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4 reasons to do a holiday training camp

— By Michael Liberzon

A great deal of priorities compete for our attention during the winter holidays. Your triathlon fitness, however, is likely not one of them. Pools run on holiday hours. It’s typically too cold or snowy for quality riding. Even running can be a chore. Finding the motivation to keep training rolling during this time is not easy. One solution: enroll in a holiday training camp!

Camps in general are great for a whole slew of reasons. Here are four that are specific to the holidays.


  • Keep your training momentum


Ask just about any coach, and they’ll tell you that consistency in training is the number one predictor of success in our sport. While injury and illness are the number one and two enemies of consistency, lack of motivation is number three. For many of us motivation, while easy to find, is often easy to lose too. So an extended training hiatus – like the one that most take during the holidays – often leads to a loss of motivation, loss of momentum, and a subsequent lack of consistency. Filling that activity gap with a training camp is a solid way to keep your training on the front burner.


  • Start your year right


Many triathletes wait for January 1st. As if that date has been preternaturally imbued with the pixie dust of goal achievement. By starting a week early, you get the jump on the competition. Plus, a group environment is super motivational. By training with your friends and fellow athletes, you set yourself up for success down the road.


  • Make use of your spare time


Many of us have a little more flexibility in our work schedules during the space between Christmas and New Year’s. Filling some of that space with training (along with turkey) is a great way to sneak in some fitness gains.

A camp is a good opportunity to focus on a weaker sport. The concentrated dose of training afforded by a block of the same sport has been shown to be quite effective at improving performance. Immersion of this sort affects both the mental aspect of performance as well as the physical.


  • Food craving moderation


The holidays are a true test for impulse control! The number one means for which – controlling one’s environment – is made all the more difficult by the endless holiday parties, family dinners, and the non-stop parade of cupcakes that Bill from HR and Debbie from accounting are bringing to the office. Don’t they know that we have race weight to make?

Dr. Stephan Guyenet reports that physical activity can affect the brain’s ‘lipostat’ lowering the natural setpoint for body fat storage. One mechanism for this is thought to be craving control. So it is possible that training through the holidays can help bolster our willpower in the face of the unavoidable caloric onslaught.

Looking for a training camp in the Toronto area? The X3 Training Lab will host a 4-day even, December 26th – 29th at 253 Broadview Avenue. Each day will include a workout plus a seminar on topics ranging from sport nutrition to injury prevention.