Avoid plagiarism when working out

It’s potentially dangerous to imitate workouts just by looking at them. In the current situation where everything is under lockdown, it’s even more advisable to be judicious. Be a voice, but not an echo.

Athletes vary according to sport and skill, and their physiological and psychological demands are dependent on the sport.   -  PTI

Any person with a fleeting interest in health and fitness has probably been guilty of watching videos of elite athletes, fitness models or fitness trainers on online platforms such as YouTube, Google and Instagram and trying to copy their workout regimens.

It’s potentially dangerous to imitate these workouts just by looking at them. In the current situation where everything is under lockdown, it’s even more advisable to be judicious. Be a voice, but not an echo.

We will discuss this in detail below: the why, what and how of embarking on a regime while remaining injury-free and increasing the effectiveness of the protocols.

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Why?

When athletes or professionals post videos online, there are many reasons for them to do so, varying from brand-building to passing on information about their regimen, which is fair enough from their point of view. But following the same regimen can be a potential recipe for destruction from the professional athletes’ point of view.

Here are the questions one needs to ask:

  • Why are they doing a particular exercise?
  • Do they have their individual programmes planned?
  • What phase and intensity mode of their training they are in?
  • What is the foundation they have laid for a particular exercise regimen, and what the progress have they made?
  • What are the goals in the short, mid and long term?
  • Is this suitable for a particular skill set or sport?
  • This is an integrated protocol for the development of which fitness component?
  • What about their recovery phase and protocols?
  • What about their diet regime before, during and after the workout?

Raising these questions is rather easier than finding the right answers. One size does not fit all in any exercise protocol, diet, and mental or recovery progression. A prudent and scientific approach is required to design and execute the regimen in consultation with professionals.

Whether it is an individual or team sport, an athlete is an entity by himself or herself — physiologically and psychologically.

One has to understand the basics that are tantamount to an athlete’s physical intelligence and literacy. This is most critical for the development of a complete athlete as opposed to an adapted athlete.

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Parameters required for progression

The most critical aspect of programme design and execution for performance is periodisation, be it block or undulated or linear model. These three important guidelines are non-negotiable for the desired results.

1. Need analysis

2. Acute programme variables

3. Programme manipulation

Along with the above-mentioned guidelines, the next set of rules in setting up an individualised programme plays a very important role in raising the performance of a normal athlete to that of an elite athlete.

  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Duration
  • Tempo
  • Overload
  • Recovery
  • Progression
  • Specificity

Since there are so many variables involved in an athlete reaching the pinnacle of performance, it would be a no-brainer to copy the workout schedule of another athlete. But there’s a thin line between being motivated and copying.

Getting injured by copying a workout or using one given to you by your trainer is a big concern nowadays. There can be crossover exercises from one sport to another, but that doesn’t apply to the entire template. An athlete’s physical literacy and intelligence come into play in preventing this.

Athletes vary according to sport and skill, and their physiological and psychological demands are dependent on the sport.

We talk about horses for courses, but which horse for what course?

Each varies in quality, physiology and the job it is destined to do. All are horses, but choosing the right one for the job and training it to excel is both an art and a science.

Now, adapted and adaptable athletes differ in many ways — some reactive and others proactive.

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For a proactive athlete, the following variables need to be understood when embarking on a professional exercise regime:

  • Past fitness background
  • Skill set and sport involved
  • Any past or current injuries
  • Diet regime — past and current patterns; vegetarian or vegan or non-vegetarian, etc.
  • Facilities or equipment used in the past and being currently used
  • Footwear used in the past
  • Socioeconomic background (not yet understood)
  • Emotional quotient and social intelligence
  • Ability to grasp information and execute
  • Somatotype of body
  • Limb length variations

The final takeaway is that one can learn commitment, perseverance, work ethics and other positive traits from your idol, instead of just copying his or her workout and diet regime, which may be counterproductive in the long run.

When it comes to specialisation to deliver the best result possible for the team or oneself, it is each to his or her own. If you are copying someone, it is they who have won — not you.

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