Jujitsu is a sport that comes with bumps and bruises. It is inevitable that you will incur obstacles including physical injuries along the way. It is really important to think “long term” if you want to have a long-term jiu-jitsu career. This includes being intelligent when it comes to injuries, and properly taking care of your body. Everyone wants to train as long as they can, but the older you get and the more injuries you face, it can be a challenge. I am not a doctor, but in my opinion there are a few key factors to take into consideration when you’re thinking long-term:
- DIET-When you exercise hard for over 90 minutes, especially if you’re doing something at high intensity that takes a lot of endurance, you need a diet that can help you perform at your best and recover as quickly as possible. When you exercise, your body changes glycogen into energy. Being that case, carbohydrates are essential and you should be avoiding sugary and starch filled foods 30 min prior to working out. Food should be viewed as fuel for your performance. Not everyone has the same needs as far as diet goes, but maintaining a healthy diet according to your needs will keep your body happy and as a result keep it going longer. Protein is essential for everyone. It helps maintain our muscle growth. The average person needs 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. Hydration and replacing lost electrolytes is key as well. With Jiujitsu being so high intensity you should always be drinking plenty of water and replacing the electrolytes we lose through sweat. While this all may seem like common sense, you would be surprised at the amount of people who eat junk and wonder why they feel so sluggish and tired at training. Proper food and nutrients are like gasoline to a car. Without them, your body isn’t going to run properly.
- SLEEP-We all have busy schedules in addition to training. Some of us have jobs, families, kids, training full time….whatever it is, you need to be sleeping enough for your body to recover. “Getting enough sleep is crucial for athletic performance,” says David Geier, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, SC. Studies show that enough sleep can improve speed, accuracy, and reaction time in athletes. The average person needs between 7 to 9 hours of sleep but athletes need more, just like how we need to eat more because of how much we burn. According to studies, we need an extra hour. You can do this by adding in an afternoon nap or simply by going to bed an extra hour earlier. Sleep is our body’s time to recover and without proper sleep, your body will struggle in performing its best during training. It helps to tray and get on a regular schedule, avoid sleep medications, and reduce caffeine. Without proper sleep, you simply just wont perform your best.
- RECOVERY- This one is huge, but so many people don’t do it properly. If you’re injured, if you’re experiencing pain (not soreness, but pain), if you’re body is giving off signs you need to rest….than do just that. Of course sitting on the sidelines is not the most fun thing to do, but if you want your body to last you as long as possible, you need to let it recover when it needs to. Have a rest day or even an active rest day to give your body a small break. Over training and overworking the body can lead to injuries and more time off the mats. Don’t be a tough guy and push through injuries or pain. It’s a guaranteed way to eventually incur damage that may not be reversible.
You only get one body. Take care of it so that you can train Jiujitsu as long as possible!