You've Been Competitive, Now Try Training for Life

Tessa Yannone

Personal Training

female athlete

 

As a competitor, coming off of competition comes with a mix of emotions. It could be regret for not competing or preparing as well as you could have, it could be pride for performing well, it could be gratitude for the people who helped you get to where you did, or it could be all of those things and none of them at the same time.

 

 

The one feeling I know that is universal amongst athletes is the drive to improve. Post-competition can be hard and it is what I like to call 'the wandering phase,' especially if you don’t have the next competition already on your calendar. It’s a time that requires a lot of self-reflection, goal-setting, and critical time off, but it’s also probably one of the most fundamental components to an athlete’s development.

 

Find the Fun Again

I sat down with my coach (because yes, coaches need coaches, too) to talk about what comes after competing and how to make sure training is not just something that ebbs and flows with the season of competition but is something that can be enjoyed for life.

 

First and foremost, the universal message is to get back to the fun of it.

 

“The process of getting to your competition is never smooth,” Derek Beumel, USA Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding coach said. “There are always going to be those days when you’re tired or don’t want to train, but because you’re goal oriented you do it anyway.”

 

Training is not always fun. In fact, training for competition can be grueling and can take its toll on your body. Sacrifices must be made and sometimes the fun, or love of the sport, can be lost during the process.

 

“I guarantee if you ask any Olympian they are going to say they sacrificed something to get to that level,” Beumel said. “After a competition, you have to have fun with your training again or else you’re going to resent it.”

 

Getting back to the fun of training can mean different things to different athletes, but for the majority, it means doing movements or activities that weren't part of the season's preparations.

 

Find Balance

As a top-level competitor, you’re going to get a little beat up. You’re going to push your body to levels you’ve never been to before and you’re going to accumulate bumps, bruises, and minor injuries.

 

“In-season you’re training for one thing, and one thing only, so your movements are very focused on that,” Beumel said. “After a competition, it’s important to take 3-4 weeks and dedicate that time to general physical preparedness (GPP) training and increase your ADL (activities of daily living) to get your body back to a neutral state.”

 

Finding balance and fun feed into each other because as you introduce new movements and have fun your body will balance itself out.

 

“Sometimes it even means taking some time away from the gym,” Beumel said. “Top-level athletes have incredibly strong minds, but the body can only handle so much. Before you step into the next season of training, take the time to prevent further injuries and train for general fitness, movement quality, and life.”

 

Set New Goals

Another key component after a competition is to set a new goal. Sometimes that new goal can be to have fun again and find balance. Setting a new training goal will give your time in the gym meaning again.

 

“Having a goal keeps you motivated and on track,” Beumel said. “It could be the same goal as last time or it could be completely different. It can be a big goal or a small goal, but take the time to figure out what that goal is.”

 

Make a four-week goal, an eight-week goal, and a 12-week goal. They should be something that can be measured and assessed so that your training can be modified and progressed properly.

 

“It can be hard to pinpoint a goal right after a comp,” Beumel said. “But that’s the most important time to make them. You have this big gap of time in between seasons and you want to have a goal to drive your training.”

 

The period of time after a competition can be difficult. You may be left wondering and wandering during this time with no structure, but the off-season can be the most rewarding. Take the time to enjoy your training, find balance, and set new goals because, in the long run, it will set you up for a lifetime of training that isn’t dictated by any season. Training will just become something you do every day because, as a competitor, that’s just what you do.

 

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