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Key Aspects of Maximal Performance, Minimal Time

By Dana Williams | In General, Optimal Performance | on June 25, 2014


I have lived a life devoted to sport.

From my earliest memories it seems that I have been engaged in one form of competition or another. In my 20s, I dedicated my life to the pursuit of becoming a world-class skier, eventually becoming a member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. From the age of ten onward, it seemed like my life centered around it – It was how I defined myself: Dana Williams. Skier.

Unfortunately, three successive right knee ACL ruptures put an end to my professional ski career and I had to accept that my dreams of becoming a professional athlete were behind me.

A couple of life changes later ( a relocation to Northern California, marriage, fatherhood) competitive cycling had become my venue for adrenaline and self challenge. Applying some of the principles of training and nutrition that I had learned as a skier, I achieved great success.  Although my life had changed considerably and I now had to juggle many more responsibilites than ever before, I still managed to be competitive: Usually with no more than 8-10 hours of training per week.  How did this happen? Well, I am glad that you asked.

If you’ve been reading my blog you know that my philosophy is “maximal performance, minimal time.”  I will be the first to admit that it would be a treat if we all had an unlimited amount of time to devote to training and racing.  The reality is however, that we must make due with the limited amount of time available to us. It’s something that I try to instill in each and every one of my Achieve Athletes.

The Three Ds: Desire, Determination, Dedication

The phrase “maximal performance, minimal time” is built upon three key aspects. They are: Desire, Determination and Dedication (The “Three Ds”). Each one is important, but by understanding the relationship between them can make one truly be a successful athlete.

Desire –  It all begins with desire- the fuel that powers determination.  Without the desire, it is difficult to be successful.

Determination – If desire is the spark that initiates the process of working towards a goal, it is determination that turns it into something definable and achievable.  Put another way, if winning a particular event is the goal, determination is the force that drives the process as one works towards it and takes ownership over it.

Dedication –  Of the three, it is dedication that is perhaps the most challenging, and it is where most athletes struggle as they work towards their goals. Desire and determination seem downright sexy compared to dedication with its drab, workaday overtones. Dedication is what gets us out of bed early in the morning to do those intervals before work, or gets us back on the road after a crash.  It is what helps us overcome adversity in pursuit of our goals. And despite what you might have heard, you can be a dedicated cyclist on less than 20 hours of on the bike time.  With a focused training program, it is possible to maintain a high level of fitness on a minimum of 8-10 hours a week.


For the Achieve Athlete, the key to success is in maintaining the proper balance between the demands of sport with the real world challenges of day to day living.   It isn’t always easy, to be sure.  But for the goal-focused athlete, it all begins with the Three Ds: Desire, Determination and Dedication.



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