Welcome to the Post-Training Camp Life
You have just completed a training camp for a big sporting event and you did exactly what you set out to do. The time following a training camp is exceedingly important, especially if you are planning on competing, again, in the future. While it is perfectly fine to indulge after your big event, one must be careful not to allow that one indulgence transform into a habit; you just spent weeks, maybe months, of hard training to get your body to peak, and it would be a great shame to lose all of that hard work to be cancelled out by donuts or chocolate cake. This is a common problem for recreational athletes, and also collegiate and professional athletes. For example, after handing Sugar Ray Leonard his first professional loss, it is rumored that Roberto Duran may have gained about 50 pounds after the fight; what came next was the infamous “No Mas” moments, that resulted in Leonard regaining the title.
I know what you are going to ask—if even a professional prizefighter can fall off the wagon, what steps ought to be taken to prevent that from happening? Well, the answer for me is possibly 100% different from what may work for you, but there are some points that can be applied to the general population. For one, it is always a good idea to allow your body to rest and relax following your event. Now, please do not take this as my blessing to a Netflix marathon week; as amazing as that sounds, we must be sure to keep our bodies moving. Personally, walking and hiking are my favorite workouts after an event because they are not overly strenuous and I get to catch an abundance of rays from the Sun. Additionally, swimming, surfing, kayaking, etc. are also spectacular choices. The choice is completely yours! Again, just be sure to taper down on the intensity to allow your body to heal—as much as I love running hill sprints, running them the day after achieving a new personal record on a half marathon would not be ideal.
Another important factor to consider is that four-letter word—DIET! As mentioned earlier, letting yourself indulge for a celebration meal following your event is perfectly fine because you earned it. However, those indulgences can easily transform into bad habits—this happens to the best of us, myself included. While the diet does not have to be quite as strict as it is during your training camp, keeping it clean will always prove beneficial. If you plan on competing in another event in the future, maintaining healthy eating habits should be a no-brainer because the transition to the stricter training camp diet will be far easier. And if you think that was the last time you compete in an event, you should maintain healthy eating habits for your personal health. The same also goes for those that may or may not compete, again. In the end, healthy eating habits are always recommended, regardless if one is an athlete or not.
For those that may have already had that indulgence become a habit, you are going to have to work a little harder to get rid of that bad habit. As always, there are many, many methods one can adopt to improve his/her eating habits, such as writing down the goals or signing up for another event. Whatever you do, remain committed and maintain full accountability for your eating choices.
In the end, although the training intensity has lightened up and diet restrictions have relaxed after a training camp, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is always a good idea. By keeping your body moving and eating healthy foods, transitioning back into training mode will be far easier for you than the guy who spent weeks catching up to his favorite shows and eating chips just prior to starting up a new training camp.