Every sport has a time period that involves stepping away from the grueling demands of practice, training and competition.
We call this the “off-season” and it’s designed to allow our bodies and minds the opportunity of returning back to a state of homeostasis.
Sunday marked the end of the 2018 CrossFit Games and Matt was in attendance to help a few of these incredible athletes. In sports, such as CrossFit, our bodies are stressed in ways that are specific to the demands of each individual sport.
It’s extremely hard on the body, and by effectively utilizing an off-season, we prioritize recovery in the attempt of improving long-term.
However, many of the athletes we work with in the worlds of endurance and CrossFit scoff at the idea of taking time off. It’s often (incorrectly) seen as a wasted opportunity where they could instead be putting in the hours of training in order to improve and perform better.
With any aspect of training, an off-season can be done incorrectly.
An effective off-season is paramount in allowing our bodies to recover, but also re-focusing on aspects of life and training that have been neglected.
Programming an effective off-season can be tricky and involves several variables that should be consciously implemented in order to maximize the benefit.
Here are a few keys:
1. Relax… I know it’s difficult for some, but the benefits are unparalleled. Stress + rest = growth and taking time off to allow our bodies to recover will result in improvement long-term. Burn-out is a very real thing with stress being a huge cause of injury. Allow your systems the chance to rebuild stronger and return hungrier than ever.
2. Prioritize variety… for example, if you’re a runner, lift more weight and get strong. Get away from the volume of pounding and high mileage that in-season training requires. For most other sports, yoga, swimming and cycling are great cross-training alternatives as they are joint-friendly and blend often under-utilized aspects of training.
3. Train weaknesses… take a step back and analyze what’s weak. Where do you need to improve? Use the off-season to focus on these areas. Find a coach who understands what it takes to get to the next level and develop a plan in the off-season. This is the time to find the missing links.
These are just a few of the many concepts that we teach in our Train Smarter, Not Harderworkshops.
Hope to see you there!