School’s done for another year (phew!). The sun’s out and there’s only a few more sleeps until Santa comes! Time to put your feet up, relax and enjoy the holidays, right?

But you’re an athlete. You like to train hard to get better. And if you take too much time off over summer your performance might regress.

Well, you’re right. Six weeks of doing nothing will send you backwards. The body needs regular stimulus to maintain skill, strength and fitness. So, if you want to hit the ground running in 2018, continuing to exercise over the holiday period is important.

However, so is taking some time out. Time to reflect on the year that’s been. Time to recharge, physically and mentally. And time to look ahead and contemplate your goals for next year.

So, to stay on track over the holidays and set up 2018 as your best sporting year yet, remember these 3 things:

  1. Prioritise Sleep

Use your holidays to catch up on sleep. It’s the number one factor in recovery, which means you’ll be primed and ready to charge ahead into 2018.

Since exams have finished, we’ve seen a noticeable change in all of our academy athletes. The often tired, sore, irritable, risk-adverse athletes during the school year have become bright and bubbly young people ready and willing to take on difficult challenges and work persistently to overcome them. As a result, they’re improving more quickly. Why? Less stress. And more sleep.

Good sleep hygiene starts with consistency. Going to bed at the same time each night keeps your body clock in sync, which increases the quality of your sleep. And instead of setting an alarm clock, let your body wake up naturally. You might find you’ll self-select just the right amount of sleep your body needs. Oh, and one more thing. Get off your phone at least 60 minutes before your head hits the pillow.

  1. Move for 60 Minutes Every Day

The holidays are a great time to relax, recharge and spend time catching up with your friends. However, doing nothing for 6 weeks will compromise the good work you’ve put in during the year. Thus, it’s important to keep up some sort of exercise.

Rather than committing to a structured regime that requires you to abide by specific times and intensities on a set schedule (which can be difficult during the holidays), try taking a more random approach with the simple aim of moving for 60 mins every day.

Accordingly, here are 10 activities you might like to try that will keep you fit and strong in a less than conventional way.

  1. Tree climbing

Targeted fitness components: Strength, Stability

  1. Slack-lining

Targeted fitness components: Strength, Balance, Stability

  1. Trail running / hiking

Targeted fitness components: Aerobic fitness, Leg strength

  1. Water-skiing

Targeted fitness components: Strength, Balance, Stability

  1. Beach [insert your favourite sport here, e.g., soccer]

Targeted fitness components: Skill, Aerobic fitness

  1. Open water swimming

Targeted fitness components: Aerobic fitness

  1. Rock climbing

Targeted fitness components: Strength, Balance, Stability

  1. Mountain biking

Targeted fitness components: Aerobic fitness, Balance, Stability

  1. Sea kayaking

Targeted fitness components: Upper body & Core strength, Aerobic fitness

  1. Street [insert your favourite sport here, e.g. basketball]

Targeted fitness components: Skill, Aerobic fitness

  1. Eat Well

Summer time is typically alive with festivities. Friends, family, beach time, and of course, great food. But for most of us, there’s a tendency to over indulge and abandon some old, but great advice for youth athletes; everything in moderation. So, for healthy summer nutrition, keep these three simple guidelines in mind:

  1. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
  2. Drink plenty of water (it’s hot out there!)
  3. Say no to fizzy drink (and anything else packed full of sugar)

Merry Christmas!

Be the best you can be,