Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hit The Reset Button!

This has taken me a long time to learn, but I think one of the most valuable things to help IMPROVE your training or ability as an athlete is to actually take a step back and ask yourself W.I.N - what's important now? Its too easy, in my opinion, to get caught up in the "more mentality" and lose sight of what really needs to get done NOW to get better.

In my own case, the aches and pains were starting to pile up - to the point where somedays it was UNENJOYABLE to do what I loved to do most! I was getting sick every few weeks and was just feeling BURNED OUT. To the mixed martial artist, wrestler, any combat athlete or even hardcore fitness enthusiest, what i'm about to say is almost blasphemy, but would save alot of frustration. Embrace the idea of a mini off season, or perhaps a few mini off seasons throughout the year - hit the reset button and fix what needs to be fixed NOW to make yourself better in the long run. Again, in my case I had severe knee pain and a nice fat bursa on my elbow, along with the fact that I wasnt getting any stronger or faster - something needed to change! The repetitive stress and the nature of sports like mma, boxing, brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling take a huge toll on the body and sometimes as athletes we get so wrapped up in doing whatever it takes to get better that we forget that it still comes down to PERFORMANCE. And if you're so beat up that you're body can't perform at or near optimal performance then something has to give!

While complete breaks may not be necessary, I think that in some cases taking a few weeks to scale back on the technical/sport specific sessions and taking some time to improve on your ATTRIBUTES (speed, strength, power) along with using restorative techniques (corrective exercises, mobility work, soft tissue work) to get back to balance, will pay huge dividends. Physical reasons to take a break aside, often times, mental burnout can drag people down even worse. No matter how much you love something, or how badly you "want it", everyone reaches a point where the ROI just isn't worth it anymore! If thats the case, then switching gears for a few weeks every now again will only help to further prolong your training progress and help you reach new heights. While i'm not one to cry out "overtraining!" at every little ache and pain (unfortunately those things come with the territory), I am suggesting that athletes stop falling victim to these patterns, start listening to their bodies more and recognize when they need a break.

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