The last ‘big’ races/events are over for the season – triathlons, cycling, marathons, the Games – all done for another year. It’s officially the ‘off-season’; the time for our bodies to rest, recover, and start preparing for the next go. While the ‘off-season’ is commonly associated with athletes, it truly applies to all of us. During the summer months we tend to be more active, eat differently, and in general are much more conscious of how we look, feel, and perform. When the fall and winter months roll in we tend to ‘hibernate’. It’s darker, colder, our clothes are baggier, the holiday eating season rears its head, and exercise takes a back seat. Yep, it’s the ‘offseason’ for pretty much everyone – and while it does give our bodies a break it also sets us up for a massive spring ‘dig-out’ to recover from the time off and overly indulgent eating. So hardcore athletes, average Joe’s, and paleo newbies listen-up. The ‘offseason’ doesn’t have to set you up for extra work later; in fact, if you’re smart, you’ll use it to prepare yourself for next season and come out stronger and healthier than you were during the last go-round.
The “Get ‘On’ in the ‘Off’-season” Game Plan:
Step 1: Set your goals and make a plan. Look back at last season (or the last 5-10 years) and review what was good and what needs improvement. For athletes, average Joes, and paleo newcomers alike, things to work on might include an aspect of training or exercise (strength, endurance, start workout program, etc.), nutrition/diet hurdles (weight loss, weight gain, eating for energy, improving a heath condition, dialing in training diet, etc.), life balance (family, work, fun, etc.) or something else. Decide what you want to accomplish and set your priorities.
Step 2: Enlist help. Okay, this is where the experts come in. Whether it’s a coach to help develop your training program, a Paleo Dietitian to help get your nutrition dialed in, or a life coach/mentor to assist in finding life balance; get the help you need now – don’t wait until next season. This is the perfect time to work on your weaknesses and get everything dialed in!
Step 3: Evaluate your progress often. It’s easy to get lazy during the winter and holiday seasons. What starts as one treat easily becomes six or seven; one or two missed workouts turns into a month of ‘couch surfing’; and jeans migrate to sweat pants with elastic waistbands. This is not the direction we want things to move! If you find yourself slipping -don’t quit! Regroup, refocus and jump back in! Use your ‘support team’ – coaches, Paleo Dietitians, etc. to hold you accountable. Stick to the plan!
Step 4: Don’t succumb to guilt. It’s perfectly fine to decrease your training (in fact in many cases a little rest will help things), enjoy some holiday treats (some, being the KEY word here), and just veg out a little during the dark winter months. Just don’t let a couple of cookies or a missed workout or two make you feel guilty and drive you into a downward spiral that ultimately ends in giving up. Really focus on enjoying treats, time off, and a break from the busyness of the summer season. Whatever you do DON’T let a few ‘off’ days make you throw in the towel. Two cookies do not equal failure – two dozen cookies per day for two weeks – and we’ve got some problems… Food and exercise should never control you or your life. The steering wheel is yours – a couple left turns won’t hurt as long as you turn right a majority of the time!
Step 5: If you follow steps one through four, you’re going to come out an ‘ off-season’ champion! You will find yourself ready to take on the challenges of next season. Your weak links will be stronger, nutrition will be dialed in, and trying on bikinis for spring break will actually be enjoyable for a change!
What are you waiting for? Gear up your ‘Get On in the Off-season’ Game Plan now – and next season you’ll be a force to be reckoned with! Let us know how we can help!