“It’s simple…..Don’t let the Xmas break ‘Break’ you”
We all know how much the Christmas holidays can potentially undo all our hard work. The food is always so delicious. Being fed like a king by my family is hard for me to control. I know I will always go back for seconds, not thinking twice about it. Throw on top all the social gatherings with more eating and drinking. We can easily overlook the endless hours of training that have gone into making you better for the season ahead.
But we also know how important the pre Christmas training phase is. The question is, do you put your feet up for two weeks to completely cool the jets, or do you try stay on track and hang onto the gains you have made?
It takes determination and a strong mindset to keep turning up, pushing your body to its limits during pre-season, so why waste it. You have sunk your teeth into some serious training in preparation for 2019. Pre-seasons are gruelling and seem to go on forever. The easy option at this time of year is to be lazy and shut the body down. The tougher choice is to think ahead, knowing where your sessions are going to take place and what’s required in that session.
In order to assist anyone looking to hang onto their gains, I have put together some tips to help make sure you don’t undo the hard work over Christmas. Speaking from experience, I have been fortunate as training programs and schedules have always been provided and mapped out for me. I didn’t have to think too much. I knew what I was doing each day and simply went out there and got it done.
Sounds simple, but I know plenty do struggle. Taking notice of your body is highly important because most athletes will need movement to keep their body healthy. A lack of training can work against you because you may become sore and seize up a little. Listen to your body and, if you need complete rest, then resting is the right thing to do. Just be mindful of the food and drink you are consuming. Try to keep up your mobility sessions, morning or afternoon walks, physio and/or massage ongoing if you are unable to train.
The two-week break should be taken seriously, especially if you are a professional athlete or an aspiring athlete trying to get an edge. If you don’t have a plan in place for this period, then you’ll be chasing your tail trying to catch others who have planned ahead, who have been so super-professional in their approach to the festive period that they never missed a session. My simple advice is, follow and execute a plan. It can be any plan, but having a plan, knowing your sessions ahead, is better than no plan at all. And always remember to have fun along the way.
Training tips for the Holiday Period
Make sure you have a training program ready – it’s time to smash your sessions!
Look after your training plan
You would have been given a training plan by your club, strength and conditioning coach or whatever organisation you are involved with. If it’s a paper version, then scan and make a couple of copies and, if you can laminate it, all the better. Better still, have it as a digital file, on email, a pdf version, on ibooks, on your device or smart phone. No excuse for losing losing it then.
Know exactly what days you’re working out. You must know what to do on each day and at what times. This should be easy as you will have your training plan but other may not. Be sure to read over it, so you know exactly what is coming your way. You can’t just wake up saying I’ll do this or that and hope for the best. Going to bed knowing what you have on the next day will keep things very efficient, taking away any stress or anxiety in the morning about what you have to complete. PLUS, you won’t miss a session. There is no doubt in my mind you will train better if you plan ahead.
Research in advance
Start to identify the location or locations of where you need to be on your training days. You might be on holidays away from your normal day-to-day routine/environment where things are easily accessible. Knowing your location and where to train will be extremely valuable. Research is the key – make sure you check out gyms, swimming pools, running tracks, football ovals, as they may have events or local community sessions on during the holiday period. You may have to adjust your training days and times to suit the venue. Don’t get to the venue to see it packed or unavailable, because it will kill your vibe in seconds and, most likely, you’ll head home because it all becomes too hard. FACT!
Remember to pack all the materials that are required for the session the night before. Make sure you know what you require to help you have the best session. People can often forget things like pumps, markers etc. A flat footy is not ideal. The basic tools of the trade, like the footballs, and warm up equipment are essential and take minimal effort to pack.
Identify a training buddy. To train solo or not is a personal preference and, if you train better that way, then rip in and go for it. That’s totally fine. However, if you need a training buddy, then start to identify who that might be. Your training buddy might just be a timekeeper that helps spur you on, or it could be someone who participates in all training activities with you, who really helps push you along. The thinking goes that, if you train with someone, you are most likely to compete harder and go for longer – therefore this means much better results for you. YEOW!
Don’t forget to jot down a few words about how the session went, how you’re feeling and so on. Keeping a diary is a good habit to get into, not just for training, but for pre- and post-games as well. Reason being, you can look back on how you handled the training, how your body was feeling and how the games went. Things like what worked well and what didn’t, where you can improve and so on are important to note. If you do have any injuries, keep a diary of your progress. This just gives an honest timeline of where you were and where you currently are. Diary entries become a valuable tool and something special to look back on.
Recovery and Replenish
Recover, replenish and look after your body. Remember, your body is a temple. You must treat it like gold. But most of all, you must listen to how your body feels. You may not be at true pre-season intensity with your Xmas training sessions, yet it’s super important to make sure you pay attention to your recovery protocols. Things like ice baths at home in the bathtub or head to the local pool for a dip, or a beach if you are lucky. These things make a difference and give relief to the body. On top of this, having quality wholesome food pre- and post-session will allow you to train better. Training on an empty stomach is not good for you. You need fuel (nutrition and hydration) to perform at your best, day in, day out.
I hope these simple training tips will help you get the best out of yourself during the holiday period. The main thing is to get all the training completed so you’re in great shape for the New Year. Remember, there is no exact right or wrong but having a method that works for you will make you better.
Have fun and send in any holiday training pics to me at www.brentstaker.com so I can see you smashing out your sessions.