I have a typical 9-5 job and go to school at night. Like so many people I love Jiu-Jitsu enough to make time to train about 3 times a week. This regiment keeps me in reasonably good shape and my Jiu-Jitsu sharp. In addition I try hitting the gym once a week for strength and conditioning. A couple weeks ago I had my last week of summer break giving me some free time. I also discovered there would be a rare open mat the day the academy was normally closed. It presented me with a rare opportunity to train BJJ for a week straight.
During this week I trained Jiu-Jitsu for at least one and a half hours each day. It generally consists of a standard one-hour class and at least a half hour of sparing. The maximum time I would spend on single day training was about three hours. The first couple days were fine. Just experienced the normal aches and pains everyone training in BJJ has. By day 4, I started to notice more bruising from accidental pinching, and knee/calf slice passes. My energy levels were lower than usual too. Not just in my Jiu-Jitsu but in my day to day. My body was only use to about 3 days of intense training.
The last couple days were a bit of a blur. My body was sore from previous days of training. By the last day (open mat class), I wasn’t able to power out of anything. It was a good experience. I know many people have trained 7 days straight or even more. It really puts into perspective what many professional athletes have to put their body through. It also made me look up overtraining. I’ve always heard the term and never experienced it personally.
I found out that overtraining could happen in many sports. It’s when someone exercises so often that his or her body isn’t able to properly recover. They hit a point of diminishing returns. Jiu-Jitsu can be a very addictive sport. For some, training nearly everyday of the week is a common occurrence and there body is use to it. Others will experience overtraining. There are some common side effects of overtraining such as muscle soreness lasting for more than 72 hours. This leads to a loss of strength and physical capability. Other side effects can be unexpected.
Insomnia and issues sleeping can be a side effect of overtraining. Lack of recovery can cause increased levels of certain hormones. This increase heart rate and blood pressure leading to over trained athletes having poorer quality sleep. This reduces their body’s ability to recover properly and may lead to other issues such as depression.
Your body needs time to repair. Not taking time to properly recover can cause issues and result in poorer quality training. This can sometimes be the reason someone’s Jiu-Jitsu plateaus. Though training for a full week straight was fun, it’s not anything that I would jump back into anytime soon without easing into it. Taking days off from training can be good for you as overtraining is a reality many serious athletes must consider.
How many days a week do you train and why? Have you ever experienced over training?
Gracie Barra Chino
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