We all love our training, seeing your friends and rolling are big parts of our lives as bjj practitioners. You don’t want anything come between you and making it to your academy. But life gets in the way, early morning meetings. Travelling for work or just having to spend all day looking after your children. These all tired you out. So should you train when you are tired?
When I say tired I am not talking about muscular fatigue. I am looking at lack of sleep. The struggling to keep your eyes open and can’t focus type of tired. Commitment to bjj is a positive thing as long you keep the bigger picture of your health in mind. Being committed to improving your jiu jitsu is important. But when you’re sick or exhausted after a night of too little sleep or a really stressful day, you have to really consider your health. Training jiu jitsu AND being healthy is what is important, it’s therefore necessary to strike a balance. That means that knowing when to skip training is just as important as making training. Having a hot bath and a good meal to make sure you can make the best of tomorrows training is a part of the equation too.
Now I know some people may question what I am saying up to this point. “Should you train when you are tired? Of course just suck it up and hit the mats!!” Will be running through some of your minds right now. So let me explain and I should say this applies at any age not just if you are an Old Munki.
Even one night of little sleep can affect your training. This article extract from Pub Med shows that reaction times decrease and difficulties in keeping concentration can arise from lack of sleep. Cognitive function suffers too with your memory becoming impaired. Plus, sleeplessness increases sensitivity to pain. That means that knee on belly or cross face is going to hurt all the more.
So not being able to properly remember technique, not being able to move properly and everything hurting more doesn’t sound like a productive session.
It then gets worse. With your reaction time being slower and thinking skills and judgment clouded by tiredness, your risk for injury goes up. Why risk an injury just to say you made it to the mats? It will be way better to rest and work on some good recovery and get to the academy tomorrow when you can make the most of your time there.
Now I would say this should be enough to answer the question about should you train when tired. But if you still need more convincing lets look at the physical effects. Even one night of poor or inadequate sleep raises cortisol levels. This puts a damper on your ability to fight off infection. Combine that with the added stress of a hard and uncomfortable bjj session and you put yourself at greater risk for whatever virus happens to be making its rounds. When you’re exhausted, you need rest to lower your cortisol levels and get your immune system back up.
But cortisol also has further physical impacts. If cortisol levels are high, it interferes with tissue repair and growth. So your actual recovery will be impaired and you will need more time to recover from your normal training. Better to rest and let your body recover and stress hormones normalize.
As an Old Munki If you train in an exhausted state, it won’t be productive, your recovery will be compromised and you’ll increase your risk for illness due to decreased immunity. Plus, you because of all these things you will probably leave wishing you hadn’t gone any way. Not with the normal sense of enjoyment you normally get. Give your body the opportunity to get back to normal operating levels. Simply being on the mat does not help you improve. You have to be able to fully, mentally and physically be there to get the most out of the session. You can also check out my other article on the importance of sleep here.