Updated: Nov 14
Training for Performance or General Health?
We all start off our fitness journey with some type of main goal in mind, whether this is to lose weight, gain muscle, or to lead a more active lifestyle. Our decisions to start training are mostly aimed at improving our overall general health.
Generally speaking, gaining muscle and reducing fat make us healthier, and leading an active lifestyle protects us from health issues. As we progress deeper into our fitness lifestyle journey many people find themselves looking at a higher performance goal and switching the focus to training for this goal.
We all know the positive impacts leading an active and healthy lifestyle can have on our body and mind, with heaps of studies and resources to back this up. But do you know whether your active training routine focuses on performance or general health?
Many people workout regularly to improve their overall health by pushing their bodies to the limits to improve performance. But when reflecting on your performance-focused workout routine, an important question to ask yourself is whether the training is contributing to my general health?
Performance Training & General Health
Many of us admire professional athletes and their physical body shape, they can outperform most people and are regarded as a pinnacle of health. But is it accurate to suggest that these athletes are a pinnacle of health and does it translate to improved health and longevity?
Pushing yourself to improve performance has many benefits when working out, but dependent on your training routine this may not always maximize your general health. The reality is that high performance comes at a price and training for performance at a high level can negatively impact your overall health. Many general fitness enthusiasts are not aware of this fact, it is important to understand and acknowledge high-level performance training can have negative impacts on your general health.
At Function Health Club we believe in helping people understand that training for high performance does not necessarily mean they are maximizing their health. Our team of personal trainers are committed to helping people understand how they can train for performance whilst maintaining levels of their health. We believe in being transparent with clients, so they can make an informed decision as to whether high-performance training is right for them. A training program for an athlete focused on performance can be hugely different from a program aimed at general fitness with goals such as weight loss/gain or certain maintenance goals.
What is General Health?
When looking at the comparison between training for performance and health we must define general health. General health or the term used to be “healthy” can have a different definition for different people. We could define health as free from any diseases or sickness, but wellness experts would add a few more parameters to this definition. These added parameters could include a lifestyle that keeps you active, and a diet filled with all the key vitamins and minerals.
Therefore, training for general health would include a regular effective exercise routine that works to get your body in its best possible shape whilst optimizing your level of health. Optimizing the general health of your body is the key here, to ensure you lead a healthy lifestyle with no other compromise.
Impacts of Performance Training
High-performance training involves pushing your body to its absolute limits every time you train. Studies have shown with blood samples taken from athletes during a competitive season their blood results showed higher levels of inflammation and impaired blood glucose in their body. Other studies have shown that high-performance training can impact lower sex hormone and thyroid hormone levels. So, this makes us wonder why this is the case? If they are training so much and looking like the pinnacle of health why would the blood sample results be telling us otherwise?
As we have covered, the more exercise you do this will have an overall improvement in your health and this is generally positive. But, as shown above, over-exercising can start to have reversing negative effects on your health, and this is something that is not commonly discussed. Exercise breaks down tissues which if your body is repairing you will not have any issues. The difficulty starts when you are exercising too much and your body isn’t able to repair, this can lead to organ functions becoming depressed and your overall health compromised.
Training For Performance or Health?
If you are wanting to train and perform at a higher level it is important to make an informed decision for yourself. Before going ahead with high-performance training, you need to know the trade-off that this may have on your general health.
High-performance training does not work for everyone and so it is important to seek guidance from a qualified personal trainer or health professional. Performance training can leave you open to certain types of issues, and even diseases if you are compromising your overall health over a long period. It is important to seek expert advice and a training plan that ensures you are increasing performance whilst maintaining your general health.
For others, they may find that training for general health is more important and how people perceive and value health is different. But many people are content in training regularly for general health without pushing their body to extremely high-level performance. There is no right or wrong training approach when comparing the two, but it is important to do the research and seek the right knowledge before deciding to move your goals towards high-performance training.
Everyone has different priorities and goals in life, so you need to decide on whether training for performance or general health is the best option for you. When making this decision just remember there is a difference between maximizing health and maximizing performance so decide with this in mind.
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If you wish to discuss your training and performance goals directly with one of our personal trainers please contact us today by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mark Ollerton - Freelance Writer