Healthy Tahoe: Train for your performance goal

Barton Performance Staff

There’s a difference between working out and training. To work out is to exercise to maintain or build fitness. To train, on the other hand, is to incorporate a series of workouts that are progressive, building up to a specific performance goal. Whether your goal is to bike to the top of Jobs Peak or complete your first multi-pitch climbing route of the season, training programs are carefully formatted and sequenced to move you from point A, your current fitness level, to point B, prepared to achieve your goal.

Different training programs build fitness in different ways. In order to achieve true peak fitness, it is important to incorporate a variety of workouts that encourage development of overall fitness. A solid training program incorporates five workout types:

Foundational. Foundational workouts are steady sessions of moderate intensity and duration. The purpose: to build event-specific aerobic fitness.

Endurance. Endurance workouts are also steady-pace workouts of moderate intensity, but the duration is longer. The purpose: to ensure you can “go the distance” in your event.

Tempo. Tempo workouts utilize 20 to 40 minutes of moderately high-intensity effort in between a thorough warm-up and cool-down. The purpose: to increase the duration in which you can sustain a relatively high rate of speed.

Intervals. Intervals are short segments of high-intensity effort separated by low-intensity active recoveries. The purpose: to increase the ability to resist factors that cause fatigue during very high-intensity exercise.

Recovery. Recovery workouts are short, easy workouts that provide a small training stimulus the day after a hard workout, when your body is not yet ready for another big effort. It is important to separate hard workouts with a recovery workout. The purpose: muscle rest and recovery.

A three-phase training program is a common approach and a great example of a progressive training program. It includes a base phase, a build phase, and a peak phase.

In the base phase, focus is on aerobic fitness and technique built by gradually increasing the volume of foundational exercises, endurance workouts, and drills. In the build phase, aerobic fitness is challenged with high-intensity interval workouts and increased weight in lifting exercises. In the peak phase, the goal is to maximize event-readiness through a combination of tempo workouts that simulate intensity and duration of the sport. As the event approaches, it’s important to taper off for one to three weeks of light training to ensure your body is rested and ready for maximum performance on the big day.

A performance coach can help you build a program that works for your individual needs and sport while challenging you to meet specific performance goals set in intensity, duration, frequency, and type of exercise. A few weeks with a personalized training program can result in noticeable improvements in your performance.

This article was written by a Barton Performance Coach with the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. Barton Performance Coaches offer individualized training and exercise programs to the Lake Tahoe community. Sign up for the Performance Athlete Program for customized training programs: 8- and 12-session programs are available. Learn more at, or by calling 530-600-1976.


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