You’ll find a lot on my site about strength training. It’s a habit that’s served me well for 25+ years.
This year saw some changes. I went stale in my tried-and-tested program. I recognized my mojo was flat and wasn’t making much progress.
A few years back, a friend had done a backcountry ski program with Mountain Tactical. So I bought the latest version of that program, got to work and learned a few things. Currently, I’m using their in-season ski maintenance program. I’ll skip observations about the plans themselves and focus on general points that might apply to you.
How am I allocating my time and where is that likely to take me? Athletics, relationships, every single thing.
What is the purpose of your protocol? These days: (a) enough stress to get the benefits of exercise (cognitive & mood); (b) vanity; and (c) maintain my ability to ski & hike at a very high level.
With the MTI program, the sessions were so challenging that I needed to drop all other exercise. Dropping supplemental training probably seems obvious but, in my demographic, it’s common for people to do 1-2 extra sessions per day, and still think they are not doing enough!
The results were great. Even the nights with total exhaustion were “fun” => they made me feel like I was doing something.
Giving myself a full 24-hours to recover between sessions boosted my recovery AND reduced the mental stress of having to grind out a lower quality session when tired. It reminded me of my single-sport focus periods when I was an elite triathlete.
Within my training, I made a big demand on myself (for about an hour, 3-4x per week) then backed way off for the rest of the day. If you are finding, like I was, that all your sessions are blending into mediocre performance, with limited gains, then this tactic might help.
Seems obvious but it takes a lot of courage (for a compulsive exerciser) to back off. For example, I have a fear of weight gain and can use cardio to enable excessive eating.
Each one of us has blindspots. Mine are range of motion, quickness and coordination => fundamental components of high-level skiing. The program I bought contained box jumps, lateral jumps, side-to-side jumps, dynamic lunges, stretching and body-weight hip extension exercises. The act of seeking help gave me a nudge to do things I’d skip on my own. This works in our larger lives:
- Notice when your protocol stops working
- Seek expert advice
- Trim non-essential components
As an elite athlete, my “recovery” included 12-15 weekly hours of easy cardio. Easy cardio isn’t easy but that’s a different topic!
My easy-training hours have been replaced with walking, time with my wife and housework. This shift makes it easier (and more likely) to succeed within my larger life, which aims at a world-class marriage, thinking better and educating my kids.
What I value is reflected in where I allocate my time.
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