There’s an old African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Whether you’re just starting a new journey to fitness and health or need an alternative route to take your performance up a notch, it can be daunting to look out into the unknown and try to see a viable way to your goals. Here at the Performance Ranch, we make sure that you have experienced guides to help you navigate from wherever you find yourself today to where you want to be in the future, and a tribe to offer support and encouragement when you need it most. In this post, we’ll explain the first few stages of this exciting, collaborative trip that we’ll be taking together.
Stage 1: Strategy Session
Before heading out toward any destination, you need to know your current location. Whether you’re using an app like Waze on your smartphone, an in-car GPS unit, or going old-school with an actual map, having an intended destination is pointless unless you understand where you’re starting from. It’s the same with whatever wellness or athletic aim you might have. That’s why we sit down with every new Performance Ranch client for at least half an hour. We want to find out who you are, what your goals are, and why you want to achieve them.
From there, it’s useful to know where you’ve been before that has gotten you to this point. So we’ll also explore your training history, past and present injuries, lifestyle habits, and so on. This additional context helps us assess how well your future goals align with your current capabilities. To plan out the next steps on your path, we’ll need to get a sense of your weekly schedule and availability. The more we know about you, the more precise the directions we’ll be able to provide.
Stage 2: On-Ramp
The majority of our clients start the next stage of their journey with an on-ramp. This is a 30-day trial period that gives us the opportunity to see how we can best help you and allows you to get a feel for who we are and what we’re all about. There’s no ongoing, up-front commitment because we want you to feel comfortable and be sure that the Performance Ranch is the right place for who you are and what you want to achieve.
The initial four sessions are private, and you’ll be working one-on-one with me or one of our other coaches. In the first session, we’ll take you through a Functional Movement Screen to see what you can and can’t do, which will inform the creation of your tailored programming. In the first session, we’ll also familiarize you with our warm-up, show you how to use the mobility tools we have here and provide some simple foam rolling exercises you can do at home. We will also set up a profile in the intuitive TrainHeroic app, which gives you access to workouts and individual videos of everything we’ll be doing during the days and weeks to come.
During the second session, we’ll assign you a basic workout via TrainHeroic and then walk you through it. This is a good opportunity to show you how to complete a quick questionnaire in the app. In just a couple of seconds, this will let us know how much energy you have, how stressed out or calm you’re feeling, and how well you slept. We can then adjust accordingly. This also helps you improve your self-awareness. The more you understand how you feel on a daily basis, the better off you’ll be.
In the second session, we’ll focus on the hinge movement pattern. We see that most new clients have a weak posterior chain (which includes the hamstrings, glutes, and other muscles on the back side of your body), and some struggle to separate their low back from their hips, which impacts their hinging. We’ll assess your ability to achieve this key position and provide some correctional exercises to improve it as needed. This workout will also involve some kind of pulling or rowing action, which we’ll want you to do without over-using your traps (the muscles at the top of your back/base of your neck where a lot of people hold tension that can cause headaches).
At the end of this session, you’ll most likely do a five-minute max aerobic power (MAP) test with your new heart rate monitor so that we can establish your baseline fitness and create tailored HR zones for your future training. If you’re a more experienced athlete or cyclist, we might do a ramp test instead of on the Wattbike. Our built-in protocol will guide you through progressively higher stages of intensity, with the same goal as the MAP test.
The third on-ramp session will allow us to continue working on your hinge and pull pattern, while also adding in other fundamental movements like the squat and push. As with your initial aerobic test, you’ll wear a heart rate monitor so we can obtain more realistic values for each of your HR zones than you’d get at certain gyms that simply take a max of 220 beats per minute minus your age. This way, we’ll be able to tailor your training to your individual capabilities.
Going into the fourth workout, we’ll introduce you to another of the foundational movements: carrying, walking, and running mechanics, you’ll now be familiar with all the major patterns of a well-rounded program that prepares you for everything you will do at the Performance Ranch and in your life outside the gym walls. The rest of the on-ramp builds on this firm foundation.
Our On-Ramp also includes a 30-minute nutrition consultation with our nutrition coach. This session will allow you to gain valuable nutrition information from a reliable source. Our program focuses on changing habits, not eliminating food groups. We often make nutrition complicated and think that we have to do drastic changes to see results. We know that small changes over time will have more of an impact.
Whether you chose our 2x/week or 3x/week plan you will have either 4 or 8 small group sessions. These sessions will be shared with up to three other clients and one coach. During your sessions, you will be working on your personal plan. The goal will be to master our basic movements so you have complete body awareness. Your coach will guide you along with your program and help you develop awareness, and gain strength and confidence.
Once you complete your sessions you are now able to become a member of the Performance Ranch. You can choose to stay with small group training or add some private training to speed your results up.
Stage 3: Personalized Program
Unlike most gyms where you merely pay for monthly access, you’ll enjoy dedicated and expert coaching during every session at the Performance Ranch. That’s why after completing the month-long on-ramp, we’ll sit down with you, review your progress, and make sure that you’re happy with where you’re heading. This will also allow us to go back over your fitness, body comp, and performance goals and make any course corrections that are needed.
You’ll then choose to either continue with individual sessions or transition into a small group. We’ve found that such focus is the key to rapid progress that’s sustainable over the long term. Taking your ability, aims, budget, and ongoing availability into account, we’ll help determine the next steps in your journey.
Once you’ve completed the on-ramp, you should feel a sense of heightened awareness and be moving better than when you first came in. We’ll regularly re-test your capabilities and believe you’ll be amazed at how quickly you become fitter, faster, stronger, and more powerful over the first few months. After the on-ramp is finished, we’ll continue to build on the functional movements and develop your aerobic capacity. You’ll be able to see which color-coded HR zone you’re in at any time on our HR monitoring display so that you stay on track during easier green days, moderate yellow sessions, and intense red workouts. Some people need to dedicate more time to this part of their program, while others improve their mobility or dial in their nutrition. Our coaches are well equipped to identify whatever roadblocks are in your way and get you past them.
Stage 4: Milestones
In the backcountry, every hiking trip has waypoints and trail markers to make sure you don’t wander off course. Similarly, we’ve created 16 milestones to mark your progress that reflect our athlete-centered approach. These are broken down into five cornerstone categories: move, eat, recover, manage, and community. Each achievement earns you another sticker. Every Friday, we celebrate clients who are working towards their goals with our bright spot initiative. We want to remind you that you’re a valuable part of our tribe and that everyone here is rooting for you.
Our mission is to help you get better, reach your goals, and give you everything you need to progress. Some days you might go a mile or two down the path and others just a few feet, but rest assured that when you come to the Performance Ranch, you’ll have a dedicated support team to equip, empower, and encourage you every step of the way.