What to expect as an OPEX Athlete – Lifestyle & Nutrition Coaching [14]

Photo credit:  US Sailing team video presentation entitled “Uncharted Waters”.  Watch here

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the journey of each OPEX athlete includes consultation, assessment, coaching, progression, evaluation and an immense amount of self-discovery.

There are 4 specific aspects that every OPEX athlete will receive from their coach:
1. Consultation
2. Lifestyle & Nutrition Coaching
3. Movement Assessment/Testing
4. Individualized Programming

Last week we spoke about the Consultation process and how it is a necessary and integral step in the athlete/coach relationship and the long-term success of the athlete’s journey.

This week I will introduce you to the how OPEX approaches lifestyle and nutrition coaching  and why focusing on this makes for a higher-order solution to build success into the athlete’s career.

In the initial consultation and in subsequent monthly consultations the athlete and I will have the opportunity to dig deep into life values, purpose and passion in order to understand their life priorities.

As an example, I have listed my top priority categories based on what I value and spend the most amount of effort and time to keep in balance.

1. Spiritual Empowerment
2. Personal Wellbeing
3. Relationships and Connections
4. Athletic Potential
5. Travel

Each of these priority categories have purpose, passion and values that I ensure I am working towards as a personal of faith, a husband, a business owner, and an athlete.

An athlete must understand their priorities in life and it is my role to facilitate conversation, self-discovery, and align the athlete’s priorities with actions.

An athlete’s priorities will change as life progresses.  As an example my priorities just one year ago were different, with 80% of my focus and energy was towards my Olympic Campaign.  It is imperative that both the athlete as well as their support system (coaches, family, friends, etc.) are aligned with the current priorities of the athlete.  Else the system begins to break down, and progressing towards the goal becomes increasingly difficult.

Stress has a huge effect on the athlete’s body at a cellular level.  Living in a chronically elevated level of stress is usually tied to a mis-alignment and mis-execution of actions with respect toward the priorities. Adding training on top of this can lead to digging a hole so deep it can take months/years correct.

When working to assess lifestyle and nutrition aspects I look directly and indirectly at both the organismic and human level of the athlete.  The human level is what we have just been talking about, understanding the values, priorities, habits, goals, lifestyle and mindset of the athlete.  Further, I look into the organism itself to understand how the athlete’s gut, liver, endocrine system, central nervous system (CNS), digestion, nutrition and hydration are effecting the athlete’s current and potential future state with relation to training and life.

Each athlete provides a three day food log, hydration log, sleep patterns, and daily energy cycles.  All this information allows me to better understand the athlete at the organismic level and provide a structure for nutrition and lifestyle implementation that can allow the human and the organism to create continued adaptation towards training.

The path to fully understanding and implementing these aspects of training is a life-long journey of any athlete and as a result is a higher-order coaching process that helps achieve success in an athlete’s career.

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