What is a No Season?
A season with “No” training!
What? No training? For how long?
2 months. Do you have the courage to do it?
Isn’t this just an Off Season?
Off Season still has training, but the training modalities are changed and emphasis is placed on things other than the primary activity. In tricking, typical Off Season training takes place in the weight room, which can be just as intense as tricking. Others use Off Season for things like bulking or fixing injuries. The No Season is none of these, it has no training.
What is the purpose of this?
So you can improve something else in your life.
What if training is my life?
Training is not your life. Training can become the most important thing in your life, sure, but you still have to cook, eat, poop, sleep, get educated, earn money, run errands, shop, travel, write and read, e-mail, google something, clean, organize, find a place to live, maintain your living environment, find a mate, have friends and family, fix broken things, capture pokemon. Collectively, all of these things and more constitute your training support system.
Improving these other things improves your training support system which will improve your training. Sometimes dramatically. The flipside is true too. If one or more of these things is chronically awry, it can interfere with your training. Sometimes dramatically.
So strictly focusing on non-training stuff for an uninterrupted block of time creates significant, and long lasting positive changes in your training support system, which will do wonders for your long term prospects of succeeding with your training goals.
Thus, the purpose of the No Season is to improve your life, which improves your training support system, which inevitably improves your training in the long run.
Why not just use your free time aside from training to manage and improve these other aspects of your life?
Because time, energy and will are limited resources. No deity, drug, or self help book can change that fact. Training, with all its preparation, exertion, and clean up still takes more of these resources than we think:
- 10 minutes to gather stuff for the gym.
- 15 minutes to travel to the gym.
- 5 minutes to enter the gym, pee, and claim your spot.
- 15 minutes to warm up.
- 60 minutes to train.
- 25 minutes to clean up, chat, pee, wash hands, and go home.
- 15 minutes to shower, change, and unpack.
- 5 minutes to sit on a couch to space out.
- 2 ½ hours total time
Other aspects of our life won’t benefit much from the scraps of time, energy and will we have left after training and all of its preparations. It’s not a No Season unless we say “No” to training.
Why not just temporarily lower your training amount instead of dropping it altogether?
That’s maintenance training, which by definition means you have a training goal of maintaining your current level of performance. It’s still a training goal, and training goals still distract and drain us from the purpose of the “No” Season. Seriously, it takes real courage to just drop training and its goals altogether for a month or two. It’s scary. You have to get over the fear and discomfort of living without training in order to make the most awesome enhancements in your training support system.
Can I do any physical activity during No Season?!
Absolutely! Now it becomes a discussion of semantics. You see, maintenance training is totally different than going for a quick jog, or dicking around in the squat rack until you get bored. Or throwing some tricks for awhile until it’s no longer fun.
Maintenance training implies you are working towards something, but the latter implies you are using physical activity to “work out” something. Working out is fun and will refresh you and help alleviate restlessness while you work on your non-training, No Season goals.
Cool! So how many times can I work out per week during No Season?
3 short workouts per week that do not incapacitate you. So no 20 rep squat sessions till you puke or marathon tricking sessions that vegetize you for two days straight… Just chill: 3 moderate and fun sessions each week. And do whatever activity you want.
Is that enough?
Enough what? Enough training to maintain years worth of gains? No it’s not. Enough physical activity to stay healthy? No it’s not. This is why during No Season you should also pay attention to your NEPA.
NEPA (Non Exercise Physical Activity) is an acronym lazy people invented to justify skipping the gym, but the irony of its invention is that it’s not for lazy people. Ex: Instead of going to the gym to walk on the treadmill we don’t go to the gym: we mow the lawn. Instead of doing calisthenics: dynamic gardening. Instead of stretching: get in and out of stretched positions when we need to get or move things that are below us. Adults are obsessed with productivity, and this obsession cannot be banished. Ever. Not even in chronic marijuana users. So we just have to honor our obsession with productivity and embrace the NEPA concept when applicable.
So during No Season workout every third day day or so, and increase your NEPA by doing productive physical labor. Dance. Throw a frisbee. Run up stairs. Sneak cardio! This can help you keep your sanity during No Season, because training is fun, it’s passion, it’s a real joy and it’s hard to do a lot less of it than we’re used to. The NEPA will help keep you from getting restless and fidgety during No Season.
Why not take a back off week instead to work on your non-training goal?
Because back off weeks are not “No-weeks” they are “Recovery weeks” and putting effort into recovery is even more annoying than training. I hate recovery work it’s so boring!
Okay… So why not just take ONE week off as a “No” week instead of a whole freakin’ season?
If we take only one week of uninterrupted time off from training to work on other areas of our life, would the improvements we made during that one week be as significant, reliable or long lasting as the improvements we could have made if we took eight weeks off instead? One week of undivided attention on other aspects of our lives is simply not enough time to make really meaningful progress in any of them. It’s not enough time to get the ball rolling for positive, lasting changes to come out of the No Season.
Is it really okay to take more than 8 weeks off from training?
No you will die, but before you die you will suffer the loss of every single training gain you’ve ever made in your entire life. Even more than that! You will look like you’ve been hit by a couple rounds of chemotherapy when the 8 weeks is finished and move like a caesar salad. Cashiers will no longer smile at you.
Are there direct training benefits from a No Season?
Your connective tissues can regenerate quite a bit from a long break like this. Old injuries and chronic sorenesses can disappear too. Motivation to train will become freakishly high compared to the simple back off week. Bad technical habits you had with any of your tricks can disappear. You’ll have had time to reflect on your past In Seasons and come up with some new, better ideas and plans for next time. Your body can be restored to a point you never thought it could be restored to, albeit being a little under-trained.
I just started training, how long should I wait to do a No Season?
Have 3 years of consistent training and/or tricking under your belt. You’re a novice otherwise. As a novice, you need to learn to balance life with training. It’s a skill you don’t have yet. And you simply won’t have the psychological and physical fatigue baggage of someone whose been training harder and longer. For Novice, just take a back off week every few months. For those of us who’ve been training more than 3 years, the No Seasons becomes an attractive option.
So what should we do instead of training during the No Season?
Identify small, non-training projects and goals you have not made time for. Knock them out the first few weeks of the No Season. Here were a few of mine:
- Learn to film, capture, edit footage more efficiently.
- Make videos from all the footage I collected but hadn’t touched.
- Develop my training theories and ideas more (Ex: the No Season idea).
- Become more organized than I already am and,
- Figure out more efficient ways of doing everything.
Identify one large, non-training project. Something you really want. Something that in 3-6 years you can look back upon and say, “Damn, I’m glad I did that.” Here was mine:
- Start working on a new website (Acrobolix)
I had been thinking about Acrobolix for awhile. When I was 15 years old I made trickstutorials.com. It became a very important part of my life. At 27 years old, I wanted to try that again, so I first came up with the name and idea for Acrobolix during a gym workout.
With all the training I had been doing, 2-a-days and gatherings, and with a fulltime job, and a fulltime girlfriend, I simply wasn’t able to put in the concentration to get anything done with Acrobolix. So I took a No Season, and here you are reading this paragraph, thanks to the fact I decided a past afternoon to write, upload, and edit web pages instead of going to the gym and frying my CNS.
With a No Season, think of the possibilities, the freedom. What could you improve or create if you took 4-8 weeks, or more off from your training addiction? You’re free from training, you may use your high octane training energies towards other endeavors. What do you want to do? So with that, here is my report for my first No Season. Read it and let me know if you have any questions beyond this No Season Q&A!
report from this year?
btw I train only bodyweight in the summer for 2-3 months every year. Being an intermediate lifter, PR recovery takes about 12 weeks. I expect 20-25% strength loss depending on the lift
No report because I haven’t been taking no seasons. My situation is not usual. I now travel 50% of my “life” and my needs are constantly shifting. Because of this, there are too many weeks where I don’t have opportunities to “train” because everything is a performance, seminar, expo, or some other strange form of stressor… so I’m never at the point where I’m taxed from training, it’s the opposite, I’m now always at the point where I’m taxed to find ways to continue my “training” …
It’s been 5 years since this was written. I do like the idea but I also know how quickly the body can lose mass or whatever from my own experience of not being able to workout for a few weeks with heavy weights. What’s your thoughts ?on this now? I do think taking a short time off makes you really look forward to hitting it hard when you return to training.
I may plan a no-season after reading this. I have a car I’m building that has dragged on for 3.5 years now. A well planned no season may be just what I need to focus on it and get it finished. Losing skills during a no season is a big worry of mine though.
You said it exactly right when you said “well planned” because if you well plan it, it won’t be a big loss… Mine wasn’t planned well and it dragged on too long… and looking back it was a great decision I made because I’ve been back most of the year where I was before the loss, only I have this fun website now too and a bunch of other personal things taken care of during that time! ;-)