Umesh Chhikara

Sports Scientist

Holistic training

characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Going by the above dictionary definition of the word ‘holistic’; the whole could be physical fitness alone and similarly it could be metabolism and mental health by itself.

Holistic training = Physical fitness + Metabolism + Mental health

A) Holistic-ness Physical fitness?

  • Physical fitness is generally attended via different training methodologies and interestingly no one type of exercising or training program is complete for sportsmen. Where athletes need strength to generate power in their sport; they also need fluidity in their movement to use their strength optimally.
  • Persistent stress on specific muscles/joints creates an imbalance in the body, This imbalance hinders the sporting movements which further means that an athlete may fall short of their best performance. Not to mention injuries which may also be one of the outcomes of this imbalance. Proper relaxation/balancing is the need (its required) for every sportsman if they want their best output.
  • Repeated movements also disturb our body’s alignment which is again needed for a fluid movement. Stretching brings body alignment back to its natural and thereby helps in creating a fluid movement.

As we can understand from above, a sportsman need much more than running a few rounds, or doing legs/shoulders in the gym, or relaxing your body for 10 minutes post a match.

B) Holistic-ness in Metabolism? 

  • Genes (along with other metabolic factors) play a very important role in what your body can ingest. This is obvious if we look around in our society where we find different people with different dietary habits. Therefore, fixing oneself to a stipulated food may require scrutiny to check if we are getting proper nutrition from food or just eating food.
  • Our body requires ‘X’ amount of energy at a given time. What if we are consuming ‘X+Y’? What happens to the ‘Y’? However, it is almost impossible to eat the exact quantity and type of food as per our body requirement. Therefore it is important to evaluate not just the quantum of food we are eating, but also the type of food we should ingest given our energy requirement and metabolic machinery.
  • When we look at food from energy perspective, we call it nutrition. Even though we have to deal with just two substrates – fat & carbs; it is still enough to confuse the whole world. Whether one needs more fat or more carbs is dependent on the individual (metabolic machinery) and not on the sport they play.
  • Lastly, there is protein. How much of it? When? Do we need it even though protein is available in most foods we eat?

C) Mental health?

  • Any movement is a result of hundreds/thousands cells interaction at different levels. With ‘Central Nervous System’ at the helm, the body is essentially run by our mind.
  • Human mind has a typical trait of rejecting anything that looks daunting. Mind training is nothing but a persistent effort to keep changing this trait to accept the challenge.
  • Where internal communication (from CNS to muscle) via neurotransmitters can be strengthened via training and gut health via proper nutrition, individually; training the mental aspect helps us integrate all together.
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