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The Keys to a Great Taper

The Keys to a Great Taper

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

Did you know that only about 20% of Olympians achieve a lifetime best performance at the Games? Check out this article on tapering and how you can be one of the few athletes who is able to reach their potential on the big day.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Tips to avoid illness teaser

Tips to avoid illness teaser

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

Have you noticed you get sick during high-training periods? Check out this article to learn the 5 tips on how to avoid illness.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Welcome to Optimizing Peak Performance!

Welcome to Optimizing Peak Performance!

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

Check out the introductory video below.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Dream Setting

Dream Setting

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Dreams are our deepest and most dearly held hopes and aspirations. They have the power to inspire and consume us, capture our imagination, and create powerful change.

2. Dreams are more powerful than goals to fuel passion, and drive action and growth.

3. By dreaming BIG, then making small, consistent improvements, you can revolutionize your performance.

TODAY’S EXERCISE: DREAM SETTING

Fill in the “Dream Setting” exercise on page 26 of your Athlete Workbook.

Jot down some notes about what you want to be, do, or achieve. Once you’ve set your dreams and goals, tell people who you are close to.

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More on Dream Setting

Having worked with so many high-performance athletes during my career, I know one thing: promises and goals lack the power to change your life. We have to go bigger. We have to dream.

Dreams are more powerful than goals, despite goal setting being the traditional method for building motivation. They inspire us to new heights. Dreams are our deepest and most dearly held hopes and aspirations. Dreams capture our imagination. Dreams create extraordinary motivation and transformative change. They enable us to live differently.

Unfortunately some people think that setting dreams is somehow hokey or silly. It’s not. Dreams are a powerful and effective way to find the motivation you need to achieve more.

You need something that powers you to do more. You need dreams that can drive you to be better. Dreams give you a flame in your heart that ignites passion. If you think about what Olympic athletes look like when they win – exhilarated, thrilled, excited, energized – you will have an image of what the fulfillment of a dream can do for you. 


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

The Power of Why

The Power of Why

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Intrinsic motivation is a more powerful motivator than extrinsic motivation for people over both the short and long term.

2. Ask yourself why to understand your internal motivation. Why do you want to improve your performance? 

3. If you focus on what drives you from the inside, you will find it a lot easier to implement the new skills, knowledge, and techniques that we're discussing to help you achieve your dreams.

TODAY’S EXERCISE: THE 5 WHYS

Fill out the “5 Whys” exercise on page 27 of your Athlete Workbook.

Take a look at your dreams and goals that you filled out at the beginning of the program and then ask yourself why? Why do you want to achieve those things?

More on the Power of Why

When I was working as a coach and physiologist with Olympic-level athletes, one memorable moment stood out to me.

We were in the middle of a set at a training camp and I yelled, “C’mon pick it up, let’s go!!!” He stopped, looked at me, and with venom in his voice replied, “I know how to push myself!” He went on to do a great training set, and we didn’t say much after that - and the workout was awesome. He didn't need external motivation; his internal drive was already powerful enough to get to the podium.

This moment highlights a key aspect of motivation. Successful athletes are powerfully motivated intrinsically (within the body and mind). They want to reach their potential because that’s what they love doing. They are not motivated extrinsically by anything outside themselves, such as me yelling. I’d forgotten that. According to sport psychology, extrinsic motivation works well in the short term but not so well over time. Intrinsic motivation is a more powerful motivator for people over both the short and long term.

I want you to think about your intrinsic motivation. This program is all about helping you to improve your performance. Sometimes things will get tough and you will regress or get off track. But if you’re aware of your “why” – why you are working hard to improve – you will recover very quickly. 

Why do you want to get a best time? Why do you want to win more games? Why do you want to make a provincial or national team? If you focus on what drives you from the inside, you will find it a lot easier to implement the new skills, knowledge, and techniques that will help you achieve your dreams.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Recovery and Regeneration

Recovery and Regeneration

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. The ability to recover within the day and between workouts separates elite athletes from the rest.

2. In order to optimize your performance, focus on these four steps after your workout, game, or competition: Active Recovery, Rehydrate, Refuel, and Regeneration.

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Step 1: Active Recovery

One of the physiological processes that occurs during exercise is your muscles produce metabolic waste such as lactate. This is a good thing during exercise, however eventually the waste prevents your muscles from working as well.

Therefore, it’s important to remove the waste as quickly as possible, especially if you have multiple events in a single day, or are involved in competitions where you're required to perform on several occasions over a tournament.

Exercising at a low-to-moderate intensity speeds up the removal of metabolic waste products such as lactate, ensuring that your muscles are working optimally when you start exercising again.

Help your muscles out by taking 5-15 minutes of active recovery: moving your body at about 55% of your maximum heart rate rather than stopping completely and resting. You shouldn’t feel a burn, but you should be moving more than you do when not working out. 

To estimate your maximum heart rate you can use this equation: Maximum heart rate = 217 – ____ (0.85 x your age) = ____ beats per minute minute (bpm)

Step 2: Rehydrate

Rehydrate with water. If you’ve been working out for longer than 90 minutes or in hot, humid conditions, you can add some carbohydrates and electrolytes to your drink. But most of all, focus on water. You need a lot of it to properly heal and grow. For specific recommendations, check out hydration for peak performance.

Step 3: Refuel

It’s time to get nutrients back into your system. Stick to complex carbohydrates, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats. If your workout is more aerobic, try a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. If you’re doing strength training or higher-intensity intervals, eat closer to a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. For specific post-workout recommendations, check out post-exercise nutrition.

Step 4: Regeneration

When muscle fibres are damaged, inflammatory cells move to the area and help break down and remove damaged tissue. Inflammation after exercise is a critical healing process. Your body needs the process of breaking down, experiencing inflammation, and making the repairs in order to develop and improve!

And guess when the majority of the rebuilding process occurs? That’s right - during sleep. Make sure you’re getting 8-10 hours each night in order to repair your body from that day’s workout, and to prepare it for the next day. Check out sleep and athletic performance for more information on why sleep is so important.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Build your flexibility

Build your flexibility

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. There are two main types of stretches - Dynamic and Static - which have opposite effects on the body. 

2. Dynamic stretching (anything that stretches your muscle while moving) should be done before exercise as it increases blood flow, muscle temperature, and range of motion.

3. Static stretching (holding your muscle in a stretch for a period of time) should be done after exercise as it helps to align muscles and reduce tension.

Today’s Exercise: Stretching routines

Check out these dynamic stretches you can do before your workout and these static stretches you should do post-workout.

More on Stretching

Stretching is an incredibly important element of athletic performance that is often overlooked. Regular stretching decreases muscle tension, reduces pain and improves range of motion. 

But what kind of stretches should you do?

There are two major categories of stretches: static and dynamic. Static is the name for traditional stretches where you put a muscle on stretch and hold it for a period of time. Dynamic activation is the name for any motion that extends your muscles while moving, like swinging your legs or arms, or doing lunges before a workout. Each type of stretching has an opposite effect on the nervous system.

Before you exercise, dynamic activation is the preferred approach. Dynamic activation causes excitatory signals to be sent from your brain to your muscles and increases range of motion, blood flow, and muscle temperature (all of which help with exercise!).

Static stretching is best done when you are cooling down or when you're just stretching to relax. It helps to align your muscle fibres and reduces tension. So do this type of stretching after a workout.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

How do I avoid getting sick?

How do I avoid getting sick?

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. A fascinating paradox in human physiology is the concept of the “J-shaped relationship” between exercise training and health.

2. The J-shaped hypothesis suggests that, in general, people who exercise regularly experience fewer illnesses and infections than those who do not. However, when athletes train at volumes and intensities excessively higher than normal for extended periods, they experience a significant increase in illnesses.

3. Immediately after a hard workout there is a decrease in your immune system function, causing an “open window” for catching a cold or other illness.

4. Therefore it’s very important that you follow the 5 tips to avoid illness as much as you can during heavy training periods.

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5 Tips to Avoid Illness

1) Refuel. Your muscles and immune system are competing for nutrients after exercise, so make sure you're refuelling with proper carbohydrates and protein, especially after a really hard workout. Check out this article on post-exercise nutrition.

2) Fruits and vegetables. Make sure you're eating a balanced diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables. For more information and what to eat on a regular basis check out Everyday Nutrition.

3) Supplements. Eating foods that are high in nutrients is ideal, but supplements can help ensure you’re getting what you need to keep yourself healthy during training or periods of high stress. Many athletes take L-glutamine, an amino acid used by the body to repair muscle tissue, and to fuel white blood cells. Taking an antioxidant supplement containing vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene is also suggested.

4) Hygiene. Wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, especially during the first hour after exercising.

5) Sleep. Make sure to get extra rest and sleep after periods of really hard training or competitions. Check out Sleep and Athletic Performance for why sleep is so important.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

The Keys to a Great Taper

The Keys to a Great Taper

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

KEY POINTS:

1. Leading up to a big competition, athletes reduce their training to give their body time to rest and adapt - this is known as tapering.

2. Athletes and coaches optimize the timing of their taper so on the day of the big competition, they’re ready to perform better than they ever have before. However, only about 20% of Olympians achieve a lifetime best performance at the Games. Why is that?

3. There is one factor that, above all others, determines if an athlete will improve their performance during taper - stress. If you can learn to decrease stress during taper, you will hopefully be one of the few athletes who is able to reach their potential on the big day.

Three Tips to reducing stress and having a great taper

1. Sleep. Prioritize sleep leading up to a competition. Make sure you’re getting 8-10 hours each night and during your taper and during competition try to add a 20- or 90-minute nap during the day (remember the importance of the length of your nap).

2. Progressive Relaxation. This is a relaxation technique to decrease muscle tension and stress. Instructions on how to do this are below.

3. More Energy, Less Tension. When preparing for a big event, learn to work “better”, not “harder”. By practicing relaxation techniques such as progressive relaxation, you can learn to work efficiently during training.

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Today’s Exercise: Progressive Relaxation

Progressive relaxation consists of alternately tensing and releasing different muscle groups. Hold each muscle contraction for 3-5 seconds and each relaxation phase for 10-15 seconds.

  1. Lean back in a chair or lie down.

  2. Close your eyes. Raise your toes as high as possible, hold, then release and let the tension go into the floor. Point the toes and repeat.

  3. Tense the upper part of your legs. Experience the tension. Hold then relax, feeling your legs against the chair and your feet against the floor. Experience the relaxation.

  4. Tighten your stomach muscles . . . then relax. Take a deep breath, feeling the tension in your chest. Exhale and relax. Concentrate on how calm you can get.

  5. Make tight fists with your hands and hold for about 5 seconds. Unclench your hands and let the tension flow out, noting how it feels different to relax.

  6. Do the same with your upper arms, then your neck. Frown, and then relax. Take a moment to notice any other areas of tension and concentrate on releasing those as well.

  7. Take a few deep breaths and open your eyes – you will be totally alert and relaxed!

If you prefer to be taken through this exercise with an audio guide, check out the “Progressive Relaxation” episode of Meditation Station by Stin Hansen.


The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.

Create your Pre-Performance Routine

Create your Pre-Performance Routine

The Impactic Sport Program Home Page

Today’s Exercise: Create your Pre-Performance Routine

Congratulations, we’re at the end of the program! You’ve learned how sleep, nutrition, and mental strategies can optimize your performance. Now it’s time to take everything you’ve learned and create a competition plan. 

The best athletes in the world make sure they know what the day of their competition will be like by creating a plan for their wake-up, breakfast, transportation, and warm-ups. By eliminating the number of unknown factors in your day, you can feel more prepared and calm for whatever is thrown at you when you get into the pool, or on the ice, or on the field. Here are some great starting points to plan your day:

What time will you wake up?

What will you eat prior to your competition? How far in advance will you eat?

What will you wear? Is it clean? Is it ready to go? Do you have a bag that has all of your equipment in it? Is it ready and packed?

How will you get to the event/game? What will you do on the way? Maybe you can use the car-ride to visualize or listen to music?

What will you do when you get there? What will your warm-up be like?

Prior to your event, will you use some relaxation techniques? Imagery? Listen to music?

Fill in the “Pre-Performance Routine” exercise on page 29 of your Athlete Workbook.

A pre-performance routine doesn’t need to be strictly abided by, it is just a map to help guide you on the day of your game or competition. It is simply a tool that can help you feel prepared and reduce the anxiety you feel before you compete!

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The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is intended to compliment your training plan and not instead of guidance from your coach. It should also not be used in place of advice from a doctor or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you assume any risks, and that you release Impactic Sport from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.