Training is intense, and everyone is laser-focused in the heat of every session.
Making sure you put the right amount of quality work into your craft is crucial to your success, but a lot of people tend to overlook the part that comes after training.
Your workout does not end when you have finished stretching after the last set. In fact, for ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera, cooling down is just as important as everything else.
Try Out Floatation Therapy
Imagine yourself in a light and sound-proof pod, floating weightlessly in a warm epsom salt bath. Your body will feel like it is floating on a cloud. You cannot see anything in the pitch blackness, and the only sounds you can hear are your own breathing and the beating of your heart.
Floatation Therapy removes you from the busy world, and allows you to tune in to your own body for an extended period of time. The effects of such treatment are profound, and known to help induce a feeling of zen and relaxation the likes of which you have never experienced before.
Vera suggests trying this new-age treatment, even if just to find a way to relieve yourself from the stresses of everyday life.
“A way I like to relax after a long training session is going to floatation therapy, also known as sensory deprivation,” the champion says. “It is for sure one of my favorite therapy treatments that I have done in my life.”
Give Your Mind A Break
Perhaps more than a physical break from training, everyone needs a mental recess too. Giving yourself time to collect your thoughts and clear your mind is important to keeping yourself motivated and focused.
To do this, Vera says he likes to take a step back, and contemplate his decisions in reflection. An athlete’s mental state plays a significant role in training. It improves the quality of work put in and the results that come after. A sound mind often produces incredible athletic performances.
Aside from just clearing his head, Vera likes to play video games, and relax in the comfort of his own home.
“Sometimes I just lay there on the mat contemplating everything from life, like why do I keep doing this? After I gather my thoughts, I shower, then drink a protein shake, and usually head home,” he says.
“I like to sit in my zero gravity chair and watch anime or play “Clash of Clans,” all while my fiancee is making me breakfast, lunch, or dinner.”
Do Something Fun Outdoors
Even when Vera takes a break from his training regimen, he is still somewhat active. When he is feeling particularly energetic, the world heavyweight world champion likes to spend his time outdoors, away from the confines of the gym.
“On an active rest day, we would usually go skateboarding with our dogs in Balboa Park, Silverstrand, or even take them to the beach,” he says.
Removing yourself from the gym at times helps reset the mind, and prevents the bland repetitiveness of most training programs. Experiencing the outdoors is one of the best ways to unwind and get a light workout in, even if you are supposed to be resting.
“Do something fun. Try out a new sport, or just take in the nature. There are tons of new places you have probably yet to discover. So go for a walk maybe, breathe in the fresh air, and get that blood circulating,” he says.
Get The Best Quality Sleep
Believe it or not, one of Vera’s favorite parts of training is going to bed and catching 40 winks.
“50 percent of your camp is sleep. If you are not getting quality sleep, then you are not getting quality training,” he says.
Sleep, of course, is important to muscle recovery and your overall recuperation. Some training programs even require you to take melatonin supplements to ensure you are getting enough quality rest each night.
“My best piece of advice is buy yourself the best mattress you can right now! And every time you can, upgrade until you get to the one,” Vera says. “I usually take a lot of naps throughout the day, because I only sleep a few hours throughout the night. I often wake up thinking of a match, or am worried about training.”
Listen to Your Body
Lastly, Vera says to pay attention to how you are feeling.
You alone know exactly how much more you can do, if you can power through that last set or that final round on the pads. Or even if you haven’t had enough, listening to your own body is important to know when to start pulling back.
“This is something that you have to learn with experience, but it is probably one of the top five things you should be aware of all time,” he states “Listen to your body, listen to your coaches. If something does not feel right, stop!”
Vera, however, explains that knowing when to stop is completely different from stopping while knowing you can still continue.
“It is not an excuse to escape your strength and conditioning session that day,” he warns. “Rather, just pay attention to your body, please. You only have one. And you can only replace your parts so many times.”