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Performance Lifestyle

Performance Lifestyle works with a person-first approach to provide an individual coaching and mentoring service to all World Class Programme (WCP) athletes. Our aim is to support athlete well-being and to encourage and facilitate their personal and professional development alongside their competitive sporting careers as they move on to, through and beyond the WCP.


What Does the Performance Lifestyle Team Do?

Trained and accredited PL practitioners at the UK Sports Institute (UKSI) provide holistic support to athletes, supporting their personal and lifestyle needs whilst promoting and encouraging activity and development that allows them to continue to grow as people as well as sporting performers. PL practitioners work proactively to help athletes plan for transition from elite level sport and they are able to continue to provide longer term support should it be required.

The PL team works closely with coaches and support staff as part of integrated multi-disciplinary teams to minimise potential concerns, conflicts and distractions, all of which can be detrimental to both performance and personal life. Support offered by PL practitioners ranges from 1:1 sessions to group workshops and practitioners focus on nurturing relationships based on trust and integrity which enable athletes to work in a safe, secure and where necessary, confidential space.

Managing Transitions for WCP Athletes

The main areas of expertise within Performance Lifestyle are Managing Transitions, Career Development, Education, Personal & Professional Development and Supporting Well Being. Performance Lifestyle is available to all athletes on the World Class Performance Programme and those nominated by their Home Country Institutes.

Careers in Performance Lifestyle

As more and more people apply for Performance Lifestyle roles and show an interest in what we do as a team, we are often asked about how best to develop a career in this discipline. Check out the ‘Becoming a PL Practitioner’ document below, which captures ten top tips on developing yourself in the world of Performance Lifestyle.


#More2Me campaign

The #More2Me campaign is designed to encourage elite athletes to develop a more-rounded identity which reflects them as a person, as well as a performer. It aims to prompt athletes to consider their lives outside of and beyond sport, whilst they are still competing – promoting life alongside sport, not after!

The initiative, launched in February 2019, is supported by the Minister for Sport, Mims Davies MP and four elite athletes who have agreed to Champion #More2Me, all of whom are at different points in their sporting careers:

  • Lizzy Yarnold is a recently retired double Olympic gold medallist in Skeleton and Great Britain’s most successful ever Winter Olympian
  • Hannah Cockroft is a five-time Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair racing who plans to compete at Tokyo 2020
  • Kristian Thomas is a retired artistic gymnast who won a bronze medal in the team event at the London 2012 Olympics
  • Nekoda Smythe-Davis is the current world championship silver medallist in Judo and aims to represent Team GB in Tokyo 2020

Watch the #More2Me stories of our four athlete ambassadors on the ‘Resources‘ section of our website.

#More2Me has been developed by the UK Sport Institute’s Performance Lifestyle team which delivers a personalised support service to athletes from more than 30 UK Sport funded world class performance programmes. For more information about the #More2Me campaign please click here.

Watch Lizzy Yarnold’s story and the reasons why she is championing the #More2Me campaign.

Why is there a Performance Lifestyle team at the UK Sports Institute?

Elite sport has a responsibility to care, develop and support the people it asks the most of – the athletes. In striving for Olympic and Paralympic success or the highest performances in any sport, huge expectations are placed on athletes. They sacrifice much of their adolescence and a large part of their adult life to pursue their sporting goals. They put their bodies on the line, give up careers and make huge compromises in their personal lives for the pursuit of medals or sporting success that benefits the nation as well as the athletes themselves.

Performance Lifestyle exists to ensure that there is an appropriate balance between the pursuit of performance and the care for the performer behind that performance. The high performance environment is inherently stressful and so it is important for athletes to have a professional, trusted, and caring service to help them throughout their time on the world class performance programme.

Ensuring that athletes are ready for the future ahead is an important part of this. The world of elite sport can be unpredictable – not every athlete will achieve their ultimate ambitions but every athlete will inevitably have to transition from their sporting careers at some point and this can be a particularly difficult time for retiring athletes.

Performance Lifestyle exists to enhance and influence the high performance system through passionate practitioners, who help to create and nurture a culture that delivers performance and responsibly cares for its people.

The Performance Lifestyle Team Values are:


How does Performance Lifestyle have a performance impact?

Supporting the well-being and personal development of athletes whilst on the world class programme is an important part of our responsibility towards our athletes and it can also contribute positively to their performances. Athletes themselves have fully endorsed the approach of the UK Sports Institute Performance Lifestyle team:

Olympic Bob Skeleton Champion Lizzy Yarnold said:
“With so many aspects of performance to consider, working with my Performance Lifestyle practitioner has allowed me to step back and review what I’m doing with the big picture in mind. I can achieve more in sport when I believe in and can see the direction I’m going and that’s come from working closely with my Performance Lifestyle practitioner.”

Olympic Rowing Champion Kath Grainger said:
“I’ve used Performance Lifestyle support as long as it has been available to me. It’s been an absolutely essential part of my career and I believe I wouldn’t have had such a long and successful career without its guidance and support. It has been in various forms including discussing the best way to continue studying alongside my sport, finding ways to plan for a life after sport, getting advice on time and life management issues and enabling access to inspirational influences outside of sport, and having someone to turn to as a mentor and a confidante.”

European Athletics Champion Adam Gemili said:
“The work I do with my Performance Lifestyle practitioner plays a key role in my setup as an athlete. Part of being an elite athlete is not only managing everything you do on the track perfectly, but off the track too. “

European Diving Champion Sarah Barrow said:
“Performance lifestyle has enabled me to feel confident whilst preparing for my retirement in my sport. With their help and encouragement plus the funding I receive, I have been able to complete courses I perhaps would not have known about, therefore boosting my CV profile.”


To find out more about our Performance Lifestyle Team and how we can help you, get in touch today.