Because grappling is both a mind and body game
If you’re new to jiu jitsu, grappling becomes your life and spending the majority of your time on the mats is something you gladly welcome. You’re a sponge — you want to absorb everything professor and the other more advanced belts have to teach you, and like many people tend to embrace, more is better in your training volume. And, while there is nothing wrong getting to intimately know a triangle choke or perfecting a straight armbar, there is a fine balance in staying healthy and overtraining.
What’s is this balance we speak of? At Infinity Martial Fitness, we encourage you to go all in and leave your blood, sweat, and tears on the mats (or gi), but we want you to be healthy and safe while doing it! Venture into a topic we’ve all experienced in jiu jitsu at one point or another — overtraining — know the clues to stay healthy.
Jiu jitsu as a Personal Evolution
Jiu jitsu is a philosophy for many that tackles both our mind and body and what we learn grappling often translates to other facets outside the mats. There is a reason people fall hard for jiu jitsu, but as the old adage states, you have to learn how to crawl before you walk. So as much as you want to be in it and making lofty goals of training harder and longer each time, jiu jitsu is an evolution.
Sometimes it’ll just click.
We get so caught up in doing more, more, more, that we don’t realize that both our bodies and minds need to rest — the more we pause and take time for everything to sink in, the better out training is going to be. Rest days are where the magic happens. What often happens is you’ll take a couple days off and then, poof, the bicep slicer that you could not nail down, happens effortlessly — it’s one of the best feelings, that ease and not overthinking your next move.
Overtraining in jiu jitsu
Jiu jitsu is a sport where people are often overtrained, and when this becomes chronic, you plateau and lose some of the key skills you need. Below are some clues that you may be overtraining.
You’re always sick.
When you’re constantly training, especially in close contact with others, you don’t give your immune system the chance to repair itself, essentially you’re always playing catch up. So, if you’ve felt a little off for the last month or two, give your immune system a hand and take a break!
Your reaction times take a hit.
Research has shown that one of the tell-tale clues of overtraining are slowed reaction times, so if you can’t quite slip into full mount as quickly as you need to gain position, slow your roll!
Prolonged muscle soreness
There’s DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that we get from a brutal conditioning class, and then there is just aches and pains that won’t go away. When you begin to feel sore all the time, perhaps you should take inventory on your training volume and tweak it as need be.
Your mind may be stoked to roll every day, but if it’s hard to convince your body to get up and go or you’re slamming pre-workout supplements all the time, take a couple of days and watch a couple of classes or journal about new ways you’re trying to pass guard. You can still eat and sleep jiu jitsu, but in a less physical form.
You begin to lose muscle.
If you see a decline in your weight and you become a little softer, it’s your body’s way of telling you’re overtraining. It’s trying desperately to keep and fuel your workouts and your hormones are being impacted. When this occurs, your body can signal to burn muscle instead of fat — exactly the opposite of what most are trying to achieve.
Your mental gain is off.
Jiu jitsu is equally a mental and physical sport. You need optimal mental clarity and focus to subdue your opponents and you can’t do that when your concentration is shot. So maybe your body is able to keep up physically but if you can’t connect positions, you’ll lose every time.
You have disrupted sleep.
It may seem counterintuitive to not be able to sleep when you’re overtraining, but insomnia is a tricky thing. Your body and mind may be so hyped, that getting a restorative night of sleep is almost impossible. And this, as you can imagine, creates a nasty and unhealthy cycle. So, take a break — if only for a good night’s sleep!
You’re kickin’ it — catabolic style!
Have you noticed that you’re always thirsty? This thirst goes beyond training and impacts your daily life. Is it unquenchable? If hydration is hard to stay on top of, your body may be in a catabolic state as a result of an enormous amount of gym time that is or bordering overtraining. When a catabolic state hits, your body begins to breakdown your muscle for protein — this causes dehydration. Do yourself and your muscles a favor, rest and drinks plenty of water.
The importance of Downtime in Jiu Jitsu
When it comes down to overtraining, don’t be afraid to put a pause on your jiu jitsu training. If you don’t subscribe to this, ask the people around you and they’ll likely know exactly where you are and urge you to take time off.
Remember: resting is as vital in your jiu jitsu journey as training is.
Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself coming back stronger, more focused, and able to freshly take on new positions — this sure beats a week of classes that are subpar and that you’re just trying to get through.
It’s easy to be consumed with jiu jitsu — it’s an amazing sport! But as much as you want to go all out, take pause, and give yourself room to rest!
If you’re ready to find balance and train healthfully, connect with us today!