Because the two are so intricately interwoven Training & Lifestyle is a single yet multi-faceted tier of the OFM Pyramid.
Training: Each sport has specific training and OFM Training is not meant to supplant your sport specific training. What OFM Training is meant to do is help athletes and coaches understand how subtle tweaks in the training program to Optimize Fat Metabolism can have a profound effect on the athlete’s performance, recovery and overall health. OFM Training takes more patience but yields greater results.
Base Training: OFM Base training no matter what your sport is all about expanding your fat-burning aerobic envelope. Ideally, starting base training is accomplished once you have made the physiological shift to burning fat as fuel by restricting carbohydrates. Off-season/early season is best in terms of timing. This also works well for most because carbohydrate restriction can begin before at the start of the Holiday Season….this has the effect of keeping the Holiday weight gain off. The other periods where base training can help build yoru fat-burnign capabilities is in the recovery phase after competitions or large blocks of training and this includes “active recovery”.
Periodization, Recovery & Adaptation:
Periodization is crucial for OFM Training. Proper periodization for OFM means successive build periods of ever increasing training loads in conjunction with recovery periods which allow for full recovery and adaptation. This is key. Adaptation means the body becomes stronger and more resilient so it is prepared for the next bigger/longer/higher intensity period and/or competition. As the periods grow so does the cumulative stress load which is where the athlete does not fully recover from the training during the peak period of training volume for each period and why a recovery period. With increasing periods of training volume so, too, does the recovery/adaptation period increase often growing to 2-3 weeks of recovery after the high point volume of training period is reached for ultra-endurance sports.
While OFM athletes are uniquely equipped to physiologically recover faster from each bout of exercise and can handle the cumulative load of periods of high volume and/or intensity, without periods of full recovery and adaptation overtraining occurs and cortisol levels rise and, once this occurs, the fat-adapted athlete in particular is vulnerable to adrenal fatigue and other detriment. Performance will tank as, once in this state the body wants to go back to sugar as fuel and the carbohydrate restricted athlete won’t have the fuel available.
Active recovery means recovery runs, spins or walks or hikes on off days. The intensity is low and the goal is circulation and movement. These can be done in lieu of nothing or downtime because they can be downtime if handled properly.
Lifestyle: One word: RELAX. Stepping back from the constant conscious thought process of perfection and achievement has a much greater positive effect on your health and performance than the sum total of the minor mistakes or less than stellar eating habits. Chronic stress leads to chronic Cortisol response leads to sugar burn and impedes the goals of OFM because conscious thought is based upon a “flight or fight” response.
So the first step is achieving the performance and health benefits OFM offers is to take a relaxed approach to most everything you do. This does not mean complacency nor will you be free from stressors. That’s life. It comes down to how you handle them. Many people stress over things which really do not matter while missing addressing the more issues before them. Sound familiar?
Bear in mind that as your metabolism makes that fundamental shift to burning to the fat-adapted state your ability to coherently deal with stress in a relaxed manner will improve. Fat-adaptation yields blood sugar stability and plays a key role in mental focus and emotional stability. These are key observations of athletes when using VESPA and as they shift to being fat-adapted.
Again, the theme of BALANCE comes into play. Finding the right balance between work, sport, family, relationships and rest is crucial in your life to succeed in every aspect.
Sleep: While everyone knows enough proper sleep is vital for health, performance and recovery/adaptation, yet most of us are not getting enough to match our work and training load. This creates a viscous downward spiral which not only tanks your performance and makes you chronically tired but constantly stressed, more and more addicted to sugar/carbs and caffeine, and prone to injury.
The problem is most serious athletes in today’s world are driven to be the best they can in their sport, profession, relationships and family life thus sleep is the first thing that is unwittingly compromised. It is a conundrum for sure.
So, how does someone who strives to do and be their best in all aspects of life find the time to carve out a few more hours of sleep in their lives? While everyone’s situation is unique here are a few things to consider…..
1.Discipline: Without becoming regimented, look at ways to make your life more efficient. Most people will find there are many ways they are actually wasting time in some of the most banal daily tasks like shopping, cleaning, laundry, bathing and training. Then look at how much of a time sink emails, surfing the internet and social media all play in your life and eliminate the frivolous.
2.Training: Most athletes tend to grossly overtrain in the context of what training volume will yield the best performance for that particular individual. This is principally due to the fact that most training plans are patterned off of how successful professional athletes train. Most professional athletes’ job is their sport! If they do work, the job tends toward low stress jobs which allow them time to train, in other words, the job is secondary to their professional sports career. There is nothing wrong with this, unless you have a full-time job/career and are trying to train like a Pro! So reduce the overall volume and increase the quality of your training to gain more sleep. Keep in mind, the Long Slow Warmup should not be cut from the program as it is so essential for OFM training.
Downtime: Downtime is a subtle yet important aspect of OFM lifestyle. It is time alone without conscious mental or emotional engagement and distractions thus allows the sub-conscious to sort things out. It can be a 15 minute break, reading the comics, taking the time to enjoy a meal, or taking a bath. It means completely unplugging and does not mean random surfing or pinning to your Pinterest board. Your device needs to be turned off or you are away enough not to notice a text or call.
Healthy Relationships: Healthy supportive relationships are key to long-term success with OFM. This seems obvious, yet, due to the time constraints placed upon an athlete for training and competition, are difficult to achieve with, often, the opposite occurring.
At the core is your relationship with yourself. This is complex and multi-layered. What are the reasons for pursuing your sport? What really drives you? What do you have to prove, and, more importantly, why?
Relationships with others are equally important because we do not exist in a vacuum. Probably the easiest and ideal would be to have your core interpersonal relationships with someone who participates in your sport and at your level. This combines the best of both worlds.
For most, though, our core relationships will exist outside sport so seeking mutually supportive relationships is key….this means you support others in their endeavors as much as they support you!
Again, BALANCE is the key. Striking the right balance of selfishness and selflessness to maintain a stable interpersonal base which gives you the launching pad to tackle the obstacles and