Training for health, life or performance…ultimately it’s all the same thing.

A theme I keep coming back to when training myself or other people is: “is this practical?”, and “is this going to improve my performance?”.

Basically, I emphasise practical performance over aesthetics.

But a lot of people argue:

“I’m not an athlete/soldier…I work in an office/I’m a housewife/I’m a woman(!)/I’m retired.  That training isn’t appropriate for me.”

I had an amazing 90 minutes yesterday with an elderly bloke who was referred by his GP.  He wasn’t in a fantastic way having had 3 strokes in the summer and now has severely limited abilities on his right side.  He made it very clear from the start that he wasn’t here to get “superfit” or “pump iron” or “get sweaty”.  He was only interested in regaining quality of life and some independence.  (absolutely fantastic reasons by the way!  I love it when people have a definite reason to play, instead of the usual “get a bit fitter, lose a bit of weight”).

The above is a classic example of exercise for health reasons.

But guess what?  This elderly and infirm gentleman here to train for health is following the exact same training principles as athletes and soldiers training for performance…

“Improve your current performance.”

Only the scale is different.  A soldier might train hard to complete a grueling assault course, while my elderly gentleman might train hard to complete a grueling Christmas shopping trip!

They would both identify appropriate Keystone Abilities and improve their performance of them.

For a soldier it could be :

  • Pullups (to be able to climb ropes, climb over walls/obstacles etc)
  • Deadlifts (to pick up and carry kit/comrades etc)
  • A real mental toughness to not give up!

For my elderly gentleman, it could be:

  • Reaching both arms high above his head (so he can use his right arm to help lift things off a high shop shelf etc)
  • Deadlifts (to be able to lift shopping bags off the floor etc)
  • A real mental toughness to not give up!

Notice how the training principles are very similar…but the scale is different?  And there aren’t many people more different than a fighting fit squaddie and an elderly gentleman recovering from 3 strokes!