So far, this off-season has been both productive and rejuvenating. With an extra few hours in the day- time which would have usually been spent on court- I knew that somewhat neglected areas of off-court training would need to be addressed.
My main areas of focus were:
– Mental (focus, clarity)
You’ll notice that these are very general topics, none of which directly relate to on-court training. This is intentional, as I’ve really enjoyed delving into the finer points of nutrition (hello, Keto diet), writing and completing a periodized conditioning program, using HeadSpace to meditate, and allowing myself to get more sleep. One of the tools that I invested in, which has been a huge help is Heart Rate Variability. I’ll discuss more in another post, as it’ll be a rather lengthy-sciency-ish topic.
In a nutshell, I’ve been able to use the mental energy I was expending on the squash court towards these other areas of focus. My goal is to solidify my “foundation”- high level of conditioning, precise nutrition, restful sleep, ability to focus better, proper breathing- in order to train and ultimately compete as my best self…repeatedly.
I’m pleased to say that so far, everything has been improving, and I’ve been seeing great results. My conditioning has improved, as I’ve been consistently chipping away at the program and tracking my heart rate throughout workouts. I’ve sought out professional help with regards to nutrition, and have so far lost about 6-8 lbs, feeling much less bloated and more energetic. My body has been able to take the extra hour, or hour and a half of sleep it needs most days per week. I feel more motivated to train, work, and learn. My breathing is finally better, although it did take two full weeks post season before I saw improvements. (When I get stressed, especially over long periods of time, I turn into a shallow breather, and am unable to take deep breaths. It’s very annoying and debilitating!).
The next phase of my conditioning program started yesterday, and while it is much more intense, I feel ready and motivated to begin. In a couple of weeks I will start to reintroduce squash (on-court training), but I plan to spend most of my time and energy off court for the remainder of June. My season won’t start up again until September, so that gives me a good two months of solid work on-court to get back into it.
That’s all I’ve got for today! More posts to come soon regarding the specifics of my conditioning, nutrition, and mental programs.