Fitness Trail: Performance primer |

Fitness Trail: Performance primer

Jackie Wright
The Fitness Trail

So, you walk into your group exercise class or personal training session and complete your workout adequately. Your body is responding, but it seems to be more slowly than you would expect and you begin to wonder why this is the case when you feel that further progress should have been made at this point. After a discussion with your group exercise instructor or trainer, when they suggest that perhaps you are not quite pushing the limits enough to achieve the results you seek, frustration seeps in deep.

But, this may be avoided! Avoid permitting frustration to derail your fitness journey. Sometimes, all we need is a little performance primer and we are off and running again. Get back to the fundamentals of each and every exercise this coming week and remember that the body generally responds to safe and effective exercise of the correct frequency, intensity, duration and type. Consult with your fitness professionals for additional guidance, but in the meantime, consider this week’s performance primer tips. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Performance primer tips:

Set up for success! Body position is crucial to ensure success—so, review your postural alignment and your body’s position in relationship to ground forces such as gravity.

Before performing any repetition of any set of any exercise, strive for performing it as perfectly as you are able. Do not settle for less than the best for you. Each day is different, but you may still perform as optimally as possible based upon your body that day.

Listen deeply to the details of the instruction and coaching you are receiving. There are dozens of aspects to each exercise which fine-tune it to keep you safe and enable your body to positively respond. The “devil” as they say, “is in the details”.

Elevate your performance in some way each time you perform each exercise. Choose a goal for that day for each exercise. Perhaps you will choose to truly stabilize your shoulder joint during every upper body exercise, paying close attention to scapular stabilization as well as head and cervical placement. Or, perhaps it is your general stability that is in question, aspects of your mobility, the levels of concentration, the control of the movement, your breathing or whether you are truly working to a point of momentary muscle failure on every set of each exercise. Whatever the issue, identify it, correct it and improve it.

Less is more—it is preferable, in most cases, to perform fewer repetitions, with complete control than to attempt more repetitions with poor form and technique leading to possible injury. Shoot for quality rather than quantity.

Ask your trainer for specific feedback. What did you do well, where do you need improvement and how will you continue to improve? Request progressions and if the trainer does not feel you are ready, they should share that input with you, tell you why and when you may be able to progress so that you stay excited and motivated to train.

While we all have limits, structurally and physiologically and we are each unique, every one may elevate their performance in one way or another. Prime the body each time you work out and continue to train for excellence truly reaping the rewards.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby. She may be reached at her website at, her email at and her Facebook Page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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