Tagged as: Masters Athletes


(or am I crazy to want to coach myself?)

I love legal dramas… they are my favourite TV binge. I think, most of all, I love the “formulas” good script writers use to create drama and suspense.

One for the most common of those formulas is the use of a lawyer who has been accused of a crime and then, in their wisdom, they elect to defend themselves. 9 times out of 10 this plan creates hassles that could have been avoided had they decided instead to employ a different lawyer as their counsel.

American President Abraham once stated words to the effect that “any lawyer who acts as their own lawyer has a fool for a client”

So what does this have to do with coaching and training… surprisingly quite a lot.

Many Masters Athletes, through one means or another, end up acting as their own coach.


There are many benefits for this arrangement. “Self-coached” athletes often say:

  1. Nobody knows me better than me

And this is true. Who knows you better than yourself? After many years of training you understand what sessions feel good and which ones you struggle with. You understand the difference between “good sore” and ‘bad sore”

  • It’s a much less expensive option

A good coach is a professional and they deserve to be compensated as such. However this can become an expensive option. Sometimes it comes down to resource allocation – it doesn’t cost anything to coach myself

  • My life is so hectic I can’t fit into a normal coaches training schedule

One the major hassles with many structured coaching set ups is you need to be available when the coach is available. With life being so busy – fitting in to someone else’s schedule is not easy

  • After so many years in the sport I know what works for me

Experience provides us with many insights. We learn what can work for us

  • Nobody is more invested in my results than me

If you are keen to perform then this it totally true – you understand what you want

  • I work in this field so it just makes sense

Many Masters athletes are coaches themselves… it just makes sense. We have a love of doing what we do. So why not use our own expertise to coach ourselves??!!

  • I love the independence and flexibility

The complete freedom to programme and train when and how you want is very appealing


“Self-coached” Athletes can:

  • be too “soft” on themselves

When the pain of training starts to kick in – it becomes very easy to “second guess” your original programme. There is also the danger of programming only what we like… not what we need

  • be too “tough” on themselves

There are times when we NEED to stop (injury, fatigue, stagnation) but the fear of being soft drives us on

  • “negotiate” away their spare time

The flexibility of training can be a crutch when we put ourselves last, and train at the least convenient times to us personally.

  • get stuck in a rut

Being your own boss (no matter the industry) can become tedious – the challenges and “conflicts” which can stimulate thinking are harder to find for the self-coached

  • lose objectivity in assessing the program and results

It takes in incredibly clear mind to become emotionally involved in analysing performances and training programmes – the danger becomes we make decisions based on our emotional investment rather than on the specific needs and long term plans

  • lose the ability to separate their sport from their life

Coaches, by nature, are often obsessive about their athletes’ performances. When you are self-coached this can become overwhelming due to the tendency to be constantly thinking about training/programming/recovery/performance. The critical sport-life balance can be lost to the detriment of the athlete and the performance.

  • feel isolated and having to solve problems by themselves

What happens when results don’t go your way, where performances get unexpectedly worse or when injury strikes?

  • lose the “critical eye”

How easy it to stand back and look at everything that is happening (positive and negative) and not look at it through the “emotional eye” of the athlete? There is a very relevant old saying along the lines of “its never as good as it seems or as bad as it could be”.


  • Get a mentor

Find someone you can talk to about your training and who is happy to give an honest opinion about how they think you are going

  • Find a training group

Spread the “cost” of the coach, gain many people to critically evaluate how you are going, gain a huge emotional boost from the support of the group

  • Decide that the positives outweigh the negatives

Look at the lists above and decide that you like the benefits or being self-coached and that also there are negatives you are happy to wear them in pursuit of your goals

  • Get a coach

Coaches add much to what we as athletes do. But there is no one correct coaching structure.

Explore your options. Look at:

 (a) part-time face-to-face contact with a coach

 (b) online coaches who provide the programming expertise and critical review while allowing you the flexibility and freedom self-coached athletes desire

Every athlete is different… and their needs are different. Analyse your current situation, your goals and consider which option works best for you.

For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning

The Ageing Warrior – Fighting Speed Loss

We can’t avoid age. However, we can avoid some aging. Continue to do things. Be active. Life is fantastic in the way it adjusts to demands; if you use your muscles and mind, they stay there much longer.

Charles H. Townes

If we loose our sight our other senses develop further to help us cope.

If we injure our hip we change our gait to be able to keep moving.

If we lose running speed our brain adapts and uses our experience to improve our game sense so we are able to anticipate better and still compete

These amazing adaptations however can be a curse on the sports field.


As we age, we slow down and our body adapts to keep us competitive. This often causes us to accept the fact that we are slower. Rather we should ask 2 questions:

  1. Why am I slowing down?
  2. What can I do to prevent/decrease the decline?


  • Our lifestyles become more sedentary- we sit more, we are less active more often
  • We put on weight and in particular we put on fat
  • Our muscles get smaller
  • We produce less growth hormone which decreases our muscles ability to grown and strengthen
  • We produce less Creatine Phosphate which decreases our ability to reduces our ability to work at high intensity
  • We have less time to spend on recovery techniques especially sleep
  • Our flexibility and mobility decrease



  • Weight train… regularly. For team sport players 2-3 sessions per week will help increase muscle mass and strength
  • Eat a well balanced diet, ensuring that you take into account your need for protein for muscle building and carbohydrates for energy
  • Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • Train mobility daily to ensure range of motion is maintained and improved
  • Train at high intensities for 2 sessions per week
  • Design a training programme which allows full recovery

Our body is incredibly adaptive. It will adapt to our ageing but it will also adapt to the new demands we place on it if we create the right conditions.

For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning

The Secret to Success for Masters Athletes

Once we hit the magical 30th birthday we are confronted with the unavoidable fact that in a relatively short period of time we will see our Personal Bests becoming a more distant memory. There are rare genetic exceptions to every rule… supreme athletes like Kim Collins who ran a PB for the 100m at age 40 (9.93s +1.9) and in fact had his best career performances between 36 and 40. But even Collins suffered a dramatic (for him) drop off in speed after 40.

Our decline in speed with age is inevitable. What is controllable is that rate at which our speed declines.

And the secret…


As masters athletes we need to “check our ego at the door”. We are no longer 10 foot tall and bullet proof” and as such we need adjust our training accordingly to ensure we can maximise our efforts and then recovery as best as possible for our next assault.

While reading the other day I came across a concept that really struck a chord with me. It said (and I paraphrase because I can’t remember exactly where I read it):

The warm up and cool down are not done before and after training respectively but rather they are an integral part of the training programme.

Too often many athletes, especially the time poor among us,  rush to get to the body of the training session (“I haven’t got time for a full warm up”) or we rush off immediately the “hard work” is done. Essentially we see the bit that makes us “huff and puff” as the essential part of training and the rest as non-core extras.

The change in perception that is needed for success applies even more so to Masters athletes.

We know that:

  • Training with intensity increases a release in growth hormones, which elicits an increase in the lean muscle to body fat ratio.
  • Speed training needs neuro-muscular recovery
  • Masters athletes take longer to recover from hard workouts.
  • Increased recovery leads to an improved/increased adaption to training demands

So if we are looking to maximise our performance as Masters athletes we should:

  1. Use a periodised training programme which (in some format) alternates hard and medium training weeks
  2. Utilise high intensity training sessions 2-3 times per week (operating around 85-100% of our maximum heart rate)
  3. Prioritise quality over quantity
  4. Use additional lower intensity sessions to complement the high intensity work
  5. Employ active recovery techniques such as massage, stretching and mobility, contrast baths, ice baths and proper nutrition
  6. Programme regular rest days (at least once per week)


For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning


12 Month Transformation

Last weekend one of our athletes, Fran, won Gold at the Victorian Masters Athletics Championships. That victory in the 60m came after a Silver medal in the 100m the previous day.

These achievements are, by themselves, noteworthy and to be celebrated.

But behind the triumphs is a story much more worthy of celebration (as there often is with athletes).

Twelve months ago Fran contacted Damn Fit Strength and Conditioning almost as a last resort. She was carrying more weight than she wanted to be and she had been unable to sustain any meaningful weight loss. She lived constantly having to monitor a medical condition (and still does). She was plagued by injuries that she could not seem to shake.

By way of background information, Fran has recently turned 40. During her school years she was quite a successful middle distance runner. By the end of her schooling years she had fallen out of love with running (and definitely with training) and, despite being a fiercely determined person, had learnt to avoid contests because of a fear of failure.

We set about, with Fran, changing the way she approached training and life.

Fran signed on as an online client, using the Visual Coaching platform to access her training programmes and to utilise her wellness monitoring diaries. During our weekly phone conversations we worked on setting goals and developing a series of benchmarks to help her achieve success.

During this process we:

  • liaised with her physiotherapist on training and recovery protocols
  • engaged a local Exercise Physiologist to utilise their expertise in Anti G running
  • directed her towards a dietician who assisted in providing advice to help ensure she was providing herself with sufficient fuel for the training load she was keen to undertake.

In the space of those 12 months Fran:

  • lost 12.4kg
  • added 4.2kg of active tissue mass (muscle)
  • increased mobility
  • experienced significant increases in her sport specific strength indicators

There were hiccups along the way – mainly to do with a lack of high quality running facilities in her local area. But by co-ordinating with the various experts we were able to formulate a training programme which allowed Fran, not only to compete in her first competition in 22 years, but to excel in that competition.

In conjunction with Damn Fit, Fran has now commenced goal setting for the next 4 years.

For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning



You will receive all the coaching, expertise and monitoring you require to take your performance to a higher level whilst training in your own environment, at times which suit you and your lifestyle



All your Strength and Conditioning programmes are delivered straight to your smartphone via our highly specialised online training platform (VisualCoachingPro2).

Every exercise includes:

  • Video demonstration of correct technique
  • Written description of key points, muscles utilised and safety key points
  • All relevant loading information (reps, sets, bar speed, rest periods)

Every exercise forms part of a carefully designed session that is designed specifically to use needs and the demands of your sport.

Every training session forms part of an overall periodised plan for your ultimate development.


The results of every training session are entered into the online diary as you train and this information is immediately accessible to your Damn Fit SC coach. These results are monitored daily.

Your training diary also included options for reporting injury and soreness.

Training exertion loads are monitored using standard RPE scales.


To ensure that you are always training at the optimum level to produce the best results in competition to need to ensure your health is not compromised by your lifestyle or your training.

We provide daily monitoring of your wellness diary entries, looking for markers to indicate adaptations that need to be made to your training and/or recovery protocols.


Interaction between you and your coach is KEY to your success.

We provide:

  • Monthly phone/skype meetings in which we analyse with you each component of your programme, its results and your goals.
  • Unlimited email “conversations” about training and competitions
  • Phone contact as needed to ensure you stay on track to achieve your best
  • Access to our MEMBERS ONLY Facebook group where coaches and members share ideas, successes and motivation

For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to www.damnfitsc.com.au/strength-and-conditioning