Correct pacing strategies become even more important. Not just because of our knowledge of the energy systems and their role in energy production (and eventually, physical output), but also because our effort impacts our psychology, and our psychology impacts our output. And ultimately, we can increase our performance.

ROMcast provides bite-sized chunks of health, happiness, fitness and performance. Presented by Exercise Physiologist and Scientist, Coach and Director of Range of Motion, Dan Williams.

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Episode Transcript: 

Pacing workouts in functional fitness is now widely being accepted as an integral part of performance optimisation. In our article “CrossFits Number One Biggest Pacing Mistake“, we talk discuss that:

“CrossFitters face one major problem in trying to develop correct strategy and pacing strategies. They make the mistake of trying to use an energy system that’s too intense for the workout they’re doing. As a result, they reach a threshold and the byproducts of the energy system inhibit their ability to stay in that system, they ‘hit the wall’ and intensity (and therefore output) drops.”

We’re talking about pacing here purely in the context of the physical, but there’s a strong mental element that stems from correct pacing strategies, and by entering the psychological state it can give you, you’ll go full circle and further optimise physical performance.

The psychological benefit of pacing stems from the absence of pain and discomfort. Sure, discomfort is an inescapable part of maximising performance, but incorrect pacing increases discomfort, which prevents us from entering our optimum performance state. It keeps us out of flow.

Flow is an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform at our best. It is the optimal level of arousal to maximise performance of a skill. In his book ‘Happier’, author Tal Ben-Shahar explores the links between pain and flow, and proposes a method for shifting out of the ‘no pain, no gain’ mindset, into the ‘present gain, future gain’ mindset:

“…studies of flow show that the ‘no pain no gain’ model is based on the myth that only through extreme and sustained exertion can we attain our optimal level of performance. Rather, there is a specific zone, the line between overexertion and underexertion, where we not only perform at our best but also enjoy what we’re doing. We reach this zone when our activities provide the appropriate level of challenge, when the task at hand is neither too difficult or too easy.”

So correct pacing strategies become even more important. Not just because of our knowledge of the energy systems and their role in energy production (and eventually, physical output), but also because our effort impacts our psychology, and our psychology impacts our output. And ultimately, we can increase our performance.

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