When you return from your ski holiday, it’s a shame to let your ski fitness slide (pun intended!), only to have to build it back up again next time you go away – so why not stay ski-fit off-season?
Most of us will have a general fitness regime we keep up (or at least try to!) all year round, and if you’re a regular skier, it makes sense to incorporate activities that will ensure you maintain a constant level of ski fitness throughout the off-season, so you’re always ready to get the most out of your next ski fix.
To help you keep your ski fitness all year long, Skiplex & X-Life have created a dedicated Ski Fit zone alongside the ski slopes at the Reading centre. Run by our Expert Instructor, Race Coach, Master Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, Bruce Thompson, X-Life @ Skiplex gives you access to a range of private and group PT sessions to help you stay in peak condition.
Bruce explains why keeping in shape during the off-season is so important.
I’m a skier, surfer, kite-surfer and mountain biker, and in my experience I’ve found that besides the obvious health benefits, there are plenty of other reasons why staying in good condition is vital to my continued enjoyment of these activities:
To help avoid DOMS
Fitness levels deteriorate surprisingly quickly! Even after just a couple of weeks’ break from any particular activity, I’ve personally experienced (on more occasions than I care to remember) extreme cases of DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) for up to a week following a re-introduction into sport. See X-Life’s Tips to Avoiding DOMS here…
Ok, anyone who knows me will testify that I’m referring to instances of pretty heavy and prolonged sessions here, but imagine if you were affected for the first few days of the ski-trip-of-a-lifetime – perhaps your first ever heli-trip – because you neglected to prepare fully. Imagine missing out even for a second, simply because you hadn’t prioritised your off-season fitness regime!
To sustain & improve performance
A good level of fitness doesn’t just insure against sore muscles and stiff limbs, it can also aid in the acquisition and maintenance of new (and acquired) motor skills to sustain performance or reach that next level. If you’re predominantly and actively avoiding any particular movement due to soreness, it’s certain to have an impact on your ability, fluidity and level of competence.
In Canadian (CSIA) Ski Methodology, there are four levels of skill: Acquisition, Consolidation, Refinement and Creative Variability. The aim of not just the Canadian Instructor, but also the athlete is to learn (or vary) a skill and practice it enough so that a state of ‘unconscious competence’ is reached, in which the skier no longer needs to think about an action to be able to perform it perfectly. Muscle memory requires 1,500 repetitions of a near-perfect movement – or one very similar to the last iteration of it. So moving from one skill level to the next involves a certain amount of cognition, blended with the activity of learning the new motor skills involved with that goal, in order to translate the thought into a physical movement, which is clearly directly related to physical fitness.
In a mental sense, physical fatigue can clearly hinder the process of not just maintaining, practicing or acquiring the [new] motor skill, but also that of perfecting it! We all know how being mentally tired can affect our physical performance…
To build endurance
Which would you prefer: to be able to ski all day at a pace that suits you, endlessly enjoying Mother Nature’s wintry gifts – or being held back by sore – not to mention burning – legs, continuously fighting to keep up with your snow buddies – or worse still, your kids?!
We all know how frustrating it can be to finally catch up with the group – wheezing and with legs on fire, only for them to briefly acknowledge your arrival and slide off once more, leaving you playing catch-up again, this time even more fatigued! What does that do for your lactic acid levels, your aching muscles…and your mood?!
To help prevent injury
The stronger you are, the less likely it is that you’ll suffer injuries through physical exertion. It’s the reason why we’re referred to a physiotherapist following any kind of injury or surgery. I remember a friend being told by a surgeon once that she couldn’t have her knee reconstruction performed until she’d strengthened her knee, as the recovery rate and intensity would be impacted negatively unless the joint was as strong as possible before operating. I experienced this myself when I re-injured a recently reconstructed shoulder. My second recovery period was hellish compared to the first (which was certainly no walk in the park). The muscle wastage following the first surgery made the second recovery so much slower than it needed to be and it took many months of painful physio before any kind of strength returned.
There’s no question in my mind; good fitness leads to stronger joints, which in turn lead to less severe injury, even complete injury prevention – full stop!
To boost energy, confidence & wellbeing!
Keeping fit and healthy impacts onto all of these areas – essential for getting the most out of your next ski experience – ‘nuff said!
Stay Ski Fit With X-Life @ Skiplex
X-Life @ Skiplex specialises in extreme sports and ski-specific training, coaching, conditioning and fitness. Classes include Shaun T’s Insanity Live! and X-life’s very own brand of Ski HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) classes – both offer a total-body HIIT session for small groups of up to ten people. Without using weights or gym equipment, these classes are primed to whip you into shape in a matter of weeks, and if you’ve recently returned from a ski holiday, they’re a great social, fun and challenging way to hold on to your ski fitness!
Running three evenings per week, the classes can be delivered as one-off sessions, or as a 6 week program of up to three sessions per week, – perfect to start in summer for anyone needing a quick, effective and sure-fire way of getting supremely fit for the beginning of the next ski season.
The benefit of a program means that you can also take advantage of a full-on Body Composition Analysis (BCA), followed up with an Exercise & Nutrition Consultation and coaching session. There’s also the possibility of an upgrade to the BCA in which we perform 4 blood analyses from a single pin prick sample. When repeated on a regular basis, these comprehensive tests and BCA’s allow for real results to be quantified and tracked – you’ll KNOW you’re making progress because we’ll prove it!
The social aspect of a small group program also provides the third, all-important, pillar of any successful fitness formula; accountability. It’s all well-and-good addressing your exercise and nutrition, but without accountability, most people are doomed to failure…How many diets or failed programs have you ever tried? This article explains why diets don’t work.
But our specialism is creating bespoke ski-specific PT programs. Through a tailored programme incorporating cardiovascular exercise, resistance, balance, agility, speed and strength training, together with optional video analysis – and Bruce’s keen eye for detail – your weaknesses become strengths, providing increased and sustained off-season fitness that WILL improve your on-season performance – GUARANTEED!
Focusing on your off-season fitness will pay dividends next time you hit the white stuff. Take the first step to year-round ski fitness. Contact Bruce now to arrange your Ski Fit package!
…And coming to Skiplex soon…The Yoga & Pilates Clinic
We’re excited to announce that you will soon be able to enjoy Yoga and Pilates at Skiplex! Yoga can help keep muscles supple, prevent injury and increase endurance; it’s great for stretching out tired muscles in preparation for – or recovery from – skiing all day, and its meditative qualities make it good for mind as well as body.
Pilates too is an ideal activity to complement skiing, ensuring proper functional movement, eliminating unnecessary strain, and strengthening where needed.
One of the clinic’s guest instructors, Charlotte Wiseman, is an accredited Yoga Alliance and Anusara Elements teacher with 16 years experience practising yoga and 25 years experience on the snow as a skier and snowboarder. She currently lives between Verbier and London working with athletes including members of the GB Olympic team and the GB adaptive ski team.
She has experience in Anusara Yoga, Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Embodied Flow and Inner Axis methods as well as additional training in Functional Movement for Athletes and working with injuries.
Charlotte’s classes will be alignment focused to ensure stability from the core to the tip of your skis. Expect flowing sequences to improve flexibility, strengthen your entire body and challenge you so that you are ready for the season ahead.
More news on the Yoga & Pilates Clinic at Skiplex coming soon…
Watch this space for more information!