Training Brazilian jiu jitsu is something that most of us want to be able to do for the rest of our lives. Whether you started young or later in life, the goal is still to be like Helio and Carlos and train well into old age. But as you get older consciously adapting your jiu jitsu and training to achieve this longevity in your BJJ is key.
Consider your training intensity
When training you should consider how intense your training was. Training has an effect on your body, especially your nervous system. All the quick reactions and physical movements do impact on your body and mind. If you are in your twenties or younger, you will recover pretty quickly. However as you age you need look at the intensity of each of your training days.
Since the goal is longevity your bjj, not every day needs to be hard training. Ideally alternating the hard training days with more relaxed drilling or technical days, will help. But realistically we all love rolling. So pick your partners. If it is a hard day, go with the higher belts and the athletic youngsters. You will know who will give you this challenge. On the easier days, pick the lower belts or the guys around your age. This will give you a chance to reduce the intensity and practise your new stuff. Understanding and recognising how your body feels will keep you on the mat.
Leave your ego at home
Injuries can happen in any contact sport, but an injury from not tapping is not an accident. We all get caught in submissions and yes you may want to challenge yourself to get out of it. But if a technique is on you know it, so don’t let your ego get in the way. Tap before it hurts, not after. The more you tap, the more you learn. You may not like tapping to a lower belt, but that tap costs me nothing. A popped elbow or a torn shoulder does. Having fun and making it to training each day is the goal. By not tapping soon enough you just force yourself in to having to take weeks off training. Plus as you get older recovering from injuries does take longer and that’s even more infuriating.
Work on your mobility and recovery
Most of us are going to have jobs that have some impact on our bodies, in one way or another. Mobility and recovery take work, just like your jiu jitsu to make them effective. Mobility work helps your body recover from the impacts of training and life. Assisting the longevity in your bjj. This is not only with the stresses of jiu jitsu, but sitting at a desk all day or driving for long periods. You should try and work as much as possible to improve your range of motion. A recent study here, found that mobility and stretching helps with your bodies recovery as well. Finding a routine that you can do either at home or before/after training will go a long way in helping your body cope.
Have a healthy diet that works for you
The bottom line on all diets is the focus should be on real food. Find the foods and a way of eating that suits you and you can maintain. Whether this is vegan, vegetarian or paleo, as long as it keeps you energised and feeling good that is what matters. Throw in plenty of water to stay hydrated too. Also remember to let loose once in a while, by strictly denying yourself something will only make you obsess over it more. Plus life is too short not to be naughty every now and again. Individual ways of eating may vary when it comes to nutrient timing ratios, but the concepts behind good nutrition are all the same.
In reality the longer you train, the more adjustments you will have to make to your training intensity, lifestyle, and nutrition. But if you are smart with your training, you will be able to stay on the mats for many years to come