What is Human Optimization?
Optimization is defined as the ACTION of making the most effective use of a given situation. In humans, this means living in a way that provides the greatest opportunity to perform. Whether it's at work, in school, at home, or in the gym training for sport performance - being able to do these at the greatest potential will allow greater chance of success.
Behavioural Psychologists refer to "pillars or wellness" that relate to your overall wellbeing. Many of these theories have varying number of "pillars", but the four that most sport psychologists support is: physical, mental, emotional, and social wellness. Having these all working in top order equals overall human optimization and thus greater performance. For myself and KFit Conditioning, the focus is on the physical aspect of overall wellness, and how we can optimize our bodies through physical fitness training, proper nutrition, and adequate recovery.
To optimize our physical fitness, we have to not only train hard, but we also have to do so correctly. This means doing the proper exercises or techniques (in the proper order), having an effective periodization plan, proper nutrition and supplementation, and allowing our body enough time to recover both physically and mentally. Furthermore, it means that we are enhancing our physical ability as best as possible. This doesn't necessarily mean we are training harder than ever before - it means we are being smart about it. Sometimes, in order to be optimized for physical performance, we need to rehabilitate an injury, or take a mental break from the rigors of intense training. Oftentimes, in order to optimally perform, we might need a greater range of motion at our joints and thus need to focus on a mobility program than an actual conditioning program. Each person is different, but the fact remains that we need to remember that in order to optimize our physical training, we need to:
Train SMARTER, not HARDER
A great way to highlight a way to optimize your performance in sport is by using the types of stretches that are used in training as an example. Some exercise professionals believe that static stretches (i.e. sit-and-reach, butterfly stretch etc.) should not be performed prior to training or performance because they decrease performance when compared to doing dynamic stretches prior to training. But in fact, the research shows that both types of stretching protocols improve performance, but yes, dynamic stretches appear to improve performance the BEST. By doing these types of stretches before (most) sport activities, you are OPTIMIZING your muscles to perform at their greatest potential.
Nutrition and recovery go hand-in-hand. You can't have proper recovery without good nutrition practices. Fueling your body with what it DESIRES is different to feeding it with what it NEEDS to perform. Often, a standard westernized diet is insufficient in allowing all the proper nutrients to optimally perform, so supplementation is required (and something I endorse when done properly). Furthermore, if you want to be truly optimized, you need to ensure your body is adequately recovered by giving it enough rest between workouts, and that you have re-fueled it with proper nutrients so that it can better perform the following workout.
More so than exercising HARDER, nutrition & recovery
are what will truly optimize your training.
Human optimization isn't just about feeling "good" in all these different areas - it's about feeling the BEST you possibly can at any given point. It's about getting the best out of your mind and body, having them work in unison, and perform at the very top of your abilities every single day.
Now it's important to understand that optimization is a process, and you simply won't feel at the top of your game at all times. That's what makes optimization so beautiful - when you feel it, and stop to notice it - it feels like euphoria. Through progressively working towards it, and following the right techniques, optimization can be achieved on a more regular basis. Be patient, be mindful, and just remember:
Fall in love with the process, and the results will come
So ask yourself - are you doing things that are offering you the GREATEST potential to perform on a daily basis? Are you fueled to perform your BEST? Are you truly OPTIMIZED?
KFit Conditioning is about optimizing performance.
KFit Conditioning is about optimizing performance.
Got questions?? Send em my way!
Kalan Anglos, Msc, cscs
Kalan is a Human Performance Expert who aims to optimize YOUR performance whether its for sport or for lifestyle. He is a PhD candidate and is recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), and has obtained his MSc. Kinesiology degree at the University of Victoria. Through his masters thesis research, Kalan has established and implemented the KFit Test Battery for Combat Sport Athletes which is used by both Karate BC & Karate Canada as their standard fitness test for athletes across the country. Additionally, Kalan is an exercise physiology lab instructor at the University of Victoria, and trains individuals (including athletes) every day to help meet their fitness needs and goals. He has many years of experience both as an elite athlete and high performance coach and is knowledgeable in the many fields surrounding fitness and training for sports performance.