From October 28th 2013 to January 6th 2014 I had my first No Season. That’s 10 weeks without training or training goals. Here is my report.
What did I do for physical activity?
- The only trick I threw was one backflip because someone asked me too. That’s it.
- I didn’t stretch.
- I didn’t do a single deadlift.
- I did maybe two “workouts” that had squats? Other than that I didn’t train my legs, at all.
- I did a couple short upper body workouts each week. I focused on getting a pump.
- I rollerbladed a few times.
- I went for a few walks.
What did I eat?
- I ate the foods I usually eat. Lots of healthy foods. High protein.
- I still took basic supplements like amino acids and some vitamin/minerals.
- I cut back on stimulants because I didn’t need them.
- Instead of eating my usual 6 meals a day, I sometimes would only eat 3.
- I ate junk food in moderation. Mayo. Cookies. Chips.
- I drank a a little wine.
- I put cream and sugar in my coffee.
What I did instead of training:
- I got a headstart on this website and made some videos.
- I reorganized just about everything in my life.
- I learned some new kitchen tricks and upgraded my food prep skills.
- I learned keyboard shortcuts.
- I spent more time with family and friends.
- I had lots of non-training fun!
How I felt during No Season
A month into No Season and I was racing up stairs, dancing, running, jumping, and playing like a child. I had the energy of a 2 year old again. I didn’t realize for the past 2 years I was dragging around with chronic fatigue. I didn’t realize the fatigue I felt around 3 PM everyday wasn’t natural: this afternoon fatigue diminished during No Season. I had energy most of the day. It took about a month to really feel all of this energy, vitality and excitement. This was something a back off week never did for me.
My appetite plummeted. This is why I lost a little weight. When you go from training hard everyday toward a training goal to training sort-of-hard a couple times a week just for fun, your metabolism drops significantly. You just aren’t as hungry as a regular trainer. That was convenient.
Mentally, I was happy to work on things other than training of course. But like anybody who’s been training for a long time, it’s hard to convince yourself you don’t care about maintaining your training stats. This is sort of why I didn’t deadlift or trick, I didn’t want to see how much they could have possibly dropped. Kind of like not looking into your bank account when you are spending a lot of money, you don’t want to face reality…
After about a month my body had kind of saturated itself with the No Season physical recovery process. It didn’t get better after that first month’s worth of easy activity and rest.
Reality: My first month training after No Season
Bad stuff: My average deadlift and bench press maxes (not my personal record maxes) both dropped about 10%. That’s huge. I mean, the first time I deadlifted after No Season I couldn’t pull 500 lbs, which for me, is a weight I’ve owned for 6 years now. I was also a little stiff. My tricks went to hell of course, I couldn’t do a backflip without my ankle and knees crying out the first session back. My body weight dropped about 2%, because I wasn’t eating as much. I stopped tanning so I became pale. Some of my training aches and pains came back!
Regains: My second month training after No Season
Good stuff: It took only one tricking session a week for a month to feel comfortable tricking again. It took a couple deadlifting sessions to get my deadlift back where it was. It seemed most of my losses were technical amnesia from lack of practicing the movements. My physique looked great, much fuller and less flat only after a couple weeks back from the nothing with regular, daily training and a regular eating schedule. All in all I regained all that I had “lost” after only one month of resuming normal training life.
My impression after No Season:
Did I just get away with 2 months of easy street? Is muscle memory, nervous memory, body memory really this awesome? Yes. I think it is. Why haven’t I been doing this every year for the past 10 years?
The thing that surprised me the most about No Season
The thing that surprised me the most, actually, was discovering how healthy tricking is for the body. As a disclaimer, I mean regular, moderate, intelligent tricking. I always thought tricking was destructive to the body and that you just had to damage control your way to tricking longevity. Not the case. Now I understand that tricking itself can become a key to longevity proper. Those first few tricking sessions back after No Season, oh how much stability I had lost in my ankles! My knees! My lower back! Ouch! Everything hurt, everything felt fragile. I thought not tricking would have given my body the chance for restoration. I thought I’d come back feeling better. No. No. No! Instead I had a weakened network of support. A few tricking sessions later at a session per week and I noticed those weaknesses reversing significantly, I noticed pain reduction.
You heard it here first:
- Tricking is HEALTHY for your body.
- Tricking BUILDS your joints and connective tissues.
- Tricking makes you YOUTHFUL!
Jeeze! Awesome! I love tricking!
The two things I would do different next no season:
First, I will plan for it weeks in advance. This time I didn’t do that. About the time I had the idea for a No Season I just went full into it because the timing was right. So I was trying to determine all the details about what it was that I was going to do with my free time when I already had my free time. So next time I’ll determine those things before I begin No Season.
Second, I will gradually transition into and out of No Season. The reason I will do this is because typically after a back off week or two we recuperate significantly, so we can peak our athletic capabilities. Why do you think athletes deload and take breaks before competition? It’s because it helps them operate at peak performance. Next time I begin No Season, I will be able to get a few more awesome, film-worthy training sessions a few weeks into it, before I go too far deep into No Season. I didn’t do that this time and missed out on the opportunity that a deload presents for peak performance. Then, coming out of No Season, I will gradually transition back into training. I couldn’t make a “hard switch” this time from NO TRAINING to TRAINING, it didn’t work… so I will transition into and out of No Season gradually over the 2 month No Season time allotment.
My next No Season:
So this was my No Season for the end of 2013. Next year I’ll announce my plans and report my No Season results for the end of 2014 when it comes. Until then, back to training!