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Instructor over-training

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
During the winter, I'm a ski instructor, so I work out most days on the hill (although many days aren't very challenging physically, they can be very challenging mentally). In addition to teaching skiing, I was trying to do additional exercise. I do a hard yoga class once a week. I attend ski training clinics (where we learn to improve our personal skiing) one to two times a week. I was also trying to use the SimpleFit workouts to increase my strength. All of this exercise was to put me closer to my long term goal of passing my Level 3 exam.

You can probably guess from all of the past tense verbs that I'm not there anymore. After working 3 weeks straight (of a 5 week marathon stretch), I hit a wall. I got a little sick, and mentally I couldn't take another workout. I didn't even want to read about other people working out. I've now had a few weeks of only part-time ski instructing and sitting around the house, so I'm starting to feel pretty good (as most of you know, ski schools go through relatively predictable, intense periods where volume grows so high that all days off are canceled). Sorry to ramble on but my question is this,

"How do you deal with fitness & over-training when exercise is part of your job?"

And for the instructors out there, "How do you fight late season burn-out?"

I'd appreciate people's thoughts on this. Thanks.
post #2 of 3
Originally Posted by gwmccull View Post

"How do you deal with fitness & over-training when exercise is part of your job?"
Plan strength or max HR or interval workouts around your available recovery intervals.
post #3 of 3
I'm a ski instructor as well. Two years ago I worked for Club Med in their ski school at Crested Butte for the winter. This was 16 straight weeks, working 5 hours a day, 6 days a week for most weeks, with one day a week off.

After being on skis all day, my main objective was to rest. Some of the younger guys went to the gym and worked out on the stationery bike, etc. but the problem is that the demands on your body tend to be cumulative over time and ultimately wear you out, especially as you get older.

I actually found that I was in pretty good shape from just instructing every day. As well, I trained in the bumps during any free skiing time and almost all of my days off. This is probably the best training for ski improvement anyway. I figured I should take advantage of the ski terrain during the ski season, and then do cross-training just in the off-season.

As the season wore on, many instructors got sick from trying to do too much, including partying, I think. I just concentrated on getting as much rest and sleep as I needed.

I think burn-out occurs from a combination of being physically run down and stagnating in the job. Rest, sleep and proper food will help with the physical part.

For the job issues of burn-out, I would suggest asking the ski school director to give you some higher level classes to instruct. This should make the days more challenging and interesting and take the boredom out of it.

I know the problem is that the directors give the lower-level classes to the level 2 instructors and the more advanced classes to the level 3 instructors, so you have to try to break through this rigid hierarchy, which is not easy to do. As well, the lower level classes can actually be more physically and mentally draining than the more advanced classes. I think this factor is probably the single biggest motivator for instructors to upgrade their certification level! So, even in a ski resort, I guess life can still be a bitch!
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