Monday, 17 June 2019 16:14

What Makes a Great Team?

Characteristics of a Successful Sports Team


The most successful sports teams have great leadership and chemistry. All three of these characteristics are integral for a cohesive and competitive sports team.


Coaches can recruit natural talent and strength all they want, but the most important components of any successful team stems from the whole being more than the sum of its parts.


But what does that really mean?


This means that if we look at sports performance through a system-based approach, an outcome is created that would have never occurred from relying on individual elements.


After all, a diamond cannot be naturally formed unless individual carbon atoms bond together in specific crystalized patterns. So too a successful sports team forms by bonding common elements together in specific ways.


To achieve the emergence of an elite group of individuals all set on creating a lasting impact in their athletic lane requires two things: chemistry and  great leadership.


(#1) The Importance of Chemistry


A superstar on a sports team can be a game-changer/difference maker/shake-n-baker; but only to a certain degree and not with 100% consistency. Not a lot of teams can rely on natural talent alone to drive them to victory.


And doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose and fun of a team anyway?


To speak to this, Nature published findings on team chemistry that the so-called ‘superstar effect’ of loading teams with the most talent actually pales in comparison to teams with the most chemistry and history of prior success together.


Examples of Chemistry in Basketball


Yes, “super teams” in the NBA are strong examples of championship teams through the cultivation of raw talent. But not coincidentally, the Golden State Warriors started to falter earlier in the 2018-2019 season because of an internal conflict between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.


This means that when looked at over the long term, the most sustainable teams have the most chemistry over mere talent. The Warriors, although they had a lot of drama during the regular season, banded back together and sorted out their differences. They all have too good of a relationship as teammates to let petty differences derail their season.


So, those who stick together, have the most history with one another, and can build the deepest bond together, tend to fare better than professional teams with larger payrolls and more stars.


Examples of Chemistry in Hockey


In addition, consider the Saint Louis Blues: a NHL hockey team that made the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 49 years, and who has recently won the whole thing During this historical season, they were dead last in the entire NHL on January 3rd, but have stormed back and played some of the League’s best hockey since then.


And guess what, when they were playing their worst hockey, teammates were fighting each other and team morale was not exactly in a positive place. But they rallied around a new coach, bought into his vision, and they started to play for one another. With that, the proper chemistry and cohesion was built.


So yes, a team comprised of level-headed, cohesive, committed individuals with great chemistry can elevate a middle-of-the-road team into a vastly successful vehicle for athleticism and success.




Now, you can’t force chemistry; you cannot guarantee that your team will mesh well. But you can you increase likelihood by emphasizing a common vision and goals.


If we apply this concept to the business world, a lot of departments and teams will spin their wheels without a vision to unite them. Even if you don’t have the most compatible team members at first, a common goal or vision can help you cultivate team chemistry.


Consider that the best teams are good friends; they hang out off the field and away from team practices. And the best teams in the business world are in touch after-hours, on lunch break, events, etc.


But a lot of this chemistry and communication boils down to the type of leadership at the helm of the group. The right leader will encourage the necessary interdependency that creates positive chemistry.


Let’s explore the impact that leadership can have on successful sports teams.


(#2) Great Leadership


A successful sports team will often have a strong coach. A groundbreaking business will have a strong leader. And just about any organization worth its salt will have someone of charisma at the helm.


A great coach will rally the troops around a powerful narrative--they will absorb adversity and reframe it as fuel for a resurgence.


The most successful leaders are not afraid to fail. Really, any successful sports coach will tell you that composure is key in the midst of the emotional highs and lows of a season.


To achieve this, a coach will create a narrative or philosophy that is flexible and powerful enough to last a long time. It is a story that is absorbed by teammates and which can fuel the forward progress of the group despite any challenges that arise.


This tool, combined with good drills and practices, can strengthen a team unlike any other facet of leadership.


Creating Resilience Through a Strong Vision


Say that your team has all the chemistry and skill in the world. They are disciplined, show up to practice every day, train, workout, and band together the majority of the time.


What happens when they face adversity as a group? Or key players get injured? Or God forbid a chain of bad luck threatens to derail the efforts of a hard-fought season?


Without a strong vision and narrative to rally around, a team might not have the resilience to fight back and turn their season around.


Resilience in this context is simply the ability for a team to adapt, rebound, and consistently stick to a game plan no matter how negative the circumstances of a season.


Some of the most prominent ways for coaches to increase resilience in their teams are through the following methods:


  1. Preaching the importance of pushing on despite failure. A lot of the best teams channel the emotions they feel during a loss as fuel for the next game or match. A coach will show players how to do this as a group.
  2. Sticking to the game plan. This is probably the most important part of a coach’s job. If teammates are not constantly reminded to stick to a game plan or the proper course of action, the whole season can be lost. It’s up to the coaches to craft the best plan for the team and get the team to believe in it 100%.
  3. Encouraging accountability practice. A good leader makes sure that all team members know how to take ownership and accountability whenever necessary.


A Surefire Resource For Cultivating These Qualities


Fitness Artist isn’t just committed to bring you helpful information and motivation, we are of course a service-driven business with an impressive assortment of programs and classes.


With that being said, if you have read this far, you might be interested to know that our Next Level Athlete program can build the chemistry of your team. In addition, our sports performance philosophy hits all of the crucial points necessary for taking your sports team to the next level.


Contact us for details!


Published in Fitness

3 Places to Improve Your Health Outside the Gym:


Gyms and fitness centers are fantastic places to work on your physical health. With top-tier equipment, personal trainers to guide you, and the camaraderie of other members, a great gym makes it easy to stay motivated and meet your fitness goals. However, the gym isn’t the only place you can improve your health.

If you’re serious about living a healthy lifestyle, these are three other places you should be focusing on your health.

The Kitchen

“You can’t outrun a bad diet.” It’s a catchy phrase, but what does it really mean?

Weight gain or loss is determined by the calories you consume versus the calories you burn. If you eat more calories than you burn through exercise and daily activity, you’ll gain weight, but if you operate in a calorie deficit, you’ll lose weight. So if you’re consistently eating more food than your body needs, you’ll see the numbers on the scale rise even if you’re a dedicated gym-goer.

When it comes to cutting calories, there’s a right way and a wrong way. People who turn to fad diets to lose weight quickly tend to gain it back once they stop the diet. That’s because fad diets don’t address the eating habits that lead to weight gain. If you want your weight to go down and stay down, you need a diet plan that’s sustainable for your lifestyle. Rather than experimenting with diet trends, research which diets are proven to work, and talk to your doctor to determine the diet plan that matches your nutritional needs.

The Outdoors

When you want to mix up your workouts, skip the gym and head outside instead. There are countless ways to get active outdoors, from swimming to mountaineering to playing a sport. The best part? Most of them are tons of fun, so you’ll hardly notice you’re working out.

Outdoor exercise is also great for your mental health. Exercising outdoors has been shown to improve self-esteem, moods, and sense of purpose while reducing stress and anxiety. That’s because when you exercise outside, you combine the mental health-boosting powers of exercise with the mood-lifting effects of nature.

Getting active outdoors does have more risks than working out in a gym, so make sure you have the right equipment before heading out, and respect your limitations when venturing into wilderness areas. That’s especially true if you’re heading outdoors in the winter, when a slip on ice or snow could leave you injured in dangerous weather conditions. Crampons are a must in icy weather (you can learn more about crampons and find quality ones here). The Appalachian Mountain Club lists more essential gear you need before heading into the great outdoors.

The Office

Odds are that you don’t think of your cubicle as a fitness-focused environment. However, you can do a lot of harm to your body sitting behind a desk if you’re not mindful.

New research is emerging all the time that shows just how terrible sitting behind a desk all day is for your health, and it’s bad news for the gym buffs: Even if you sweat it out at the gym every day, you can’t undo the harmful effects of too much sitting. If you work a desk job, set a timer that reminds you to get up and move for at least 5 minutes every half hour. Better yet, swap your standard desk for a sit-stand desk so you spend part of the workday on your feet.

Muscles are made in the gym, but head-to-toe health happens everywhere you live, work, and play. From your office to your kitchen, a fitness class to a mountain ridge, every place you spend time is an opportunity to improve your health. Pay attention to how your everyday habits influence your health, and you’ll see gains in strength and endurance beyond what you thought was possible.

Image via Unsplash

To get in touch with Jennifer, email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Published in Fitness
Thursday, 28 February 2019 14:18

Determining Specific Fitness Goals

Determining Specific Fitness Goals


There is almost nothing more important than defining a game plan for your fitness regimen, especially at the advent of a new year.


You need a roadmap, an outline, or frame of reference to fall back on. You will want to have clear-cut benchmarks to welcome in 2019; and by extension, you need to have goals to maintain focus.


But before anything is drawn up, questions need to be posed. More specifically, if you are buying a program online, having a personal trainer design a tailor-made schedule for you, or you are flying solo,  you should first determine what your fitness goals are.


Let’s look a little further into determining specific fitness goals.


The Importance of Specificity


Determining just what exactly your fitness goals are can be a difficult question to answer. Most of us offer vague answers about wanting to become stronger and healthier. That much is obvious! But if pressed any further, we find it very difficult to articulate specific fitness goals. To alleviate the challenge of specificity, start broad and then narrow your objective.



Let’s say that you want to have healthier lungs this year. Your diet is good, your exercise regimen has been consistent, but you have slacked on cardiovascular conditioning. Logically, your next fitness goal is to strengthen your heart and lungs.


You have just determined a goal. Better lungs? Check! Stronger heart? Check!


You saw room for improvement, and so, you prioritized more cardio. Now, after determining your general goal, you need to narrow it enough to be effective.


If you tell yourself something general like, “I am going to run frequently for stronger lungs,” you are not establishing a fitness failsafe for yourself.

You might buy some great shoes, plan out your route, get up earlier before work, the whole nine yards. Eventually though, if your plan is not specific enough, you will probably grow bored and quit. A day, a week, a month later? If your goal is not focused, you are probably not challenged or stimulated enough to cultivate the necessary motivation to continue running regularly.


Narrowing it Down!


What if you tried to run a faster mile every week? Even more specifically, let’s say you wanted to run an 8-minute mile. That’s very doable! And now you have a target to hit, which means you are strengthening your lungs with more purpose, more oomph.


Yes, cardiovascular health is extremely important on its own, but without specific goals, it is hard to stay motivated. Training for an 8-minute mile--or dare I say, a marathon--can keep you effectively engaged.




And even better, this model can be repeated for other aspects of your fitness lifestyle: if you want to fit fit into smaller-sized clothes, that’s a very specific goal you can achieve with a healthier diet. Just telling yourself you will eat healthier is an absolutely great thing to tell yourself. Confidence is key! But will you follow through if you don’t have a specific goal in mind? Probably not.


With all of that in mind, being realistic about your goals is extremely important as well.


Finding a Sweet Spot: Be Realistic With Your Goals


Most of us want six pack abs and chiseled features. That’s a specific objective and very important! Sometimes being too specific can be detrimental though. Instead, we should try to find a sweet spot between general and very focused goals.


If you want six pack abs, that’s a very admirable goal. Go get it done! But before you take the six pack plunge, assess how realistic the undertaking will be for you. If after you have assessed how realistic the goal and effort, you still think you can stay focused enough, then there is nothing stopping you.


But keep in mind that six packs are the product of low body fat percentage, just training your abs to death won’t give you the results you are looking for. A balanced diet and consistent workout regimen will get you closer to the desired six pack look than isolating the abs or focusing on abdominal work.


Just be realistic and find the sweet spot between being specificity and generality.


Consider a Personal Trainer

In summation, there is no one more qualified to keep you dialed-in than a personal trainer. When it comes to investing in yourself, you don’t want to take any chances. Especially if you are lost and having trouble determining what your fitness goals are, having an expert guide you and ask the right questions can make all of the difference.


Hire a personal trainer to make a routine, program, and give dietary advice. And remember to be realistic and specific with your goals. Stick to them and you’ll be so glad you did!




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Published in Fitness