By Jennifer Fisher, TheFitFork.com
Whether viewed as a welcome relief or a necessary evil, the “off-season” brings with it a bag of mixed emotions for every athlete, from elite to amateur. After following an intense training regimen where practically every muscle move is planned and accounted for, the cessation of such vigorous scheduling can bring immense joy. Think of sleeping in, eating without a means-to-an-end mindset….
On the other hand, the crippling fear of wondering “what’s next,” worry of losing fitness gains, and floundering around without a goal can take happy right out of the hiatus for many. If you follow these tips for navigating through your off-season, you’ll bounce right back into any sport mentally and physically refreshed and ready to “win.”
Change mindset. As unnatural as it may seem at first, turn your focus from competition to relaxation. Still run, bike, swim and break a sweat in a way that gives you purpose, but allow this mental break from “win-win-win” or “gotta get a PR” to refresh your passion for a given sport. Say buh-bye to burnout when you reconnect with underlying reasons a sport appeals to you — for example, being outdoors or connecting with friends.
Work on weaknesses. Bettering your “game” can be helped by improving skills that hold you back, whether it’s speed, mobility, agility, strength or a mixed-bag. During season, athletes are often too tired, after leaving it all on the field, to perform additional skill work with the proper form needed to initiate positive change. However, off-season is the perfect opportunity to give 100 percent focus to addressing physiological and even psychological areas that are keeping goas at bay.
Be mindful of mission. Yes, take that warrior attitude down a notch, but don’t let the off-season throw you completely off course. Frequently staying out late, eating and drinking too much, and just lounging around rather than maintaining base fitness can be downward spiraling distractions. Giving into vices will make it difficult, if not impossible, to return to any sport ready for optimal performance.
Try something new. A hiatus from the expected training grind frees up time to try a new physical activity. This off-season cross-training will take the constant pressure off taxed, tired and over used muscle groups and help develop new strengths and skills. Learning new ways to move and having fun will only make you a better athlete in your sport once practice days start back up.
Just keep up your awesome, and you’ll be ready to tackle the new training season!
Jennifer Fisher is an enthusiastic Core Power fan and user. Along with being a contributor to the fairlife team, she’s a #FitFluential Ambassador, #IDEAfit Inspired Blogger and contributor at the Cooking Light Blogger Connection. Jennifer is also a fit food & healthy living guest speaker, competitive master’s runner, CrossFit enthusiast and mother of three teen boys! For more on Jennifer, visit her blog TheFitFork.com and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.