For athletes, be it casual or professional, fitness lovers, and even weekend warriors, downtime or season break aren’t exactly fun. Yes, training is difficult and hard, but there’s a reason why many commit to the grind and pursue an athletic hobby. The rush you can get from utilizing your whole body and proving your strength to yourself is something that simply can’t be matched. And going on season break means not having the opportunity to test yourself even further.
But no worries, we wrote down seven things that you should be doing during your downtimes. They’re both for your physical and mental well-being and are things that are definitely worth considering.
Stretch In Your Down-time
Everyone should stretch more, be it very active people or those who live a sedentary lifestyle. For one, it helps you increase your flexibility and range of motion, meaning you can perform sport-specific motions better. However, an interesting benefit that stretching also brings is that it’s a great way to relieve pain, such as back and joint pain. Stretching one of the things you should never skip out on, especially during season breaks, as you’re allowing your muscles to heal uninterruptedly.
Eat More of the Things You Like
During active seasons, you most likely limit yourself to certain types of food. Especially if you’re competing or want to perform at the highest caliber, then being very picky when it comes to food comes naturally. However, all that clean eating and making sure you hit your macros can be quite tiresome. The downtime is the best way to reset your pallet by enjoying the food you normally like- without feeling as guilty too.
Recent studies have shown how important cheat meals are, as they help the body recover faster while also preventing the body from getting too used to your current diet. Having the right amount of cheat meals here and there can help you break plateaus and maintain a consistent upward trajectory.
Don’t Stop Training, but Don’t Overt-train
Of course, season break doesn’t mean you should completely stop training. You’ll be wasting the momentum and gains you’ve reaped up until this point, and the “crash” of suddenly stopping training isn’t good for you either. This is the best opportunity for you to work on your weakness: start by engaging your weakest point slowly. This isn’t a marathon nor a race, it’s really just you testing out other things to keep your body busy while your most-used muscles are given a necessary break. It’s also the best time to try out other exercises that you’re interested in but don’t particularly have the chance to try.
Clean Your Sports Gear
Another thing that’s best done during downtimes is cleaning your gear. If you’re like many sportsmen who don’t particularly take good care of their gear during load season, then your equipment badly needs cleaning. It’s time to grab a brush and scrub off your bicycle or motorcycle wheels, or clean your basketball shoes, or even launder all your dry-fit clothes. Many athletes tend to neglect their gear, after all, they’re tools that are meant to be used. But taking care of them also reflects on you as an athlete- being clean and organized goes a long way. Especially during the first few weeks back after the break, you want to have all your equipment ready.
Replace Broken Ones
Of course, if you end up having broken equipment, now’s the best time to replace them. Take this opportunity to upgrade your gear. Your tools and equipment are important to your performance, so make sure you don’t forget this one out.
And Don’t Forget Your Personal Life
You might really love sports, but everyone still has a personal life to take care of. Neglecting your personal life for the sake of sports is a sin that, unfortunately, many sportspeople and athletes commit. Season breaks or downtime are the best time to do the things you’ve always meant or wanted to do but had no time for it. Go visit your parents in your hometown. Get your car wrapped with your favorite team’s logo. Travel and meet your old friends! Sports and fitness isn’t the only thing we should have in life, and we should always balance everything out.
Regardless of whatever sport you’re into, you can’t exactly do it all of the time. Balancing your life between your fitness hobby and your personal life is just as important as work-life balance. Just don’t forget to still exercise even when you’re in your downtime.