Here I stand at TLA, the crossroads of performance and longevity. Trying out some new words. I kinda like the way “perfevity” sounds a little more than “longormance.” What do you think? You can always contact me and let me know your opinion on these terms or even suggest a different, possibly better, one.
I don’t own this intersection. It’s actually a public highway for all of us. Perfevity (I guess I’ll go ahead and use that one) is a central theme in what I do every day. It’s the topic I study and constantly write and speak about, but it’s also top of mind with all my clients. I’m going to present perfevity in a couple different ways. No specific order, just what occurs to me.
Peak performance through the lifespan is the first thought. By peak performance, I’m referring to those high outputs and achievements we seek when we strive to max out our potential. In sports, in fitness, at work, in relationships, etc. It’s akin to self-actualization in these areas and ultimately in the self itself. The challenge here in “going for it” is that we have to be dynamic in both thought and action.
On the thought side, some of this depends on what we are doing, how long we have been doing it, and how old we are at the time. For example, a 26 year-old professional athlete is doing his craft which has probably been true for much of his life. He is seeking his absolute peak…the performance of his entire lifetime. But for many of us, we might be doing a thing less ingrained or be at a time in life when we are shooting for the best we can produce given those circumstances. That’s still a peak performance…just in a slightly different but no less meaningful context. So we have to adapt our mindsets, keep chasing excellence, but accept a few realities.
On the action side, much of this is entrenched in training behavior. We will (not might) need to train differently at 60 than we did at 20. Recovery needs are going to go up and down (mostly up) with each decade but they will indeed fluctuate with life’s other demands and interactions. Nutritional requirements won’t stay exactly the same. But the Lifetime Athlete who makes the necessary adjustments will remain Hard to Kill and keep kicking Ass! Those who can’t and don’t change won’t make it.
Next up is staying capable of good performance without sacrificing health or longevity. Of course this concept is related to the previous one. But it’s that thought and action applied which not only keeps the outputs impressive and satisfying, it preserves the vitality of the organism. If you are tired, sore, exhausted and sick too often due to inappropriate thought and action, your physiology is likely to take a dive. That’s why I use the 5-3-1 system which is a health-first foundational model. You apply the 5 components of lifelong health (food, movement, sleep, awareness, and ergonomics) to the 3 essential elements of peak performance (training, recovery, and mindset) to become the 1 Lifetime Athlete for which your genes were programmed and that you so richly deserve to be. When in doubt, choose health first and it will support your performance. The converse will eventually backfire.
Then there’s length of life versus quality of life…aka the old healthspan. On a graph, we are looking for that high, flat line which drops precipitously only at the very end. Everyone is entitled to their own position on this subject, but mine is that while I’d like to live a relatively long life, it’s most important to me for my years on earth to be of the highest quality. I’ll trade a great ride that’s just a little shorter over one that’s longer with an end filled with pain and devoid of joy any day. Practically all of my clients, and I assume this audience, feel the same way.
That’s it. Short and sweet today. I don’t have all the answers but I work hard at helping others, and myself, to find perfevity. Let me know what you think.