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Most of us fall out of our regular routine during the off season, when the weather improves. Here are some practical tips on balancing enjoyment with coming back strong when it all gets real again later.

Mix It Up

This is the time for variety! Try those classes you’ve had your eye on for months (they won’t be as full now anyways). Make it a super-long bike ride to meet up with friends. Revisit a skill that’s been eluding you, or sample a new one. Take advantage of the snow melting and prepare to tackle that hard hike you’ve heard of.

Establish your Non-Negotiables

To paraphrase Jim Wendler of 5-3-1 fame: don’t suck at important stuff. This might mean being able to run for a bus and not end up gasping — so some brief, intense cardio stays on my daily non-negotiables list.

For some people, non-negotiables might include pain reduction. This is where the movement improvement stuff comes in.

Keep your Goals in Mind during the Off Season

While a rest is important, it won’t feel good if you return to your routine after having backslid in every direction. This is a great time to work on supporting aspects of your sport or routine. Flexibility work is a natural, with the temperature lending itself to myofascial “melting.”

How my Own Summer will Shine

Some of my variety comes through hikes like the one pictured here. The Golden Ears trail was much more difficult than I’m used to, and actually earning that absolutely stunning view made it even sweeter. I’ve taken advantage of a free trial week to find a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class that I will continue with. Finally, there’s a place near my house that, now that it’s dry, I can practice my rollerskating crossovers once or twice a week.

My non-negotiables include getting my heart rate up before my morning shower, every single day. It may even be as brief as a kettlebell snatch test, but it always sets the right tone for the day.

Let’s Get this Party Started

To stay on track with my goals, I’m improving my dorsiflexion (ankle mobility). I’ve registered in a powerlifting meet soon to focus on one variable alone, that of squat depth, then I’ve set myself up with a powerlifting coach… starting after the PNE! ‘Cause… Donut Dash! Then it can all get real again.

And you? How you will you shine in the off season? Contact me if you need input putting it all together.