How External Variables Affect Training Performance
There are plenty of good reasons why cookie-cutter solutions don’t work well.
But would you care to guess what the biggest reason is?
That’s right - individuality.
We each come with unique characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. Two people on the same training program could achieve vastly different results, despite training the same, pushing themselves hard, and being consistent.
Today, we’ll go over how different variables affect our training performance and results.
Let’s dive in.
Six Variables That Affect Our Training Performance1. Life Stress
Stress is at the background of almost everyone’s life:
- Commuting to work or school
- Meeting deadlines
- Dealing with health issues
- Worrying about money
We mostly don’t think about it, but stress exists and impacts how we feel. Stress also affects our training performance and recoverability.
The more stressed you are, the worse your training performance and results, which itself - ironically - can stress you out.2. Nutrition
Our nutritional quality and overall calorie intake also play a significant role in training performance. First, your macronutrient composition and overall food quality impact how you recover from training and how hard you can push yourself. Second, your calorie intake impacts your work capacity significantly.
For example, as you lose fat, your recoverability and performance typically drop simply because your body doesn’t have as much available energy to work with. In contrast, you feel much better and stronger in a calorie surplus.3. Sleep
Though many people tip-toe around sleep, trying to get away with as little as possible, this fundamental physiological process impacts us significantly.
Good sleep boosts your energy, sharpens your mind, and allows you to focus better. Poor sleep makes you sluggish, hinders your athletic ability, and saps your motivation.4. Age
Unfortunately, age also plays a role, and there is little we can do here. A 45-year-old man will never be as robust as a 20-year-old kid.
Of course, this isn’t to say that we should throw in the towel once we hit 40. Instead, it means you should learn how to listen to your body and adjust your training volume to account for your age.5. Responsibilities
Responsibilities have some overlap with stress, but they could be different. Sometimes, we simply have plenty of duties that cost us energy without necessarily stressing us out.
For example, you might be doing home renovations that take away a lot of your time and energy. By the time you get to the gym, you’re already tired and want nothing more than to curl in front of Netflix with some snacks.
What Does This Mean For You?
If you’ve been training consistently for a while, you’ve probably noticed that your daily readiness is subject to change. You might have the most fantastic workout on Monday, take a day off training, go back on Wednesday, and have a lousy session. You might also hit a streak of several good or bad workouts in a row.
The reason for that is often apparent - for example, your newborn baby kept you up all night. In other cases, you might feel particularly good or bad for no apparent reason. In any case, understand one thing:
We are human, and life often throws us unexpected curveballs. Many factors affect our ability to perform at a specific time, so you shouldn’t put too much weight on any single workout. So long as you track your overall journey and look for patterns, you’ll do great. For example, a single bad workout doesn’t mean anything is wrong. But if you’ve had bad workouts for the past two weeks, you might want to consider making a change or taking some time off training to recover.