Outcome Based Training

Fitness Is The Ability To Do A Task


By: Gym Jones

We define fitness as “the ability to do a task.” If the task is a Mixed Martial Arts fight, optimal fitness (and peaking) is one thing. If it’s to row a double scull 2000m then optimal fitness is another thing. If the task is to climb a mountain in a single, 36-hour push, or to run many miles for multiple days in a row then optimal fitness is an entirely different thing.

What is the task? How is success defined? What is important: raw strength, explosive power, speed-endurance or quick recovery? Know the answer before training otherwise it will be a waste of time.

Effective training programs (of any kind) follow a progression:

Needs Analysis: determine the objective
Testing: determine where you are in relation to the goal
Program Design: design the training necessary to get from current status to objective status
Execution: do the program and modify it along the way as required
Testing, Analysis, Redesign: determine if the program achieved its objective, if not, fix it
Execution: do the program and modify it along the way as required

Every individual’s current status and possibly his or her objective are different therefore training methods, volume, intensity and frequency must be different. One size does NOT fit all. If one single training method were universally effective, every athlete would use that form exclusively.

Understand the objective by determining what the dominant contributing factors are. Are strength and conditioning important? If so, which characteristic is most important? If not, perhaps the sport is dominated by technique or technical skill instead. When a sport is dominated by technique, general fitness contributes less to success although very specific conditioning plays a large role. Specificity works. It works really well but everything costs something. Focus requires exclusion.

Test results determine the initial emphasis of the training program: if endurance is lacking, and needed, improve it. But the key to improving fitness is not simply doing the training. The key lies in understanding how an individual responds and adapts to the training and then modifying the program accordingly. This requires constant supervision and assessment.

To us training isn’t a quick fix. It’s not a pill in a medicine cabinet. We learn the objective. Assess the athlete. Design the program. Conduct the training. We modify it as needed along the way. Then we reassess. Change what needs changing and repeat. It’s hard, intelligent work conducted over a lengthy time-line. It requires consistent dedication and discipline, awareness and attention, which, maintained consistently over months and years produces results.

Training is secondary to the task. Period.

Training for a particular outcome and testing against the demands of that objective proves whether the training is effective or not. If there is no test, no purpose, then it’s not training, it is not preparation. It’s called exercise.

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