Your athletic baseline is the level of conditioning around which you oscillate over the course of time. You can think of this in terms of seasons, years, decades, and more.
It’s obviously something that is both variable and dynamic. The athletic baseline varies a bit from person to person and it also dynamically vacillates within the individual over the lifespan.
I like to view the athletic baseline as existing in a bandwidth between a theoretical minimum and maximum. The minimum level represents the lowest amount of fitness we might consider acceptable and the maximum would be our highest possible capacity. Neither of those conditions either should (in the case of low) or can (concerning high) be sustained indefinitely. I’ll describe each in a bit more detail.
A low athletic baseline might look like this example. You just want to feel decent and have reasonable health and body composition. You’re generally active but not necessarily in a focused training mode. You are either intentionally keeping things very light (as a recovery break) or are simply balancing your physical conditioning amongst myriad family, career, and life factors. You are staying just above atrophy, decay, and neglect.
A high athletic baseline represents periods when you are pursuing, and achieving, absolute peak performances. You are training (and recovering) hard. You’re serious about your workouts. You’re hitting targeted competitions and smashing goals. This doesn’t always look like sports or fitness, as in many cases it’s the hunting expedition, backpacking trip, wedding, or school/family reunion that you’ve been prepping for. But no matter how you slice it, you’re facing challenges and showing what you’re capable of accomplishing.
I like the bandwidth concept because your waveform can and will oscillate. Most of the time, we want to be hovering in the broad middle, with what we consider decent fitness, skill, and readiness. From there we can tweak it up a few times per year when our goals naturally lead to plans, programs, and outcomes. Equally, we can ease off a bit and temporarily visit the low level when we need to recover, have time constraints, or are in between major pursuits.
This stuff is really a game of averages. You probably want your long term fitness level to be somewhere in that middle. For some, it will be relatively high. Others do just fine being a little lower. But nobody lives best by staying in the basement – or trying to be in the attic – all the time.
The beauty of this principle is that you can accomplish it in almost innumerable ways. Your personal training mixology might not look like the next person’s, and you’ll probably keep refining it over your entire life. I certainly am. And I enjoy helping my clients and team members to do the same.
In order to maintain lifelong fitness and athleticism, a certain amount of gym-style training is imperative. Being generally active is extremely important, but training and preserving all your athletic capacities (strength, power, speed, agility, and endurance) requires a little equipment and space. Not much…but some. If you go to a commercial gym on a regular basis, you’ve got that covered. But it never hurts to have a few items at home to fill in the gaps. Or maybe you prefer only to work out at home.
Over half of my clients train exclusively from home. Many Training Tribe team members, 1-on-1 coaching clients, and athletes and fitness enthusiasts prefer the convenience of home training. I offer a Home Gym Setup service to help folks get exactly what they need for their space, budget, and goals…and not waste their money on junk they won’t use. I also provide occasional updates (articles, podcasts, and videos) on this topic for our community.
If you are interested in an easy and relatively inexpensive way to maintain your athletic baseline with home training, check out this video. It goes through the equipment we use for T2 as well as what a lot of the coaching clients utilize.