One of the primary goals I had as a trainer when I first set out on my career in the fitness industry was to train professional athletes.
It is one of the first things we hear in response to our initial discussion on career goals on just about every Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer course we run.
I was once very close to working full time in football. I had a series of conversations with Middlesbrough Football Club as a 23-year-old Strength and Conditioning coach culminating in a job offer when the club were in the Premier League.
Alas, they got relegated four games later and the whole department was replaced.
That was my first insight into how tough the world of professional sports can be. The harsh reality that you are never safe, regardless of your ‘employment’.
However, I wouldn’t change a thing.
T2 might not have developed as it has and working in the capacity I now do, I have a lot more control over my destiny than I if I were to have taken that position.
My career - and the company T2 has become - is one that is multi-faceted.
I'm extremely lucky that one facet is T2 Elite.
What is T2 Elite?
I created the T2 Elite programme in 2017 to help enhance athletic performance and deliver results a client’s sporting career.
Working with clients, I look to improve baseline capacity in endurance, power, strength and speed, as well as address any fundamental biometric intricacies that’s preventing the client reaching his or her full potential.
The result: a masterplan that’s going to make the client stronger, faster, sharper and more powerful.
We aim to be one area of unwavering support and structure the clients can rely on in their ever-changing career landscape.
We also tailor our programmes to suit any professional sport and we have recently ran blogs on other T2 Elite athletes: boxer Luke Watkins and MMA fighter Craig Rawlins.
Nathan Thompson, along with his brother Louis, were the two original T2 Elite members, joining the programme when they played for Swindon Town FC & Norwich City FC.
Defender - Portsmouth FC
This summer, we were super excited to run an off-season strength & conditioning camp in Crete with Pompey defender Nathan Thompson.
His childhood friend and Salisbury FC player Sam Roberts also joined in on a number of the sessions to add a sense of camaraderie.
After his move in Summer 2017 to the south coast, it's been a very different training relationship for T2 Elite and Nathan, as its geographically difficult to train regularly.
Therefore, we were thrilled when we had the chance to run an off-season camp on a beautiful Greek Island.
Nathan has worked hard all season on increasing the range of motion he has at particular areas of his body and his musculature has been strong and supple like never before.
Our goal was to improve on this and make him even more explosive.
We delivered a sharp, intense training camp for him and focused a lot of the sessions on bodyweight training and explosiveness.
To balance this, we also incorporated assisted stretching and with the help of Tori Willard, some Pilates and yoga too.
As a client of T2 Elite, we collaborated with Nathan on shaping the camp to ensure we delivered what he wanted to achieve.
Therefore, the sessions and holistic approach demonstrated his appetite to work outside of some of the more traditional and perhaps restrictive training methods.
Historically, there has been a sense of ‘old school-ness’ in some of the training methods employed in football – as with many other sports – but in recent times there has been a shift to look at athletes’ career and conditioning more holistically.
The result has meant that the ‘tough it out’ mindset that has predicated the English game is slowly making way for a smarter new approach.
This change in ethos has been spearheaded by research, education and forward-thinking players such as Cristiano Ronaldo.
A better understanding of soft tissue – and the structures within – has offered a greater injury-avoidance opportunity to players.
We no longer look to grind our players into the ground as was once commonplace.
Furthermore, a players’ grasp of nutrition, fasting, time-restricted eating and inflammation has massively improved the performances we see on the pitch.
We also understand more about the bodies’ regenerative powers through rest and recovery treatments as well as chronic concussive damage that can be suffered in the modern game.
All in all, the training methodology for modern athletes has moved on and football is stepping up to adopt new techniques for athletic development and maintenance.
This approach underpinned our off-season S&C camp in Crete.
We pushed Nathan & Sam hard on their summer break – despite the scorching heat – and were delighted with the results.
We look forward to watching both players at their clubs in the upcoming season.
Check out the highlights video on our T2 Travels vlog by clicking here.
If you're an aspiring athlete and would like more information on our T2 Elite programme, please email email@example.com.
Alternatively, if you dream of becoming a Strength & Conditioning coach for competitive sportsmen and women, check out our Strength & Conditioning course.