How to Reach Peak Fitness
Reaching peak fitness is a highly challenging process that requires long-term commitment, focus and sacrifice. Your entire life must be arranged around this goal: how you train, how you eat, even how you sleep, socialize and play. There is a reason so few people reach peak fitness -- it's a long, tough road to get there. If you are determined, however, it's certainly achievable. With drive and a comprehensive strategy, you can become part of a small, elite group of athletes who have reached peak fitness.
Define what peak fitness is for you. For some people, it might be reaching a professional level in a sport. For others, winning a powerlifting competition, finishing in the top percentile for an adventure race or qualifying for the Navy SEALs might comprise peak fitness. In order to reach that level, you first have to decide what that means, and accept that it will likely take several years to achieve.
Train hard. While you can make excellent progress on your own, if you want to really progress to an elite level in your chosen area of fitness, you will need a coach and a custom-made program that your coach will develop and help you execute. Champions do not happen by accident -- expect to train twice a day, at least five days a week, with very occasional "off" weeks for recovery.
Eat like a beast, as you will be expending a tremendous amount of energy. You will very rarely find an elite athlete dieting for fat loss -- they just don't carry a lot of body fat, due to their constant performance demands. You will eat to fuel your physical activity and to keep your body in homeostasis.
Sleep like the dead. People at an elite level of fitness recognize the vital importance of rest and recovery. If you skip out on sleep, you run the risk of lowered immunity and illness, injury or reduced performance. Sleeping eight to 10 hours a night, in a cool and completely dark room is a must. Taking 20-minute naps throughout the day will also improve your performance.
Great coaches tend to be found at universities or established sports facilities. Ask for recommendations from other successful athletes about who they train under.
Elite performance always brings the risk of injury as your body is under a lot of stress. Your social life will most likely suffer due to your commitment to peak fitness development; many people will not understand how hard you have to work. All other ambitions will have to be secondary to this goal.
Lau Hanly runs Fierce For Life, a nutrition and fitness company that helps young women start with healthy eating and smart training without overwhelming them. She has a certificate of nutrition, and provide individual coaching, standard fitness and nutrition programs, and group training.