Ever wondered how an athletics star spends his off-season? 2014 Diamond League 400m hurdles champion Michael Tinsley tells SPIKES what he does for downtime.

“I'm taking a six to eight week break from training. After a long, hard season it’s a great feeling to wake up on a morning and think I don't have any weights or track practise to go to. After the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

“When winding up the season, my first thought is 'great, I don't have to get on a plane for a while'. But because I'm based in Texas and my immediate family is in Arkansas and my son is in North Carolina, my off time does involve jumping on and off planes.

“I'll spend two weeks with my six-year-old son, MyKayle, where I'll be on daddy duty. I want to be a big part of his life, so whenever I have time I'll try to spend as much time as I can hanging out with him. He's really into BMX bikes, so we'll probably go to the park and he'll do some tricks on his bike.

“He is aware I run track, so when it comes to the cheering section he does a great job. He follows my racing on Universal Sports, although I sometimes have to tell him I can't win every race and it is alright to lose sometimes.

“He is very active in sports and likes to play basketball and flag football. He's also been popping over the hurdles since he was aged three. He loves the track and hanging out with me.”

Michael Tinsley ()

Olympic silver in 2012, World silver in 2013, and Diamond Race winner in 2014. What will 2015 bring for Michael Tinsley?

“I'll also spend a week in Little Rock [Tinsley’s hometown] with my mum, family and friends. It is a great opportunity to recharge my batteries and spend time with people who just knew me as Michael Tinsley, not Michael Tinsley the track star.

“I really enjoy my mum's southern-style cooking. None of this food is on the menu during the season, but during the off-season I will indulge. One of my favourite dishes is smothered pork chops with cabbage and sweet potatoes.

“I also enjoy hanging out with cousins and my old friends who I used to play sports with. We might shoot some hoops or play a little flag football.

“I'm a big fan of college football and my team is the Arkansas Razorbacks. I like to catch a game or two every season, where we'll tailgate, which means set up a barbecue and have a few beers on the morning of the game and just hang out there until game time.

“I might also hit a club, have a few drinks or maybe hit a karaoke bar. Normally I'm very disciplined and keep a lot of the bad stuff out of my body during the season – there's no point nursing a hangover preparing for a track meet – but I'll use the off-season to let my hair down.

“If I had a karaoke song to sing it would be Duran Duran Hungry Like the Wolf or This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan.

“Also during my downtime I like to go out on the ATV Yamaha 450X, which is a four-wheel racing quad. I like to go out on my own, although I'm definitely careful because it is a machine with a lot of power.” 

Michael Tinsley ()

When it comes to the off-season, quad bikes, college football and karaoke is how Tinsley does it.

“I also plan to take a vacation – I don't know where yet, but it would be somewhere tropical with a nice beach. Maybe to the Turks and Caicos Islands, or the Bahamas.

“A lot of people say they like to get as far away from track as possible during the off-season, but for me, I don't like to stray too far away from thinking about track. This allows me to make sure my body is ready for racing again when I re-start training.

“Maybe two weeks before I'm due back training again, I'll return to the weights room and go for a few 2-3 mile jogs. Next season is a big world championship year for me.

“Having won the Diamond League I have a free pass to the world championships in Beijing and don't have to worry about qualifying for the US team. Yet, I want to make sure I give myself every chance of performing to my best in China and that means being careful during my off-season.”