For some, working out is a solo pursuit. Miles logged before everyone else wakes up, powering away on the elliptical to a jamming mix on your iPod—totally in the zone. Others can’t imagine fitness without a team element. Former Olympic athlete Martin Reader and professional athlete Ryan Caicco have combined their experiences in team sports to build a growing fitness community in Toronto called StriveLife. Through StriveLife they empower their network to grow, support each other, celebrate success and fuel their better. Ryan and Martin talked with us about what inspired them to start StriveLife, and some of their favorite functional strength training exercises.
Vega: For our readers not in Toronto, can you explain what StriveLife is?
Martin: We both retired from pro sports and wanted to keep that competitive edge we had, while no longer being part of a team. Ryan and I came together to create a team based off of high performance living and the pursuit of your best self. We created non-competitive model, where our community comes together to do high intensity interval training (HIIT) to master movements and improve energy systems, while supporting each other. We also offer informational talks on everything from nutrition and mental focus.
Ryan: StriveLife is about a community where fitness is the entry point. We present the opportunity to work out in a team environment and offer athletically inspired functional training. You’re on the best team in the city. We’re really conditioning people. With fitness and high performance living, this is the recipe for personal development.
Vega: Why focus on functional strength training?
Martin: Our goal was never to enter the fitness industry. With 15 years of athletic training, we’re able to bring in two very unique perspectives in training and personal development. I often think if only I knew the things I know now when I was playing! We’ve taken research and insight from different performance leaders and created a program that focuses on mobility, movement and functional strength. Our main goal is preventive exercise—so we focus a lot on the warm-up and proper alignment. We’re proud to say we have not had one injury since we’ve begun. We’re a longevity program. This is not a sprint. Come train with us 1-3x/week max and we’ll enhance anything you’re already doing—yoga or running or anything. This is the ultimate cross-training for life.
Ryan: We remind our team that the most important things are staying consistent, and always train for athletic performance not aesthetic. We’ve always been progressive in our prospective training methods and respective sports. Especially when it comes to our 25 minute warm-up which focuses on mobility, agility and a full body priming. Our 60 minute itinerary is unparalleled. Only high performance athletes would do it on a regular basis. Most people wouldn’t take the time to focus on proper movement, but it helps performance and avoiding injury.
Vega: You both have a background in professional team sports. Are more people in the StriveLife community former athletes?
Ryan: The beautiful thing is that’s it’s a medley of all types of people: Both males and females, musicians, entrepreneurs, former athletes, and a wide variety of young professionals who are looking to pursue their best self
Martin: Everything we do is scalable for all levels of athletes. There’s always room for improvement whether you’re a professional athlete or you have never played a sport in your life.
Vega: Do you have a training weakness? How do you help StriveLife clients improve on their training weaknesses?
Martin: Oddly enough, a lot of weaknesses are very similar. People are very anterior focused. We’re sitting and driving all day so we’re very tight and tense anteriorly. We train the posterior chain a lot by focusing on proper hip hinge mechanics, back control and shoulder stability.
Vega: How do you fuel the typical StriveLife session?
Want a taste of the StriveLife? Check out Ryan and Martin’s top workout moves.