The Case for Performance

Written by Dave Thomas
Performance360 Director of Program Design

Why do we choose to have ‘performance’ as part of our name?

After all, what is performance? It could be interpreted a million different ways. It’s not like we are a sport specific training facility, right? We proudly train everyday men and women, not competitive athletes, so what gives? Why the focus on performance?

For the sake of clarity, we’re going to focus on the power component of performance. As any performance worth having is going to be governed by your potential to create power. Even you distance runners out there.

First, we must understand some basic physiology. In any efforts, we have three energy systems we use for activity, listed in order of when they are used and broken down as simply as possible.

  • System #1: ATP and Phosphocreatine – we use this the first few seconds of activity. It’s responsible for burst, raw strength and power. Think the first 5-8 seconds of an erg sprint, a box jump of a particularly challenging height, a heavy DB snatch, or a barbell lift in the 1-2R range. This system represents your peak potential, and is the basis for our blog topic today.
  • System #2: Anaerobic Glycolysis – this kicks in after about 15-30 seconds and runs off of glycogen which are the energy stores we tend to get from carbohydrates, reserved in our muscle and liver. Sorta power, sorta endurance.
  • System #3: Aerobic Glycolysis – anywhere from 2-5 minutes of sustained activity activates this system. We’re using a combination of oxygen, fatty acids and glycogen as energy to fuel muscle contraction. Think “cardio”.

Most people will use all three of these on some level throughout the snapshot of both a daily training session, weekly microcycle or goal-oriented mesocycle (like our 5wk program design). In fact, in a Performance360 workout you will train all three whether you like or not. While they are all extremely beneficial to a well rounded performer, it’s always that first fuel system that the public needs more convincing: ATP and Phosphocreatine.

Some easy ways to focus more on this aspect of your training.

  • Follow the lower-rep strength option in Tier 1
  • Heavy DB Snatches
  • Heavy KB Swings
  • More aggression on the erg
  • Go up a level on box jumps
  • Jump higher and bound further on movements that call for it

“Why do I need to train power? I am not an athlete”…I can hear you sadly internally to yourself.

A few reasons.

First, training power stimulates favorable hormones for physique change. Diet is the major cause of change for your body, and close behind it is your training stimulus. When your body releases these hormones it leads to lower body fat levels and increased lean body mass, especially when paired with protein-focused eating. Heavy lifting in the 1-5R range is perhaps the most effective way to ensure you are primed to achieve this.

Juxtapose this against a workout that is primarily cardio focused that long term favors the release of cortisol. The fast-paced, “don’t you dare slow your hear rate down or we’ll kick you out of the fucking studio” workouts exactly like the ones you’ll find at the treadmill factories studios. The hyper focus on heart-rate effort is a nice way to achieve initial results, but after constantly putting your body in a high-cortisol state, it’s why so many achieve an initial level of results in this environment, and then quickly and permanently plateau.

We need progressive overload.

Second, you’ll train type-ii muscle fibers in a way that higher rep lifts don’t achieve. Both are beneficial, but those who achieve their most athletic self spend time training the athletically oriented muscle fibers of the body.

Third, moving rotationally and laterally with power are a crucial component of developing functional performance. Power is not just developed in the forward plane. After all, we’re humans moving in 3D. The ability to control your body in space will make you a more able mover in all that you do.

It’s a simple fact that when you train performance you become more athletic. When you become more athletic, you become more capable. When you become more capable, you are able to continue your progress on an infinite upward curve.

THAT is the entire point of training. To get something from it. If you were only here for your mental health or for friends, then I’d encourage you to take up walking and a book club for half the cost. Here, we want to drive your athletic self and encourage you to explore what you’re capable of.

There is nothing more rewarding.