Interview with Andreas Lanz

14. January 2020

Thanks to years of experience in competitive sports as well as various training and further development courses, Andreas Lanz has acquired a broad knowledge of training theory, dietetics, motivation and concentration training. He applies this knowledge every day when working with athletes such as triathlete Daniela Ryf, wrestler Remo Käser, or beach volleyball player Tanja Hüberli.

Since 2006, you have been motivating and accompanying people on the way to their goals. How have the needs changed over this period of time?

The needs of most athletes are still the same. Some are highly motivated to change old habits, others are highly driven to improve their performance. Amateur and keep-fit athletes mainly want to lose a few pounds or achieve an athletic goal, such as, for example, participating in the Jungfrau Marathon. Top athletes, in contrast, are clearly focussed on the goal that they want to achieve on day X with various milestones.

The main thing that has changed is society’s patience; which has really become a rare commodity. Everything should change for the best from one day to the next.

However, regular training stimuli are required to achieve and maintain physical fitness. It's like brushing your teeth: if I only brush my teeth during the first 6 weeks of the year and then stop, I will experience problems. Likewise, if I were to brush them 6 times a day for 3 minutes. 

In your eyes, what are the three most important factors that lead to success?

1. Self-responsibility, 2. Self-responsibility and 3. Self-responsibility

It is apparent, time and again, that we all have great goals we would like to fulfil or achieve. However, many of us are not willing to assume the required responsibility to resolutely follow this path. We would rather hide behind excuses such as “I have no time at the moment”, “I'm simply too exhausted”, or “that wouldn’t work anyway”, etc.

But no one is going to carry us over the finishing line. We have to take these steps ourselves. It becomes very difficult if we only pursue a goal to receive recognition from the outside world and do not necessarily act on our own initiative.

This «current status of this fallacy» is likely to have led you to rethink and adapt at one time or another. What were the three biggest epiphanies for you?

  1. There is no generally applicable training formula which is equally effective for all people. It is far more a question of finding the right training formula for the individual.
  2. If a sport mainly consists of one-sided “monotonous” motion sequences, such as running, for example, the training should be as versatile as possible, which means taking into account all fitness factors to prevent imbalances and injuries.
  3. Being (more) consciously aware of yourself is not just something for yogis but can lead to an increase in sports performance. Thus, much of our performance potential, for example, lies in the “correct” breathing technique.

Endurance athletes often resist advice when it comes to cultivating the other fitness factors. What are your arguments in favour of holistic training?

They are quite obvious. Running is a one-sided sport. If your work mainly involves sitting, imbalances can creep in quickly, which lead to health problems, such as knee, hip or back problems. Most of these problems can be prevented through regular individual strength and mobilisation training. 

Do you have a secret tip you would be willing to share with us?

I have been practising the Wim Hof Method for quite some time now. This method consists of three elements: breathing technique, exposure to cold, and focus exercises. Cold strengthens the cardiovascular system and simulates the stressful situations that we often encounter in our everyday life. By taking a cold bath, we deliberately experience these reactions and learn how to control them. We can recall this experience in critical situations, and it helps us to act calmer and more constructively in all circumstances. With the Wim Hof Method, we positively impact our immune system and our mental strength.

My experiences motivated me to train as a Wim Hof instructor, in order to pass on this knowledge (which is simple and can be applied anywhere) to as many interested parties as possible.