Peaking for Performance: Part 1 – Mind and Body
Whether you’re training for a big event, preparing for a competition, or getting fit for an upcoming season, there is no better feeling than being both mentally and physically prepared. This way, no matter the outcome, you know you’ve given it everything you had.
In order to maximize your gains, climb strong, light, and confident, it’s important to follow a routine which targets these attributes. In this three part series I’ll break this “peaking process” into three main categories; Mind & Body, Weight Management, and Nutrition. Here in Part 1 the focus is Mind and Body which I’ve subdivided into Plan, Prepare, and Peak. A sample calendar is provided for reference.
Mind and Body:
I use this term to outline ones preparedness both physically and mentally to meet the challenges ahead.
Plan: It’s important to assess the challenges you will face. If, for example, your set goal is to finish a longstanding project on an overhanging crimp route, the physical challenges you face could be grip strength, body tension, and stamina. Whereas the mental challenges you face could be lack of confidence in your abilities or fear of a tendon injury. Whatever the case, a solid plan for what you need to focus on and how best to train and prepare for your specific goal is essential.
Prepare: Once you’ve identified your goals and assessed your physical and mental challenges, its time to shape those ideas into a strategy for success. Find three or more workouts for each of the physical challenges you plan to train for, then create a month long training schedule which outlines the workouts and goals for each training day. See the example workout schedule provided for an idea of how this might look. Next, incorporate a strategy for tackling any mental challenges associated with your project. This can sometimes be the hardest part, but often times the most important. If fear of tendon injury is your biggest mental road block, incorporate a plan for strengthening your tendons and mark improvements to your campus board routines into a log book. By incorporating mental challenges into your training routine you can turn fears into tangible goals you can reach and record. If you face a mental challenge such as a lack confidence, find routes in the gym which contain challenges which trigger those feelings. Use these routes not only as a physical gage but as a mental one as well. Mark both the physical and mental improvement into your training log and reference at the end of the month for a boost in confidence.
Peak: It’s important to plan and prepare for your upcoming goal through experimentation. We all have unique requirements when it comes to attaining our personal peak performance. Some important issues to investigate generally include how much rest and recovery you’ll need before the big day, what kind and amount of fuel and hydration will you require leading up to and during the project, and how much sleep will you require beforehand. Answering these important questions in advance will help you prepare for peak performance both physically and mentally. Since we all thrive on different amounts of sleep, different types of food, and recover at varying different rates it will take a bit of trial and error to dial in what works best for you. As a practice, try incorporating these trials into your training calendar. By experimenting and dialing in these important factors your mind and body will feel ready for the big day and it will be easier to perform at your peak.
Example Advanced Workout
(Disclaimer: Not intended for beginners. This workout requires understanding of the training process, how to warm up, and can take years of experience to master without risk of injury.)