Olympic athletes are no doubt, the best athletes in the world. But how might they get that way? It is obviously due to their extreme workouts and training in between every four years that gets them the gold, silver or bronze. However, you may be surprised at what an Olympic athlete actually has to do in a typical off season just to stay in shape.
Off Season Diversity
Doing the same workouts every day and practicing the same things over and over again gets stale and isn’t good for your body. Olympic athletes who are preparing in the off season don’t just train constantly every day, they actually tend to mix things up a bit. To avoid physical and mental staleness or burnout, many Olympic athletes participate in other sports during the offseason. They might even choose sports totally different than the one they participate in every four years. This keeps the athletes well rounded and it keeps them from plateauing if they fail to see any improvements. Workouts are necessary, but they are staggered and adjusted every few weeks or months. Long distance runners like Mo Farah and Galen Rupp have found variety in adding an underwater workout pool in the mix of their off season workouts.
While your seasons might not be spread four years apart, it is important to add diversity to your overall workouts to keep your body well adjusted and ready for what comes next. Don’t get bored with your exercises and become burnt out. Variety is key to anyone’s offseason.
Take a Break
Most Olympic athletes take an extended break after their last race or competition. A break not only from running, but from training, working out, dieting and discipline. Some Olympians even take up to eight weeks off of everything healthy after their last event. DeeDee Trotter, 400m medalist, takes 6 to 8 weeks off to pig out and hang out with friends. Catching up on things that you weren’t able to do during the season is important as you need to refill your mental gas tank and return to other priorities and relationships. Some Olympic athletes even go on vacation during this break period. This is very important as your body and brain might just need a change of scenery for a little while in order to regain the motivation to start training once again. Listen to your body as you might just need to take a hiatus from your athletic lifestyle. A break from the norm will rejuvenate yourself to go back at it with the right mind set.
Olympic athletes are extraordinary individuals, and while many of you may not quite be Olympic quality, the concepts are the same. Routine is good, but not for long extended periods of time in your workouts. Know when to mix it up a bit or just simply take a break. This will allow your body to catch up or readjust itself, keeping you on your feet, avoiding injury and preventing burnout like an Olympic athlete.