From jazzercise to Zumba to the growth of CrossFit and SoulCycle, fitness trends rise and fall every few years. As we learn more about how the human body works and what drives behavior change, society’s larger goals around health and fitness often change. There has been a shift from strictly cardio and weight loss to massive strength and muscle gains to a more holistic view of health and what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.
As technology continues to evolve and work its way into every aspect of our lives, there has been an increase in wearables and tech-enabled health and fitness. This has led to a new type of fitness consumer: those pursuing a High-Performance Lifestyle.
Fitt Insider wrote, “Combining elements of technology, fitness, medicine, and mindfulness, the high-performance lifestyle (HPL) has taken hold. The goal is simple, albeit idealistic: to optimize performance.”
Combining the concepts of biohacking and quantified self, the components of the HPL include health tracking, sleep, nutrition, recovery, fitness, and flow. HPL folks are borderline obsessed with optimizing every aspect of their life to result in the best health possible. It’s an admirable undertaking and those who have the privilege and finances to pursue it will undoubtedly learn a lot about themselves.
For those looking for guidance in identifying where they currently are and how to get where they want to be, personalized fitness is the answer.
Personalized fitness, or individual design, pairs clients one-on-one with a coach who develops a training, nutrition, and lifestyle program specifically for them based on their goals. It all begins with a comprehensive assessment that gathers information about biology, training history, nutrition, sleep, movement, work capacity, motivation, and more. The individual’s coach is then able to outline a specific prescription for them that addresses the gaps in their current lifestyle in order to help them reach their goals. How does this relate to the pursuit of a high-performance lifestyle?
“According to its website, the term quantified self is loosely defined as ‘self-knowledge through numbers’ — where self-tracking is used to answer health questions, achieve a specific goal, or follow a curiosity.” As such, a personalized approach is the only way to receive quality answers. Personalized fitness has a bias towards data, and coaches and clients track metrics that show whether or not they’re moving towards their goals. This could be muscle mass, running time trials, weight lifted, hours of REM, or any number of other health markers.
Relatedly, personalized fitness focuses on the individual. This means that whatever metric is being tracked, whatever question the client is attempting to answer, is based solely on their own goals and curiosity. The prescription is then built specifically to work towards that goal. That may mean some clients are focused on increasing their daily step count or improving their sleep, while others are figuring out the macronutrient ratio that supports training for an Olympic weightlifting competition.
- Test and retest
All of the individual prescriptions would be useless without testing to collect data and then retesting to collect information on new prescriptions. A central tenet of personalized fitness is to test and retest. If an individual wants to get a clearer picture on their blood sugar management, they’ll need to record the circumstances and results from a variety of different nutrition and training situations in order to identify how best to use food for health. Similarly, someone who is curious about the effects of caffeine on their one-mile time will need to run mile time trials in a variety of different situations. There is simply no way to do this in a group class model and the standard personal training model doesn’t support this intensive discovery.
When thinking about Central Athlete specifically, we are uniquely positioned to support High-Performance Lifestyle individuals because we have been focused on optimization since day one. Our mission is to help individuals live their most fulfilled life through health and fitness. We are always striving for progress and clients who are committed to improving their health can see massive success within this model.
There are plenty of blogs and Reddit forums dedicated to biohacking and the quantified self. The United States self-improvement market is valued at over $14B and there is no shortage of companies with the latest technology to help you hack your way to a healthier life. However, without the guidance of a professional coach to design programming (experiments), much of the data gathered will be useless. It’s also important to remember that all of the data in the world doesn’t directly create change; it helps identify habits and provide a case for shifting a given behavior to get to the desired outcome. Oftentimes, it will still come back to the basics - sleep, sunshine, movement, nutrition, hydration, and stress management.
Personalized fitness is the future of the fitness industry in general, but it is specifically well-designed for the HPL group. What are you waiting for? If you consider yourself someone on the cutting edge of technology who wants to live a long and healthy life to pursue your dreams, schedule a free strategy session with a Central Athlete coach below.