Getting ready for a competition can be a frustrating and emotional experience for any athlete if you are not in the right frame of mind. Having to worry about making weight the day of, and sometimes moments before, your matches; staying in shape while avoiding injuries; and managing your stress levels are all roadblocks you must overcome.
Here are a couple of tips that I focus on to get into a fight ready physical and mental frame of mind.
You need to get on the mats and train smart. You need to go to class and the more often, the better. You need drilling and sparring time. Two or three classes a week of BJJ is going to be good for casual practitioners looking to stay in shape, but if you want to compete and win, I’d recommend five to eight classes per week.
Training with people of all sizes is important for self-defense situations, too, but make sure you’re avoiding injury and not getting smashed every day by someone 40kg more than you who and has minimal technique and body awareness.
I’ve heard a lot of people say if you want to be effective at jiu-jitsu you should just train more jiu-jitsu. I agree with this but only to a certain extent. You will not improve your game and techniques if you’re not putting in time studying, drilling, rolling and watching some footage. However, by supplementing these things with some proper strength training and cardiovascular workouts, you will increase your muscular endurance and improve your ability to roll longer without getting injured as easily.
Some of my favorite ways to gain and maintain strength are to incorporate kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, and the odd heavy weight day at the gym. Your cardio sessions should be short and high intensity. Adding two or three lifting and cardio sessions at the gym or track will definitely make a difference on the mats by strengthening your body to reduce the risk of injury.
With all that time spent breaking down, ripping and exhausting your body, you need to put an equal emphasis on recovery and rest. Everybody knows the benefits of a good night’s rest, yet many still seem to not get enough shut eye. If you are hitting those five or more workouts a week, I’d suggest a good seven to eight hours sleep each night. Remember, your body does most of its recovery while you’re sleeping. If you are sweating and really getting the heart pumping, you should have no problem falling asleep after a hard day’s work.
To be continued . . .