There is nothing quite like the damper of a summer workout packet. Every athlete can relate. Just before you head off to your well-deserved rest and relaxation time, your coach hands you “The Packet.” The 8.5” by 11” stapled stack of H – E – double hockey sticks that is filled top to bottom with exercises, drills, eating tips, and of course, running sessions. Hint #1: Do not be fooled when coaches try to brighten up The Packet with beach themed clip art to make it look less threatening. They are still threatening you. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in the importance of staying fit in the summer months to prepare for season, but I do want to shed some light into the athlete’s mind during “off” time.
The only thing “off” about an athlete’s vacation is that you can complete the workouts on your own time. The ‘night owl athlete’ basks in their ability to sleep in late and wake up at their leisure so the thought of exercising doesn’t even really happen until about 2pm. It is also important to note the dreaded moment just before your body and mind awake into full consciousness after a peaceful slumber and you believe for a second that your summer day is filled with endless possibility. Until, you are forced to confront the “when should I complete my workout” battle in your mind and the bliss is ruined. At the other end, the ‘early bird athlete’ tucks in at a decent hour and wakes up early to complete the packet so that the day can be filled with summer fun. But only the strong make it the entire day without a catnap on the couch to revive some energy. There are also the ‘tweener athletes’ that have no rhyme or reason to when they workout, which is proudly where I find myself. It could be 8pm when I finally hit the gym, but guess what? I can still successfully check that day off the list. Hint #2: (For night owls and tweeners) Never be influenced by your teammates on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram who have already finished the work out and cant stop talking about how they were killed by it. Turn off your phone, and enjoy your day.
Hint #3: Don’t let the short length of what is written on The Packet fool you as being an easy one to finish. The sessions that look short and “cute” on paper will usually find you an hour and a half later with burning quads and a temptation to wave the white flag.
Hint #4: It is impossible for parents to understand The Packet so you must be considerate. As discussed, the timing of your workout is already a very sensitive subject, but rest assured someone in your family will see you sitting on the couch and naively ask, “What’s your workout today?” Another common occurrence (mainly for female athletes) is when you finally allow yourself to indulge in the sugary/salty goodness of all that is fat, without any guilt, and you hear, “Wow! You are really enjoying that.” At first, the statement is seemingly harmless because, yes you are really enjoying the deliciousness. But then, you uncontrollably become offended and feel that you need to defend yourself. “Seriously!” you return, “I never get to eat this during training so it’s ok that I am eating this now!!!”
Hint #5: Friends who are not involved with sports will have an issue with The Packet during summer months. Someone in your life will always ask the offhanded question “Well, how long will it take you?” As if they are inconvenienced/offended that your mandatory packet is also putting a damper on their summer plans, and they don’t even have to suffer through it! They are usually non-athletes who can’t really understand the burden they have now placed on the athlete. It isn’t like we can just roll into the gym, jump on the treadmill for 20 mins and walk out. The Packet requires an extensive plan. One that is filled with hydration, mental readiness, complete muscle warm up, full and successful execution of the exercise, and lastly, a full cool down routine that allows our body to recover for tomorrow’s death. So when we respond, “Two hours or so.” The non-athlete strongly considers dismissing the plans… or you from the plans.
I hope you find these hints to The Summer Workout Packet helpful! Feel free to add some hints below…