We started our program in January 2017 with a group of three enthusiastic paddlers plus me and Ben. We’re all learners: some are new to fitness; this is a mentorship opportunity for me; Ben is advancing his fitness assessment methodology and exploring remote coaching.
The 15-week program starts in the studio with a fitness assessment. We test functional strength, mobility, and capture body measurements. Based on relative strengths and weaknesses, Ben composes personalized training plans, prescribing warm-up, mobility, workout, and cool-down routines. The specific exercises are selected based on the assessment results: what you can do now, and where you need to go next. Workouts are a balance of strength and endurance.
The team has been working out on their own since mid-January. We keep in touch through a private Facebook group and encourage everyone to ask questions out in the open, to benefit the rest of the group. We post weekly “challenges” based on key fitness themes. Week 5 involved a discussion about sleep and the importance of getting consistent periods of ample rest.
At the end of week 8, we’re in the studio again for another fitness assessment. We’ll perform precisely the same protocol again, capture the results and compare to the original baseline. The first time our paddlers were tested, everything was new to them. I would expect the results to be at least a bit better, simply as a result of experience. But significant improvements could only be achieved through consistent exercise and mobility practice.
The team did great. Everyone shows marked progress across the board. One of our paddlers, having started the program with arthritic knees, reported no further knee discomfort at all. Paddlers were cheering each other on to beat our prior scores. The results speak for themselves. Push ups showed the most significant progress with an average 40% increase in reps. Rowing time average (shorter is better) went down by 11%.
We’ll continue to work on our individual programs until the end of April and then re-assess. That will mark the conclusion of the program and the start of paddling season!