The Fall Training Guide for Every Athlete
Summer is a time for going to the beach, taking vacations, drinking beer, having cookouts, and shorter work weeks… And let's face it, maybe even shortened or skipped workout sessions.
Some of us took advantage of the amazing weather, traveled to new locations, and structured summer workouts into the daily routine to continue to grow stronger, leaner, and healthier. But a lot of athletes come back to the gym after Labor Day not quite in the shape they were before Memorial Day. They might have a few more millimeters of body fat on those skinfolds and pounds on the scale. They might be missing some of their former strength and explosiveness.
In either case, now is the time to either get back on track, or step up your training. With only a few weeks until fall is officially here, advancing your fitness now will allow you to reap the benefits of all that the fall has to offer.
Fall is time for football, but it's also time for gains in your fitness. [Photo credit: Pixabay]
What Fall Brings to Fitness
With the craziness of summer settled down and school back in session, our daily schedules go back to normal. That means you can carve out the necessary time to get under that barbell. If you commit to going hard for September, October, and November, that gives you 10-12 weeks to get where you want to be before the holidays come around.
Speaking of the holidays (and the impending dietary transgressions), fall is the time to "pre-game." Building more muscle and improving your fitness now will allow you to go into the holiday season with a body that is able to turn pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and pounds of turkey into rock-solid, high-performance muscle mass. Step up your exercise intensity, add in strength days, and build an overall foundation. Come holiday season, you will be prepared to train insane and take advantage all those calories.
CrossFit Open Prep
The Open is only 6 months away, which means the time to start getting ready is now. Where were the gaps in your performance this year? The next 10-12 weeks are an opportunity to build a better foundation of strength, improve your Olympic weightlifting technique, or learn new skills like gymnastics and bodyweight movements. Shoring up those holes in your game now will allow you to do much more specific work in the CrossFit Open “preseason,” from December to February.
Seasonal Athletes in the Fall
If you play soccer, football, or other fall sports, you are either reaping the benefits of the training you put in 6 month ago, or regretting that you didn't. Take notes on where your performance is suffering during the season now, so that you'll know what to work on when the season is over.
If you wrestle, play basketball, or another winter sport, this is your preseason. Focus on increasing your overall athleticism for the next 8-12 weeks, in addition to sport-specific skill work and conditioning so that when your season starts, you will be strong and healthy. The work you do now will determine the kind of season you have this winter.
Spring sport athletes could be reading this two ways: “Maaann, I have 8 months until my season starts.” Or, "Oh man, I have 8 months until my season starts!" I hope you say it the second way, and are excited to capitalize on your offseason training. The best athletes understand that just playing their sport during the season is not enough. These days, to be a starter, to get scholarships, or even make it to the next level, you've got to put in the work year-round. Small town athletes can go pro, and small town heroes can be duds. The difference lies in what those athletes are doing day in and day out.
Do the Work Now, Reap the Rewards Later
Taking advantage of the change in seasons to step up your training will give you a leg up on your competition. The end of summer doesn't mean the end of progress. A sharp focus on your training for the next 10-12 weeks can reset the backslide of a lazy summer, or be a springboard to success in your next competitive season.
So how are you going to get all of that done?
Coaches: Are you managing your athletes' training appropriately?