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03
May
2021

Look for "Major Gains"

Why spend time, effort and money on marginal gains when the biggest impact on our performances is done to 3 key areas.

 

 

Marginal gains seemed to have fashionable only a short life time ago. From Cycling’s aerodynamic equipment to Rugby’s skin tight shirts so tacklers had less to grab. Small improvements could be found with “recovery boots”, running shoe construction and training aid gadgets.

A lot of these items, and hence these marginal gains, are available to both professional and amateur athletes alike. Money is the defining factor and sometimes amateurs may have more disposable income that professionals who are struggling to find sponsors.

Moreover, “marginal gains” are just that; marginal gains. Small increments could be the difference within a level. But the real gains are the ones that will take up from level to another.

The real gains are like the cake and the marginal gains is the icing. Without that bold, flavoursome cake, the cherry is just a cherry. The cake is the base foundation upon which the Elite athlete will build their success. And the training foundation comes from years of training with a scientific approach.

 

Follow the Science

Where can you make the greatest gains? Simply by improving your physiology and metabolism which will:

1 Increase your capacity for lactate clearance

2 Enhance your ability to use fats before kicking into your glycogen stores

3 Increase your power output

4 Improve your sprint for the line.

Our bodies are all different which means adapting your training to fit your needs. What will work for your fellow club mate will not necessarily help you maximise your gains in the above 4 areas.

To start the process of building your individual training program you will first need to know more about your own body’s responses to exercise. Physiological testing is your body’s MOT and will give you all the information you need for your own training program.

Coaches who embrace the science will see their athletes making the biggest improvements, thereby retaining a bigger number of athletes.

Athletes looking to make big gains would probably be looking for a coach who works with, and understands the science.

 

Sports Nutrition

Having spent the energy, you need to refuel properly. Carbohydrates and fats are the most important fuels for muscle metabolism with carbohydrates being the king of needs.

Grand Tour cyclists will take in between 74-81% of their daily calories in carbohydrates whilst Kenyan runners consume 75-78% of their day’s intake in carbs. This high level of intake will keep your glycogen stores topped up as a decrease in these stores will lead to a decrease in muscle contraction force and velocity.

New eating fads happen all the time. They come and then they go. Despite the temptation of a “new idea”, Elite athletes retain the tried and tested balanced diet.

 

  

 

Daily monitoring

Having agreed an individual training program and signed into its concept, it would wrong miss out on sessions or cut back on daily volumes. Likewise, if the program has been designed for you, it would be wrong to “just do” a few extra sprint laps one day and a few extra miles the next.

Collecting training data and comparing it with previous periods is a good way to see where you are heading. Physiological testing & blood analysis (2-3 times a year) will also help you evaluate where you are and if your program needs tweaking.

 

Conclusion

Both Professional and Amateur athletes can make “marginal gains” but overall, these gains will not greatly change the difference between them. But in terms of “major gains” there are much larger significant differences and the professionals with their scientific approach, have a significant advantage.

 

 

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