Peak Performance Vs. Optimal Performance

Peak Performance

Having spent the last 20 years studying, researching, coaching and experiencing the quest for peak performance with my clients, I know how easy it is to become obsessed with achieving it. But can we really sustain the highest levels of performance day in, day, out?

Professional athletes know it’s not a realistic goal to peak physically every day. Of course, their goal remains to achieve this state more often than not and, most importantly, at the right time. But if they try to peak all the time, this inevitably leads to overtraining and underperformance syndrome. Therefore, it’s critical to identify the difference between optimal training and performance.

Assessing Performance:


In every elite sports team, as athletes arrive at the training facilities they are monitored in order to understand their readiness to perform. This assessment may include:

Wellness and Motivation Questionnaire
Hydration Status
HRV and Resting Heart Rate (normally collected first thing in the morning)
Performance test – sit and reach test, handgrip strength or jump tests
Sleep – quantity and quality


The reason for this ongoing monitoring is to equip the physical and technical coaches with information to determine the player load; that is, how much the athlete can realistically complete that day – and make the necessary adjustments to ensure they prepare a correct training schedule for that day.


Now, let’s apply this thinking to a business setting. Do you currently assess your individual readiness to work? Are you proactive in the planning of your day? And, as a leader, are you monitoring your team to identify which individuals can cope with an increased workload or high cognitive tasks at a given time?


Within a corporate environment, we do not monitor the biometric data of our employees for obvious privacy reasons. However, leaders can, and must, talk to their employees and account for the variables that may affect performance. Ask questions, listen to their answers, and adjust your expectations accordingly.


Does your star performer look more tired than usual? Has your best salesperson hit a slump? This doesn’t mean you throw them off the team. Instead, perhaps you need to encourage them to slow down their output for a day or two. There is any number of variables that affect performance in the workplace – be it physiological, social or emotional – and ultimately, you’ll get a far better track record of performance in the long run by paying attention to and adjusting your team’s micro rhythms of work. It’s impossible for you or your teams to performer at 100% all the time, take a step back and access the different areas that are going to affect performance.


The importance of peak performance to sports and business cannot be understated. The more we produce and increase peak performance, the more it shifts the needle, which means that optimal performance will be greater than previously. A great example of this is demonstrated in golf. When you improve your game, the bad shots become more infrequent. Your expectations increase. Your optimal performance improves and peak performance increases.


In my mind, the main job of a CEO/leader is to be Head of Performance. The performance of your employees determines the success of your organisation. What can you do, as a leader, to shift the needle? You need to understand the importance of health to your team, a healthier team performs better. Check out my short video on the main areas that we all should be focusing on here.


Everything that we think about in professional sport is based around performance, adjusting the volume and intensity of training is key to this. Optimal performance can be very helpful during the course of the week, month and training year.


Happy to chat with anyone about optimal and peak performance, contact us here. Check out our free guide for the three things that will improve performance in sport, home or the office.


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