13 Feb
Industrial Athlete Blog – Part 2: Fitness

This installment of our Industrial Athlete series will compare two initiatives used by coaches and health professionals to increase physical capabilities, improve biological stress responses and increase the overall fitness of their athletes.

In the realm of professional and high-level amateur sports, coaches use periodization training or a long-term cyclic structuring of weightlifting and cardiovascular training to maximize performance as their athletes prepare for games or important competitive events. In periodization training, athletes work through a series of phases throughout the year that vary in specificity, intensity and overall volume. The phases are designed to build strength and stamina in the off-season and prepare a healthy, high-performing athlete for the competitive season. Here is an example of a periodization training map for a college football player.

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This phased-training program yields positive results; reduces the number of athletic injuries and boosts athletic performance.

American corporations noticed the phased-training regimen’s impressive results  and took the opportunity to design and develop corporate wellness programs for their employees using the same basic principles.

Wellness programs provide opportunities and incentives for employees to work out and make intelligent lifestyle choices. Generally, WP’s focus on increasing an employee’s awareness of the importance of a healthy diet, exercise and biometrics. They also provide information about early signs of diseases like diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Working closely with the Corporate Benefits department, employees who have frequent doctor visits receive health insurance discounts along with coupons for discounts at local fitness centers, including the YMCA.

While periodization training and corporate wellness programs have similar goals, they employ vastly different methods to reach their goals. That’s because each sector faces distinct challenges. Here are three key differences between each sector:

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The world of sports is divided into the competitive season and the off-season. As the competitive season approaches, it becomes increasingly important for athletes to prepare their bodies for the stress associated with high-level competition. Periodization training is a great method for building these capabilities. Industrial athletes generally experience a similar level of stress on a daily basis. Because of this, it is important to be generally fit and to reduce stress in daily activities by engineering the risk out of the job. Solution Development for Industry

In sports, coaches can require their athletes to lift weights and attain specific fitness goals. But unlike professional athletes or advanced amateurs, corporations have no control over an employees’ fitness levels. So, as a means of leverage, they use incentives to encourage their workforce to engage in healthy activities.

The size of the team or company also affects the way you can build the fitness levels of your people. Periodization training is the best technique—if you can develop a plan tailored to the specific needs of each athlete. With large corporations employing thousands of individuals, developing a personal periodization plan for each employee is a monumental task, so your most efficient option is to make information available to them on wellness-related topics, increase their health awareness level and again, make the overall workplace have less fatiguing elements by reducing wasted motion and high risk tasks.

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