The BodyZen Brand of Training
As we approach our 12th season of coaching multi sport athletes I wanted to put pen to paper in an effort to identify what our brand of multi sport training is, what makes our brand of training so successful, what makes our brand of training better than others and where we can improve on our brand. Now that there are over 1600 USA Triathlon certified coaches in the world varying from the beginner Level One Coach to the Elite Level 3 Coach I want to lay out what separates us from other coaches.
At the time of this writing there are currently only eight Elite Level 3 certified coaches from USAT and being one of the eight I feel makes us unique. Now all of the coaches in BodyZen share their wealth of information and experience together so that we can stay ahead and train our athletes with the collective knowledge of the coaching staff. Our coaching staff meetings will increase over the next two years and we will expand the areas of topics covered. The BodyZen coaches are all experienced athletes and this really helps the coach to connect with the athletes as he/she will be able to know firsthand what various types of training and racing feel like. But you will not find the coaches race results come first nor are they at the forefront of the coach’s resume. Education and coaching experience are the critical success factors of our coaches. Our coach’s care, I mean really care about not only how the athlete develops but also about them as people. This is a key part of our brand of coaching. There is a large amount of attention, thought and expertise put into a BodyZen athlete. When an athlete begins with BodyZen, whether they are working individually under the most structured and supervised training plan available or in a group training environment there are many components. Some of the components of our training include: weekly consultation with the coach, group coached sessions, individual performance testing and more. But, the essence of our brand of training lay in what we call The Plan.
What is The Plan? The Plan is comprised of the structured and calculated workouts which the coach puts together on a weekly, bi weekly or monthly basis. Without The Plan, success will not greet the athlete. The Plan is designed by the coach using experience, science, feedback from athlete and most importantly forethought. Forethought is essential to ensure the athlete has the highest quality training session which will yield the highest quality race. The coach needs to have forethought to ensure the athlete has proper recovery for a workout or a race. Forethought is also required to ensure that the load on the athlete on a daily or weekly basis is appropriate for him or her. Without proper forethought too much load can be placed on the athlete and this can lead to physical/mental burnout or injury. The Plan quantifies the training of each sport and also the overall volume so the coach can also keep a keen eye on the passive or active recovery sessions. For individuals training for a big race and who are serious about performing well The Plan is the main component for success. The Plan is course specific and always takes into account the following:
• Athletes available time
• Athletes strengths and weaknesses
• Athletes previous athletic history
• Athlete’s body type and history of injury
• Athletes mental capacity for training and racing
For group coaching The Plan is important but will not be as individually specific thus the workouts will be very different to satisfy the goals for the group rather than the individual.
The Plan is not fixed and rarely is built more than two to three weeks at a time. It evolves over the season through testing, feedback from athletes and also through race performances. The decisions that the coach makes from all of this information will directly impact the success of the athlete. This is a large component of The Plan. So when an athlete alters The Plan this alters what the coach wants and is expecting back from the athlete. When we have athletes ON The Plan and the better the input and feedback from the athletes the better the success will be. With this dynamic in place there will also be a better coach/athlete relationship. The better the relationship between coach and athlete the better the race results will be. In my experience when an athlete isn’t completely following The Plan and see’s some good results this sometimes is a catalyst for better schedule adherence in the future. Then future race results will be even better.
Our KEY sessions are a major component of our brand of our training. The BodyZen KEY workout sessions are workouts that we have developed over time using the latest in scientific research and also feedback gained from the athlete. These sessions or string of sessions typically are in The Plan to get the athlete fitter physically but also to improve them mentally and to give them confidence. The mental success of the athlete is critical to race day success and confidence is something that must be worked on in training first. Confidence can be developed in small steps which are easy for the athlete to identify and embrace. The athlete must firmly believe that they can achieve the goals of the race whether they are race time goals, process goals, interior race goals or other. The KEY sessions completed week in and week out and then combined with good recovery nutrition and other quality recovery techniques will yield the best results.
Our brand of training is not only limited to The Plan or the follow up but also to the vast amount of information we give the athlete to reinforce the training and recovery. Information is one of the keys to success. Information as in what type of protein will digest the best, how many grams of carbohydrates should be consumed prior to an Olympic Distance Triathlon for a certain body weight and much more. When given the opportunity to have a sponge for an athlete we give extremely useful information and mold the athlete so that they can get the best benefit from a workout, training block and ultimately the race. The sponge athlete wants to eat what we tell them, wear what we tell them and sleep as much we tell them and with all this information going in, they will turn into a true athlete and one that will reach higher goals then they set for themselves. Our brand of training relies on information as much as sweat.
Now as with different brands of dog food, detergents or tires, our brand of training might not be for everyone. I feel it is crucial though that an athlete uses a brand wholeheartedly as prescribed by the coach to see if it works for them. If the athlete only commits fifty or seventy percent to The Plan and the methodology of the coach then the return will not be 100%. Here are the key factors that run concurrent through the successful athletes we coach:
• Good planning ahead so they know where they will be whether it is the next day or in a week so they can plan to get the workouts in
• They are not afraid to ask questions even if it means they might risk sounding dumb or even if it is a minor issue and our coaches are happy to answer them. If I do not get at least one to two questions per week from an athlete then I know they are not truly invested in The Plan
• Good logging and this is critical. In my experience either an athlete logs 90-100 percent of everything or they log nothing. Now I have found that the athletes that get the best results log the majority of their workouts. It is just that way. I have had some succeed without logging a thing but by and large to succeed in the coach/athlete relationship, logs are a great tool.
• Removing themselves as the Alpha Dog. There can be only one Alpha Dog and it has to be the coach
• They love the sport of triathlon and not just the love of winning
The BodyZen brand has worked for thousands of athletes of various levels and for all different sports. As well, our brand has evolved over the years and will continue to develop and assist many more athletes in their multi sport endeavors.