For the past week I have been in California visiting friends and family. The trip started off with a spectacular wedding. My two good friends, teammates and former roommates Justin Flores & Shirley Yacubowicz tied the knot in San Diego this past Saturday. It was a beautiful ceremony and was incredible seeing various members of the judo community all come together to support these two.
After the wedding my sister Jackie picked me up and took me to her place in LA where I've been for the past 3 days meeting her friends and network. While out here I've also had the pleasure of meeting up with former teammate Liz Burns, who now owns and operates the successful "Dogtown Crossfit" on La Cienega Blvd. Another highlight of the trip was learning to skim board properly with friends Ronda Rousey, Toni Lettner, Marina Shafir, and Taraje Williams-Murray.
This blog isn't about what I've done on my vacation to California. While hanging with these phenomenal elite athletes, champions, and former Olympians I realized that they all have a common philosophy. That philosophy is that you need to take time for yourself and do what you enjoy as part of your training schedule. Weather it's skim boarding or video games, athletes need to be able to recharge their mental battery and relax. Specifically, Liz mentioned to me some statistics about the correlation between the age of death (of elite athletes), and stress levels. The highest level of competition and competitiveness can force emotions to run wild which adds stress, ultimately making your body function below its optimal level.
So do your body a favor and take time for yourself. Whatever you call it or however you do it, athletes should all take time to unwind.