James FitzGerald recently joined hosts Jason Leydon and Angelo Sisco on the Conquer Athlete Podcast to discuss the future of competitive functional fitness. This episode of the podcast covers how James sees functional fitness changing, how he progresses future athletes, and how coaches can follow his same model. James is currently Jason’s coaching mentor and the duo makes for an entertaining podcast, you can listen to the full episode for yourself here.
With the recent changes to the competitive functional fitness season still fresh, James reiterates that “it is going to take a couple of years, maybe until 2022, until we have a good idea of what the season will look like”. Over time James believes there will a weeding out in the sport as only the top ten athletes will be able to make a living. “In the future, there will be a need for governance that will provide local, state, regional, national, world, and Olympic level competitions,” says James. This is exactly what James and the International Functional Fitness Federation (iF3) are preparing for. You can learn more about how James is working with iF3 to support the future of functional fitness here.
Halfway through the podcast, James begins to cover how he progresses athletes in functional fitness. “Well our sport is unique because athletes [at the highest level] have to train for six hours a day if they want to be competitive,” says James. Before you can begin a progression you have to start with the end in mind. “Ask yourself what does competition at the highest level involve? Well, I can tell you that the sport is usually seven events in three days in which 15-20% of the events are max contractions and 80% is metabolic variance. Now that we understand what the competition is we have to work backwards from that.”
“To keep it simple early progressions are just going to be really good strength training and cyclical aerobic training,” says James. While there are some finer details of progression, which you can learn in this free athlete development blueprint, those two things will build a good base of support.
As a coach of coaches and OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) instructor, James spends the majority of his time advising coaches. Through these roles, James has been exposed to all types of coaches and athletes. To this day he believes that the best way to progress athletes in the sport is individualized. But before coaches can begin creating an individual program for their athlete they must first understand the sport. Thus, James has created Mixed Modal, his latest course, and the most comprehensive study of competitive functional fitness to date. Improve how you coach today and master competitive functional fitness with Mixed Modal.