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On Returning

Friends, it’s been a minute since I’ve written for this blog. Athletes On Stage’s social media has been fairly quiet, email newsletters have stopped, open classes went on hiatus, and while I was still training many folx one-on-one, I stopped taking new clients for a few weeks. Other Big Life Things - primarily caretaking for a dying parent, and the aftermath thereof - had to take priority for those weeks.

If I had to go back, I know I wouldn’t have chosen to spend that time differently.

But I have since returned to my own home, my own training space, and I’m getting back into my own routines - including training myself with more intensity, developing new skills, opening up space for new private clients, and happily, restarting open group strength & mobility class beginning in February.

Of course, as I’m excitedly redirecting my energy towards this work, I’m flooded with a thousand ideas of what Athletes On Stage will produce next: workshops on shoulder stability, on hip power and mobility, on physical recovery; companion programming/cross-training for each of the 8 SAFD weapons disciplines; programming to improve your vertical jumps; livestream Q&As with performer-oriented physical therapists; guides on intuitive eating for athletes... the list goes on. But I can’t do All Of These Things All At Once - or at least not well.

I feel the same way when I come back to training after a time away, whether it’s been because of a show that’s taken most of my energy or life things that need more attention. The excitement of suddenly having time to dedicate to extra training makes me want to simultaneously get better at fight work, and contortion, and hand balancing, and improve my overhead strict press, and decrease my 10k time, and and and...

Maybe you experience that, as well. Or maybe you’re the complete opposite - the great wall of Everything You Want To Do is so vast that you have no idea where to start, so instead of trying to do it all at once, you begin none of it. Neither approach, for the record, is particularly helpful in the long-term. Whatever your instinct, there IS some general guidance on returning to training in a way that is actually useful - be it foundational strength and conditioning training, or specific skill work.

  1. Start slow and work your way back in. For reference, we lose measurable markers of fitness in about twice the time it took us to develop them in the first place: if you started a workout plan mid-October and added 10 pounds to your bench press over the next month, but you haven’t worked out since Thanksgiving, those “new gains” are just about gone. It’s less straightforward with physical performance work, of course, because it’s not just muscular or cardiovascular development, but also muscle memory and your intellectual understanding of the mechanics of a skill, but suffice it to say: if you haven’t performed a specific skill in a while, you’re going to need to back off and do some foundation work before jumping in full-force.

  2. Dedicate time to recovery. Adding an activity like low-impact cardio and/or mobility work to your days off from your normal training routine will increase blood circulation, helping muscles to recover faster. You know the rest: getting enough sleep, enough water, and adequate protein when you’re increasing activity is also important.

  3. Remember that there’s nothing to get “back” to. Your body has changed - is always changing - and there’s quite literally no way to make it be the same thing it was two weeks, two months, or two years ago. But you can move it forward - you can regain skills that you’ve lost and more, you can rehabilitate injuries, you can gain strength, you can move more confidently and with greater ease - by putting in the work now, in the body you are in today. Everything that you have lived in the interim is a part of what makes you your own unique artist, and there is nothing to do now but take that - all of it - and work with it.

You are a mover. Movement and strength live in your body, and embracing and honing that will only serve your artistic practice. If you’d like some guidance, join Athletes On Stage for PWYC (including free!) strength and mobility classes on Saturday mornings, 10am ET, starting February 6th; and Monday evenings, 8pm ET, starting February 1st. That’s right - we’ve added a new class time!

I’m also now accepting private clients again. If class times don’t work for you, or if you want something more individualized, send an inquiry and we’ll schedule a time to chat. Click here for more information about both of those options.

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