So there’s this concept – the ‘off season.’ Let’s talk about it for a minute.
What do bodybuilders look like when competing? Something like 3% body fat, all glistening and hairless and bulgy, right?
Okay, what about when they’re not competing?
It would be completely unhealthy to try to maintain that level of lean-ness while building all that muscle. So they go to 10-12% body fat because the body typically needs a bit more fat to function well. They no longer look like the standard bodybuilder – veins don’t stick out as much, etc. They also have a bit more flexibility in their diet because they’re not trying to cut weight. Still, because their body is their tool/job, they continue to work out, bulking up muscle for their next ‘on’ season.
What about other professional athletes?
If a pro soccer player’s lifestyle completely went to shit in their off season, how would they feel when it came time to train up for the first game?
Slow. Heavy. Sluggish. Winded. Gross.
That said, if the same soccer player trained as hard as possible during the off season, what might happen?
Burnout. Injury. Stress-induced disease.
So where’s the happy medium?
Some relaxing. Regular workouts. A reasonably healthy diet, with some wiggle room. A lot of attention paid to the parts of the body that took a beating during the previous season. Rest. Healing. Maybe some video games and a cheeseburger. Maybe some meditation, too.
The one thing professional athletes don’t do is stop.
The other thing they don’t do is apologize for taking a break.
So here I am in a very clear ‘off season.’ It’s not time to do all the things that might possibly move me forward. It’s time to process and grieve and heal. It’s time to nurture myself and care for those around me who are also grieving. It’s time for my default to be ‘no’ on extraneous things, without apology.
It’s also time to keep moving forward.
If it’s time for your off season, how do you plan it? What little tasks aren’t too taxing, but will continue your momentum? What self-care do you plan? Do you still feel like apologizing for telling people no?
I’ll tell you a secret: you aren’t as important as your ego thinks. They’ll survive without you.
So here I go – another quiet cup of coffee with my creative journal, because I want some inspiration mojo to get me feeling up to my day’s tasks. Then a run, because: endorphins. And then I’ll take a few tiny steps in building the path toward my future.
Where does your path lead?