The Keys to Long-Term Fitness Performance

Vanessa Gatelein Apr 04, 2022
Man and woman talking and resting between workout series in gym

How do you stay consistent with your fitness routine and make progress at the same time?  

By doing what’s right for your body, mind, AND soul!  

In this article, we will explore how to perform your best. This is not about following the program of an elite athlete, but discovering what works for you today, right now and leveling up from there.  

The approach: Make it easier to perform, by truly supporting your entire self. 

1. Accept where you are today.

A lot of us want to be better than where we are today. But knowing exactly where we are today will help us know what to do to help us reach our goals in the future. If we over-train, or push too much, we can injure our bodies and have a big setback. However, if we stay in touch with our body and mind, and truly nurture it, it will be easier to reach our goals and to stay consistent working at them.  

So, do a pulse check. 

Where are you today? 
How do you feel after your training?
With a smile on your face or stressed? 
How do you measure your performance? 
Do you measure time, length, distance, power, strength, height, or speed? 
What is your current mindset like? 
What can you tweak to best support your performance?  

Tip: Keep track of your progress with a journal or chart.  

This is especially important when you feel like nothing is changing. It is nice to see what has changed since the beginning of your journey.  

Solomon Simmons 
Team U.S.A Decathlete  

“The best part about training is competition. There is NOTHING like stepping on the line with the most physically gifted athletes the world has to offer and giving every bit of your effort to perform!”   

2. Support your physical body.

We are what we eat and, when we challenge our body with strong movements, we need to provide our body the building blocks it needs to stay strong and work as it should. This means getting enough macronutrition: protein, carbohydrates, and fats as well as the micronutrition, including vitamins and minerals.  

This is not the time to diet, but the time to focus on eating whole, plant-based foods and finding balance with other foods so you don’t feel deprived. If you’re not sure if you’re getting all that you need, it could also be great to support your diet with concentrated plant-based nutrition.  

Tip: Support your diet with concentrated plant-based nutrition 

For example, support your fitness routine with a Juice Plus+ Perform shake. These shakes are designed to be an all-in-one performance shake with 25g of plant-based protein per serving to support the maintenance and growth of muscle, naturally occurring B vitamins from guava, mango and lemon to support energy production and mental performance and beet root and tart cherry for recovery  

Rest and recovery 
Almost more important than anything else is to allow your body adequate time to rest and recover. This is something to explore and “play” with and can change over time, so keep track.  

How long between workouts or trainings do you have a break? 
How long do you need to sleep and rest in the evenings to feel your best the next day?  
When do you feel rested and refreshed and what allows you to feel that way? 
How many days can you work out during the week? Maybe you need 1 rest day. Maybe you need 2-3 rest days to get the best out of your performance. 

Tip: The trick here is to not get down on yourself if you are tired. 

The trick is to notice when you are tired and find the best way to refresh and reset.  

Focus on the positive self-talk and it will bring you forward.  

Jason Fowler 
Two-time Ironman Champion 

“Morning workouts are the toughest as my body is typically sore from the previous days workouts. I use the technique 5,4,3,2,1 get out of bed to rise and ask myself how bad do you want it? My rule is, if I don’t feel like a workout go do 20 mins and see what happens after that 20 mins and typically I just continue and sometimes I quit which tells me my body needs the rest.” 

Solomon Simmons Team
U.S.A Decathlete 

“SLEEP. The biggest gift you can give yourself is recovery. I believe that people were made to give our best efforts as we work from our rest, not when we rest from our work. It’s a very subtle perspective change that has drastically affected my recovery process. There is a good amount of maturity I’ve gained that made me realize, one more rep isn’t worth the potential downside at critical times in training so the smartest thing.” 

3. Support your mental and emotional body.

Staying consistent is important when you want to make progress. This is not just a physical practice, but 99% of it is mental and emotional. It is your mind that helps you to show up day in and day out, especially when the conditions are not favorable, like when it’s very cold outside or raining in buckets. 

Keeping yourself physically well helps you maintain mental focus and keep your emotions in check. 

Be well rested:
Get your 8 hours of sleep, or more, if needed. 
Take breaks. 

Balance your meals throughout the day:
Fuel your body appropriately for your activity, and be sure to not skip meals to keep your blood sugar levels in check. 

Stay hydrated:
Moving more means your body needs more water. Move and stretch your body. Do this before and after a workout, and be sure to take breaks at work to stretch your arms, legs, neck and spine.  

Mental and emotional best practices to bring you further. 
Friendship and community – being connected. 
Let go of the thoughts that don’t serve you by journaling, talking and practicing meditation. 
Pay attention to your self-talk. Notice when you are beating yourself up. 
Visualize your success. Practice in your mind. Practice with your body.  

Tip: Working out is only one small piece of staying consistent. Mental readiness plays a huge role. 

Along with scheduling your workouts, schedule in time to add in one of the practices above to keep your head in the game.  

Zane Grothe 
National United States Swim Team Member  

“I do use community to reach my goals. Too often people are afraid to fail, so they keep their highest goals a secret. Find a buddy. Join a team. It feels good to know you've helped someone reach their goal by holding them accountable to accomplish what was necessary along the way. Return the favor. Don't be afraid to publicly acknowledge your goals. You never know who is willing to do what to help you. For me I rely on my teammates that I train with. Being part of a team is a huge aspect to achieving my goals.” 

4. Make it fun. 

We sometimes feel that working out or playing sports has to be difficult, hard work and challenging. We forget that it can be fun, exciting, and liberating. We also forget that we don’t have to do it alone. 

Schedule a workout with a friend or someone who is at your gym.  
If no one is around, consider hiring a private lesson with a trainer to help motivation and learn something new. 
Join a group… e.g. a running group to practice and share in the experience. 
Get active with your kids! Play hide and seek or catch. Go for a long bike ride. Teach them to jog for short distances. Give yoga a try! This will give the kids the chance to learn how to regulate their breath and stay connected to their own body. So valuable for growing bodies.  

Tip: when it is fun and people are with you, there’s a better chance you will get your training in. And that means success! 

5. See how the professionals do it! 

Sometimes we need an example of how somebody else is doing it to get us going. It is good to see how an established athlete would structure their day, how they add more training time to their schedule, how they nourish themselves and how they allow their body to recover.  

“As a decathlete, the moment I stop training I’m looking to begin my recovery for the next practice.” 

Solomon Simmons  
Team USA Decathlete 

“Fitting it all in consistently is a feat as I am typically juggling working my regular job. The challenge is not time, the challenge is energy and having enough! My days with ironman training is typically about managing the tired and keeping the workouts as high in quality as possible.” 

Jason Fowler 
Two-time Ironman Champion 
Participated in over 40 marathons and 43 triathlons 

“To look after myself physically, I never leave the house without a water bottle in hand, and I start every meal with a salad. It's the little things that matter the most. To look after myself mentally I have time limits on my phone for my most addictive social media apps. Recently I've deactivated all of my accounts for the remaining two weeks of the school semester to help stay disciplined.” 

Zane Grothe 
7x National United States Swim Team Member 
USA National Distance Swimmer 

Whatever you choose, get started and be curious! Don’t give up when it doesn’t work, just try something else. There is more than one way to get your activity on!  

I am rooting for you!