Athletic SEASONS – training smart!

Athletes train in seasons- off season, pre-season, in-season, post- season… Each season has a specific goal and a unique training program. I see many clients who want to train the same all the time and then wonder why they don’t get the results they desire.  Many women tend to only think about losing weight and try to stick to an “in season” type traing program 24/7/365  and they when they fail to get the desired results wonder why??   

In sports there are “Season”for a reason,   Let’s take a quick look at how and why integrate each of them into your traing program.

The time of the year when athletes set the foundation for the entire rest of the year.  The goal is to gain overall fitness, strength and skill.  All activity is geared towards “Building” the body. A ton of cardio, which “breaks down” the body is not the  focus during pre-season….you should put much more emphaisis on weight training, nutrition and short duration cardio- the focus needs to be effective efficient workouts which will lead to REBUILDING your muscle mass and fitness level. Pre season lasts typically 1 to 3 months in duration.

My fitness prescription for pre-season:

Lift 4-6 days a week- keeping the reps low (6-10) and at a challenging weight.  Keep your focus on your big muscles- legs, back and chest.

Cardio- 3x’s a week after lifting- integrate speed work into the run so that it is more intense and of an interval nature- keep the distance short- no more than 20-30 per sesson.

If you have the energy you can do one additional long cardio day a week of  at steady state pace.

“In Season”

This is the time of the season where fitness is very sports specific, the majority of what an athlete does during this time is solely practicing for their event.  It’s the time of the year where they are constantly trying to find the balance between recovery and training.  This is when individuals need to be highly aware of competition dates, injury prevention, recovery and maintenace of the fitness level they gained during the pre-season. 

Once you get to where you are IN-season add to your cardio  based upon your competition goals (are you planning to run a road race?  compete in figure?  compete in some other sporting event?)  The key to being a success during the in season training period is to listen to your body and be sure to realize the goal is to peak for the post season…in season is important, but not your final destination.  You want to stay healthy to have your best performances when it counts!

The biggest downfall during this season is that most individuals they strive to do too much training, specifically cardio-  instead of getting “buff” these women get exhausted, moody, injured, sick, weaker and HUNGRY!! They are destined for failure because they are approaching their training with a short sighted goal in mind- to simply lose weight….cardio is very boring and taxing on your body- being able to do a lot consistently  is not a realistic goal and too much to expect of your body to endure.  It’s important to look at the big picture of your training program.  This season can range from 1 month to 6 months in duration.

My fitness prescription for in-season:
Shift your workouts to predominantly your sport- for example:

If you are a 5K road racer:

run 4-6 days a week, integrating sprints/fast speed work 1 day/week, 1 longer slightly slower than race paced run, 2 interval runs (running 1 min at race pace of slightly faster followed by 1 min at a recovery pace) right at race distance.

Lift- 2-3 days a week- your goal is to maintain muscle mass gained during pre-season

If you are a figure competitor:

lift 5-6 days a week-
cardio- do 3-4 intervals/week after lifting workouts
posing- daily
diet= goal is to stay lean and ripped- keep calories/carbs at maintenance levels.

“Post Season”:
This is the Olympics, Nationals, SUPER BOWL, CHAMPIONSHIP time!! It’s time to push yourself to the edge of your capabilities.  This is the time to shine.  It’s when competitors use strategies to peak.  Depending on your sport you will have changes in diet and activity level.  To peak for a race athletes use tapering in training and carb loading in their diet. To peak for a physique contest competitors add fasted cardio, carb deplete and dehydrate.  It’s GO time, time to pull out all the stops.  This is a very short season- typically no longer than 1-2 weeks in duration.
“Off Season”:

Recovery time! It’s the time after post season to when a body simply needs rest.  The mind needs rest also…it’s time to recharge desire and focus.  No one can go all out all the time…every person needs rest and vacation from the demands of life.  Athletes are no different.  The mental toll of training wears a person down in mind body and spirit.  Training and diet at this time should be very relaxed if not all together forbidden.  This season can last from 1 week to 3 months in duration.

What season are you in now?  have you ever taken a “seasonal” approach to your healthy lifestyle?  I encourage you to examine your training and adjusts it to a “seasonal” training system.  Your mind, body and soul will benefit from the added structure to your training.

Happy Training my athlete friends,


p.s. here’s my workouts for the past 2 days~

Last night I got in a good short upper body workout with my hubby:

Chest press 3 sets
Seated rows
Bench press
Lat pulls

Then I ran intervals on the tready- 6mph for the easy mins and 8mph for the hard mins- I was dying!  My breathing was greatly affected by my time off and allergies.  I made it 18 mins then walked for a cool down.  My ankle feels better every day!!! YES!!  I plan to go to football practice for the first time in 3 weeks on Wednesday!!

Today I did legs- not the longest workout either, but It was a good one!
Warm up r-bike 10 mins
STRETCHING between sets and hip rotation exercises too

Dead Lifts

Seated Calf raises 45×20 reps x3 sets, 70x15x2sets — various foot positions being careful with ankle

45 degreee hack squat- 2 sets of 30 reps (just machine for resistance)

Leg curls 70×10, 75x10x2sets

Leg extensions 110×10, 130×10, 150×10

then it was time to get home for the kids…

It is beautiful here and Gunner is currently working on mowing, trimming and fertilizing my yard!! I love having a boy slave, lol!! I have yet to take my after photos for the SSS- gonna try to get them done now 🙂

Have a great day!!




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