How Athletes are Recharging Outdoors in the Off Season

September 28, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Tia-Clair Toomey
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In the sport of fitness, the off-season has long been a time when athletes began drilling in on their weaknesses and working on things they needed to improve for the upcoming season. However, for many athletes, it’s also a time to explore new elements of their fitness and passions as they take their focus away from training.

One big thing: One of the key pillars of CrossFit is not only being prepared for the unknown and unknowable but also being able to utilize your fitness outside the four walls of the gym. 

  • For athletes at the highest level, the off-season is the perfect time to put that into practice as well as mentally reset from the rigours of the Games training. 

Alec Smith finishes a triathlon: CrossFit Games athlete Alec Smith has long been known for his gymnastics skills, but this year he decided he would test his endurance in the off-season.

  • In early September, Smith completed his first triathlon in his home state of Virginia.
  • “I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t know how much fun I would have,” Smith said in an Instagram post following the event.
  • While Smith admitted that he struggled with the road biking aspect, giving kudos to the 50-year-old woman who blew by him mid-race, he also ran a near sub 20 minute 5k.
  • “Can’t wait for the next one!” he continued. “Maybe I’ll blend in a bit more instead of sticking out like a sore thumb with all my CrossFit gear. Or not!” 

Tia-Clair Toomey kicks off her bobsled season: In 2016, Toomey qualified for the Olympics in weightlifting, but her Olympic run is not done yet.

  • This year, Toomey joins the ranks of CrossFit Games veterans who have joined their country’s bobsled teams, including Blaine McConnell, James Newbury, Colleen Fotsch, and Kelsey Kiel.
  • Just over a month after her historic victory at the 2021 CrossFit Games, Toomey announced via Instagram that her bobsled season would be starting.
  • She joins the rest of her team in Lake Placid, New York as they prepare for the World Cup in November.
  • If Toomey qualifies for the upcoming winter Olympics in bobsled, this will be the second Olympic Games she has competed at in the off-season of CrossFit, the first being her Olympic Weightlifting debut in 2016.

Regan Huckaby goes hunting: Up in the deep woods of the Pacific Northwest, individual and team Games veteran, Regan Huckaby, has utilized her off-season time to take up bow hunting.

  • “It’s been a GRIND. A straight obsession,” she said in an Instagram post.
  • “From sun up to sundown, you spend every waking moment thinking about the animals’ behaviors, patterns, when you’ll see them, where they went, etc….it’s so intriguing,” she added.
  • “More than anything, I realize this time has become my personal journey of discovery – a respite for reflection and renewal,” Huckaby concluded.

Patrick Vellner heads off into the mountains: A little bit further North, Patrick Vellner also headed into the mountains for five days of hiking and biking, or as he called it in an Instagram post, “5 days of blood, sweat, and gears”.

  • “We ground out 6-7 hours a day of hiking and biking to see who would crack first, but we all made it out,” Vellner said in his Instagram post.
  • “I’ll admit, I had no business being on some of those pitches and I took a few headers, but it was one hell of a ride and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he concluded.

The big picture: As the season comes to a close, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the sheer athletic phenoms that these athletes are. During the season, they dedicate their entire lives to training and recovery and it’s easy to forget that the fitness and capabilities of these athletes spreads so much further beyond the coliseum floor. From bobsledding to mountain biking, these athletes are proving the importance of getting outside and using your fitness in every way you can. 

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