Becoming a High Performance Human, with Simon Ward

Recently, multi-award-winning triathlon coach, Simon Ward, stopped referring to himself as a triathlon coach. Instead, he now prefers the title “a life coach for people who train for triathlons”. 

Why? Because, as Simon says, the biggest obstacles to people achieving their triathlon goals are generally not a lack of motivation, or fitness either — it’s life “issues”. 

Like us, Simon believes that achieving optimum health, wellness and happiness requires more than just one superfood, one fad diet or one crazy workout schedule; it’s about a balanced, holistic approach to mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. When we decide to shift our focus from just one area of our lives and take a bigger picture view, we have the power to achieve anything. 

We caught up with Simon ahead of his upcoming podcast interview with The Chia Co. founder, John Foss (stay tuned for more on that one!) to hear more about Simon’s philosophy, and how we can all become what he refers to as “High-Performance Humans”.

How do you define a “high performing human”?

A high performing human is one who has and continues to, optimise their life. I consider there to be six or seven key areas that a person needs to get right: health (mental and physical), nutrition, recovery and regeneration, family, work, relationships and fitness. It’s about achieving a balance. As we know, a person’s ability to balance is constantly changing and so we must be mindful of this and constantly re-adjust.

What motivated you to shift focus from triathlon coaching towards this “high-performance human” concept?

In a previous ‘life’ I owned a personal training company. I had noticed that while the goals of the clients were different, their ability to achieve them was governed by the same key life elements (as mentioned above). More recently, I have been working with age group triathletes, many of whom are very successful in their careers. Through this work, I discovered that many of the obstacles to triathlon success were not fitness related but more to do with subpar nutrition, lack of sleep, or work-related stress. 

What do you mean when you say people need to be in the “sweet spot”? 

Think about one of those little handheld puzzles where the objective is to get the ball into the centre (sweet spot) of the puzzle. As you move your hand, the ball rolls around and pops out of centre and off to the side. If the centre is the ‘sweet spot,’ then the hardest task is to maintain that position. This requires an awareness of when one is in balance or out of balance and being able to make those adjustments. For example, a triathlete might be training for an Ironman and have all their mental energy focussed on this. To do so might mean less focus on family or work. The mindful athlete will communicate their plans/goals with their family and work colleagues and agree to restore balance once their race is over.

Do you think that everyone is capable of becoming a “High Performance Human” (and finding their sweet spot)?

Yes, I absolutely feel that everyone is capable of becoming a High Performance Human.

What is the biggest challenge you typically see for people getting to their sweet spot? What’s holding us back? 

Communication and mindfulness. I observe many triathletes who enter races without communicating with their family or work colleagues. They seem unaware of the impact that their single-mindedness on achieving their goal will have on others around them.

Can you give a few simple, everyday tips that can help us be “High Performance Humans”? 

Change your focus from specific, short-term goals to long-term health and performance. I assume that we all want to live long and be healthy in those older years. On that journey, thriving is much better than surviving. Do a full 360 analysis of all aspects of your life and work hard to improve them all. If you focus on your human health first, then it’s possible to keep achieving all of your goals for as long as you wish to keep doing so.

Any final tips or insights you’d like to share with our readers?? 

I share a lot of ideas on my social media channels. You can follow me on Facebook @simon.ward1, on Instagram as @TheTriathlonCoach, and twitter as @triathloncoach.

Triathletes particularly can follow me and join our thriving community on our Facebook page: TheTriathlonCoachCafe.

I also have a weekly podcast where I chat with inspirational “High Performance Humans” and share their life lessons.