Let’s be honest: most of us could do a better job of taking care of our bodies. Jiu-jitsu is rough on our mortal coils, and yet, many of us still skip the warmups, stay away from stretching, and generally don’t take the measures we need to ensure that our inner workings are optimally equipped to handle what we throw at them.
Time away from the gym may not exactly be helping this. The chaos going on around us could make us more likely to stress-eat and develop symptoms of anxiety and depression, which can keep us in bed or on the couch instead of moving around. And look, sometimes, self-care does involve taking a break from trying to be perfect all the time and allowing yourself to eat a little more pizza and ice cream or spend a couple consecutive days in the same pair of sweatpants. But we can also use this time to develop habits that give our bodies the care they need in a jiu-jitsu-focused routine.
With many of us now having some unexpected extra time where there used to be BJJ class, this is a good opportunity to experiment with other supplementary exercises that can help your body recover and stay mobile. If you’ve always sworn that you’d work some rehabilitating strength exercises into your routine “when you had time,” well, now you have time. If yoga once seemed too far out of your comfort zone, now you have the opportunity to practice it in your home until it becomes something you’re familiar with.
If busy evenings have previously left you ordering too much takeout or whipping up quick, unhealthy snacks, this is your chance to learn how to cook delicious homemade meals that can help you make the most out of your training. There are so many free recipes out there that can teach you to meal prep using ingredients that you control. Whether you want to improve your diet to hit a certain weight class, to help you perform at your best while rolling, or simply so you can live to train jiu-jitsu for many more years, learning to cook properly can help you reach those goals without going broke on delivery apps.
As we work to develop a new routine around coronavirus closures, government restrictions, and our own desire to keep ourselves and everyone else healthy, we can try to turn experimentation into permanent healthy habits. As you begin to experience how your body feels when you take better care of it, it will be that much easier for you to incorporate these growing habits into your lifestyle even after jiu-jitsu starts back up again. Sure, you’ll still be getting beaten up, but at least you’ll have developed a few skills while in quarantine that can help you feel and roll better than before.
As every corporate email and message from your in-laws has emphasized over the past few weeks, “these are crazy times.” Everyone is dealing with their own unique challenges presented by the pandemic, and if you can’t handle the stress of adding even more to your daily plate, then don’t. If, however, you have the time and desire to try something new while staying at home, then try to make it something that will benefit your jiu-jitsu down the line, even if it’s going to be a while before you can roll again. Your body will thank you.