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Endurance Athlete And Founder Of Flow Performance Coaching – Exclusive Interview With Mike Gloyne

An accomplished endurance athlete, Mike Gloyne has personally experienced the full of spectrum of both body transformation and competitive performance training journeys. Starting out as an overweight and stressed corporate manager looking for a healthier way of life, Mike competed in his 1st Ironman event at the age of 40. 


Now almost 10 years later, having completed 3 full distance Ironman events, 17 Ironman 70.3 events, Mike is preparing to compete in the Ironman World Championships in late 2024. Like most stories, this was not all smooth sailing and included having sustained serious injuries himself, needing hip surgery and not being able to run for the greater part of the last 3 years. Having completed his professional studies in this field, together with his own experiences, Mike founded FLOW Performance Coaching to help other people achieve their personal fitness goals with a holistic approach to physical wellness. We interviewed Mike to find out more. 


Image photo of Mike Gloyne

Mike Gloyne, FLOW Performance Coaching


Mike Gloyne, why the passion for endurance sports?


In my early 30s, my weight was ballooning, I lacked energy, felt slow and sluggish. I wanted to set a good example to my two young children, to encourage a healthy approach to life, and I couldn’t do that if I needed to lose more than 30kgs to get to a healthy weight and BMI.


So I decided to run. It started with a 15-minute light job around my local area and although I hated every minute of it, I knew that I had taken my first steps on a new healthy path and life. 6 months later I completed my first marathon. Fast forward to 10 years later and I frequently race competitively in triathlon. 


You asked why endurance sports?


I liked the effects that activities like running and cycling had on me. Not just the physical side, but the mental effects as well. Going on a long run, for example, gave me a sense of freedom. Time to get out of routine and stress and find peace.


The other side is that I have a competitive streak. I enjoy competing in events, benchmarking myself against other but most importantly, competing with myself to improve on my personal best each time. Endurance sport has become so embedded in my day-to-day life I can’t imagine life without it. 


What is the main reason people fail with fitness efforts?


This is complex and the simple answer is that it depends on the person. In my years working as a trainer and a coach, I can share some of the reasons I see quite often: 


People set goals that are too high or unachievable. They get disheartened and drop out, or get hurt along the way. 


Being over enthusiastic at the start can also be a problem especially when people try to do too much too soon. Little and often will always be a better approach ensuring that health and fitness becomes your daily lifestyle, rather than a sporadic activity. 


Lack of structure is another big one. Not having a plan can lead to a lot of issues. Training should be fun and enjoyable not boring or tedious. It is also important to build recovery time into the process so that the body can heal, repair from the efforts and grow. 


But the most common reason is that significant change is a process. It’s a journey, although many people look for a quick fix to a problem that they may have had for some time. So having a long game perspective when approaching health and fitness is critical. 


FLOW has a special focus on injury prevention and recovery. Why is that?


Endurance sport can place a lot of stress on the body, so injury is a risk. Take it from me, being injured sucks so we want to avoid that as much as possible. 


As we get older, our bodies can become more susceptible to injury, so injury prevention is very important. We don’t want any of our clients to be injured or to suffer pain as a result of any activities they have performed. Our expertise in sports therapy, mobility, strength and conditioning ensures that we work with our clients with a more holistic approach to health and fitness. 


What would you say are the 3 most important factors when it comes to working on health & fitness? 


Firstly, nutrition, nutrition and nutrition. I mention it 3 times because it is the foundation to all things health and fitness. Training hard and then having a poor diet is a flawed approach to being healthy. Knowing what to eat, when and how much are all critical factors that everyone should apply in their lives. This doesn’t mean having chocolate or a pizza is banned for life, it just means you need to be more self-aware of the food you are putting into your body and the impact that it will have. 


Secondly, being consistent. Being more disciplined at following a plan and not skipping sessions means you avoid doing too much in too short a period of time and then suffering with extra levels of fatigue as a result.


Thirdly, being patient. It is important to respect the process and to believe in it. It can be frustrating because you want results ASAP but it doesn’t happen overnight so being patient is a skill in itself.


You were not always an athlete. Is there an ideal time / age to begin? 


In short, no. I firmly believe anyone can do anything they want to with the right structure, approach and determination. There’s never a right or wrong time to start. The most important thing is that you start and know why you are doing it. I’d encourage you to tell everyone you know what you are doing and why you are doing it. This will hold you accountable and will act as a motivator. 


What is more important to you: being able to do more competitions per year or do fewer but better?


If I were invicible, I would race every weekend. Especially triathlon. For me, there is nothing better than the buzz and nervous excitement of competition. Of pushing my body to the limits and trying to be better than I was last time.


But unfortunately, this is not a sustainable approach and will likely lead quickly to injury. So it is not something I’d recommend at all. 


The most important aspect of any training plan is to have a structured approach and to be clear about what you want to achieve and by when. So the answer is to be strategic in race calendar planning. 


When I am doing my planning, I will pick out the key events that I want to do well at. I may only have 1 or at most 2 races in a year which will be the races I expect to perform my best in. I may compete in other events to build fitness, race practice, and to give confidence that I am on the right track. 


It is also important to pick events which are complementary to each other, and which will support you in achieving the result you are looking for at your main race. For example, I would never try and run an Ultra Distance Marathon and then a few weeks later race a 70.3 Ironman.


And I analyse everything. I work with data to help plan but also to adapt, because things can change and I adjust as the season progresses. 


You have to be realistic, don’t be a hero and think you can do everything because your body won’t let you. I’ve learnt this the hard way that’s for sure.


Why do experienced athletes work with a coach like FLOW?


Every seasoned athlete is interested in how to improve in the next races. We want to become stronger, faster, fitter. And the best way to do that is to work a coach to help improve technique as well as performance. 


There is enough technical information and advice out there related to preparing for an event. But by working with a coach, you have someone in your corner working with you, encouraging you, picking you up when you’re struggling with motivation, and helping you to believe you can, when you question the very fabric of what you’re doing.


I believe the most valuable aspect is the relationship between athlete and coach. Technical knowledge and understanding is super important but the true value in any coaching relationship is the strength and bond between the two parties. When a coach truly understand their athlete, they will know how to get the most from them during training and in competition.


With the race and training experience we have, we have pretty much experienced it all first-hand. The good, the bad and the ugly. We use this to help our clients be better athletes and to also avoid some of the common mistakes people make when endurance training.


Why would someone who interested in body transformation work with an endurance coach?


We are without doubt passionate about triathlon. But that is only one aspect of what we do. We are even more passionate about helping people make sustainable changes to live healthy and active lives. Nutrition forms a massive part of that. As does being active, doing some form of resistance training and being self-aware of what being healthy looks like. We are in it for sustainable results and long-term success. 


We coach nutrition and also train our clients on how to strengthen and condition their bodies . The majority of people we work with are not athletes. They are people who need help with getting and staying on the right track as far as their health and fitness is concerned. As a coach, being able to see a client achieve this and sustain it is one of the most rewarding aspects of what we do.


Do you want to see more of Mike and FLOW Performance Coaching? Follow them on LinkedIn, Instagram and visit their website!

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