The other 23 hours.

As a coach and a trainer I often have one hour a day to work with my clients, what happens in the other twenty three is up to them. For that one hour I get to step in and say “Hey I’ve got you, what your about to do with me is the best possible way to spend the next sixty minutes in order for you to reach your goals.” Now it’s on the client to make the most of the other 23. For a Martial Artist there are so many aspects to consider to make the most of your time off the mats. Just like a student in school, failing to prepare is just preparing to fail. I hear it often, “I wish I could train as much as you!” This is often coming from a man ten years my elder, with a wife and kids, and who knows how many other responsibilities. It’s just not in the cards for them to be able to train as often as a professional athlete. That’s where the other 23 hours come into play. If your showing up to train sore, mentally exhausted, and malnourished it’s going to be very hard to make the most of your limited time on the mats. Ownership plays a huge role in combating this, ownership of your progress in Jiu Jitsu.

Things would prescribe that take zero equipment or prep time include affirmations to help motivate yourself towards all your goals, not just those in Jiu Jitsu. They require you to really take scope of what your immediate and long term goals are, and to actively remind yourself to work towards them. An example is that many people want to be more positive or to have better self discipline. It is easy to say these things, what’s hard is to look yourself in the mirror everyday and repeat “I am a positive and self disciplined person” five times in a row. Mental exercise/ Meditations can be done in minutes while on a break from work and pay huge dividends in keeping yourself mentally sharp and hitting the reset button on a stressful day. A good example is to visualize having a “perfect practice” where you see yourself successfully hitting the moves you’ve been drilling, or escaping a position that gives you problems. Another one that I recommend highly to any competitors out there involves association and disassociation, try to set aside five minutes in your day to do this. First step is to think of a noise that doesn’t excite your nerves in the slightest, like the noises you might hear in your office. Sit in the middle of that noise and find a point to focus your vision on, close your eyes then picture your next competition while hearing that everyday sound. Then open your eyes, focusing on one point in the room and force yourself to hear that tournament noise that we all know. (Personally I thing of one hundred people trying to yell over each other.) Alternate between the visual and audio stimulation every thirty seconds. The idea is to associate what would otherwise be a stressful sight with something routine that doesn’t excite you, and vice versa for the stressful noise. Now where this technique really comes together is at the event. When you are sitting there waiting to compete simply close your eyes and picture that point, or open your eyes and hear that routine noise. It not only gives you something to focus on but you will train your mind to think that this competition is just another day in the office.

Diet is the part that can take a little forethought, but as Jiu Jitsu teaches us there’s a best technique to everything. Preparing meals before hand goes a long way, as well as having many ingredients prepped that you can put together in minutes. The most obvious solution is a slow cooker. Personally I use one to prepare all my chicken and carbs for the week in a matter of hours and all for around 15$. Even if you have a family it is understandable that as an athlete your meals will have to differ from what the kids are eating every night (Although I don’t blame you for sneaking some mac and cheese). Another fun way to add variety and save time is to prepare ingredients separately and combine them fresh. Chopped onions can be used for eggs or in a salad. Two heads of lettuce rinsed and dried serve as a base that you can add any number or fun ingredients to, like nuts, avocado, eggs etc. Now I can already hear the most common push back to this method, “But I don’t like eating leftovers!” Well some of us don’t like wasting time and money during the work week, and I think we can all agree that those are more important than appeasing your pallet

The last thing I wanted to address is recovery. Now contrary to what it implies recovery is the farthest thing from plopping down on the couch and taking it easy all night after training. In fact if you allow everything to tighten up and don’t bring yourself back into alignment you might just be stuck on that couch forever. Active recovery is key for maintaining our bodies, find and activity you enjoy outside of training and get moving! Yoga is one I highly recommend, and it’s much easier than most people make it out to be. It doesn’t require a membership at a studio (although I would go to a few classes to work on forum). Just find a routine that addresses your problem areas and get stretching, personally I do the same thirty minute flow every night to work on my neck, hips, hamstrings shoulders and forearms. In the same vein as stretching, self myofascial release has done wonders for me personally. The explanation for what facia is could be a whole new blog but here’s a simple metaphor. Say your muscle is a rope, that rope has a knot in it, no matter how much you stretch you wont get to full range of motion with that knot in there. This has become a big trend in fitness so naturally there are a ton of people doing it wrong! Rolling back and forth over the knot doesn’t do much to actually break it up, the key is consistent pressure and moving through a range of motion. I must confess a lack of a complete understanding of the science, but I know it works so I don’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. I am fortunate to work closely with my friend Jen Davis on a weekly basis, I couldn’t recommend her services enough if you are looking for a Rolfer. She is a purple belt so she knows all the right spots! Email for more info.

So I know what your thinking, man that’s a lot to keep track of! Luckily for you there’s someone you know who is happy to help guide you every step of the way and keep you accountable every day. Contact me today and together we can optimize every aspect of your life, on and off the mats.

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