long-term health in the form of injury or overuse; aggressive pursuit of a great physique often challenges your short-term health and mental fortitude; focusing on your health won’t get you body composition results super quickly and the improvements to your performance will be gradual.

Trying to get really lean, amp up your blocking power, and have optimal joint mobility all at the same time will pull you in so many different directions, that you’ll likely just end up getting frustrated with your lack of progress.  It’s like a dog with 2 bones – you have to choose one or potentially lose both.

When you really dig into your own goals, are you focusing on one of those things, or are you trying to make them all the goal?  Do you want to bring your laps up from 29 to 31, or do you want your legs to look great while you’re skating them? There’s no shame in having a physique based goal. Have I ever told you why I really started training? Sure, there was derby. But underneath it all, I wanted to look great in my wedding dress.

What really drives you?  What gets you into the gym, even on your not-so-great days?  When you imagine where your training will get you, are you the fastest skater in your league?  Or are you rocking your favourite jeans with a booty that won’t quit?  Or are you a 65 year-old who can still carry her own softener salt?  Whatever that deep motivation is – identify it and own it.

Be honest with yourself, and be practical about what you can achieve. Choose the benefit balance that works for you.

I’ve quoted Dan John before, and I’ll quote him again, “The goal is to keep the goal the goal”.    Keep one goal in mind, then get serious about your training and nutritional path.


So, what are you training for?

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  1. You did, by the way. Look amazing in that dress.

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