As featured in Endurance Magazine- November 2015
As winter approaches, many of you have already entered the “off-season”. For some, that means letting off the gas of the regular routine of structured runs, bikes, and swims. Some try cyclocross or mountain biking at this time and look for the competitive edge over peers that are sleeping in on the weekend. For most, you eat a little more, train a little less, and maybe try lifting weights or a CrossFit class a couple of mornings before it makes you sore and you go back to getting more sleep.
While there are many benefits of the “off-season” (less stress on the body and mind, more family time, recovery, etc.) this is also the time where many of you can start building for an even more successful new year. And this starts with getting your butt back off the couch!
Starting with your problem areas and working backwards is where we should begin. If you know what these are, and I’m not talking about the swim in a triathlon or hills on a run, focus on making these better. Things like mobility in the hips and upper body, strength in the core, power in the quads, are what most of you need to work on to make you a better athlete.
How can you find out what to work on if you don’t already know? Find a physical therapist or trainer that utilizes some form of functional movement screen (FMS) or another type of personalized physiological testing. Once you have been evaluated, use the information to target your off-season fitness plan. This could be as simple as adding 30-45 minutes of resistance strengthening to your weekly calendar a couple times a week. Classes such as an advanced conditioning and/or boot camp style workout are good introductions to weights and kettlebells. A suspension trainer class or session, like TRX®, is an awesome way to strengthen the body while easily controlling the resistance and making training portable.
Another one of my favorite things to work on is mobility. Often overlooked in favor of pounding more mileage or swimming more yards in the regular season, mobility helps keep us injury free when safely combined with a strengthening program to offset any instability (which is mobility gone awry). The FMS and other modified tests help identify areas that need mobilization. Pilates-based sessions, Yoga, and Gyrotonics are excellent strategies for helping balance the body. (I have also included some of my favorite mobility exercises for this article and they can be seen in their entirety in our video library at YouTube.com/ActivEdgeFit).
At the studio gym where I work, we have started something we call 92TEN™. This stands for the last three months of the year (or last 92 days) and a goal of completing ten separate measurable tasks. October-December is a time where many of us are unmotivated and feel unchallenged to achieve goals when are next “event” isn’t for several months.
Instead of fading off for the rest of 2015, challenge yourself to achieve even more in the last two months of the year setting the stage for a killer new year! If you start forming good habits in the off-season, you will start 2016 even stronger and more balanced than ever. Training starts now. Reboot. Reach deeper. Become more.