Keep improving during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown
Updated: May 22, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us all hard, in many different ways. For us, Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and not only, social distancing measures and the preventative closures of academies around the world have created a major disruption in our lives.
Staying positive through challenging times like this is difficult but focusing on negative circumstances – “The gym is closed. I can’t train. The quarantine sucks.” – brings greater focus to things that are outside of your control and are potentially detrimental to your Jiu-Jitsu progress. In no competitive or life scenario will focus on negative uncontrollable factors improve your performance or stress level.
We have to accept that life is not completely predictable. In challenges and hardship, the struggle of adapting on the fly is paramount, and the ability to do so is characteristic of all champions.
How can Jiu-Jitsu practitioners adapt and keep improving during this challenging circumstances? Instead of focusing on external and uncontrollable factors like most people do, realize that the current circumstances are outside of your control and chose to focus on things that you truly can control.
Focus on things that you can control and ignore everything else. Simple but not easy. These are the things that are under each Jiu-Jitsu practitioner’s control: sleep, nutrition, practice, recovery, and study. Whiting each area, we recommend you identify specific daily habits that you would like to create or to remove that are essential to your Jiu-Jitsu progress.
Sleep. For many people lockdown has led to disturbed sleep and/or insomnia. Scientists say it is an understandable response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, good sleep quality is important for your health and performance in general, but even more important in current circumstances as it helps to maintain a positive mindset, contributes to the energy and stamina, and keep helps you make progress.
Here are some ideas of daily habits that you can practice for a better sleep: track total hours and quality of your sleep; create a nightly routine that promotes more restful nights; maintain your routine and avoid naps; don’t watch Netflix before bed; turn off any electronics one hour before bed; don’t snooze;
Nutrition. Proper nutrition and hydration are vital. A good nutrition program should do three things: improve your body composition; improve your health; improve your Jiu-Jitsu performance. You can improve your nutrition by implementing simple habits such as: eat slowly and stop at 80% full; eat protein dense foods with each meal; eat vegetables with each meal; eat some carbohydrates dense foods with each meal, especially after exercise; eat healthy fat dense foods with each meal; drink enough water every day; avoid eating out. We recommend you checking out Precision Nutrition’s blog for a healthier lifestyle ideas.
Practice. In an ideal situation, some of your family members or housemates also train Jiu-Jitsu, and maybe you also have some puzzle mats and extra room in your house. While you might be limited in training partners, you can break a sweat and get in your daily practice. If your family or housemates are a lower belt than you, take this opportunity to sharpen your technique, work on some positions you don’t normally train, or even to develop your coaching skills and help your fellow practitioners with some things they have been working on or struggling with.
If you don’t have any training partners at home. Not to worry! While you won’t be able to do some Jiu-Jitsu specific drills, you can still do some strength and conditioning, or even some solo movement drills. These will help you improve your Jiu-Jitsu in general. We recommend you checking out John Danaher’s Self Mastery: Solo BJJ Training Drills available for free on BJJ Fanatics.
Recovery. When you are a passionate Jiu-Jitsu practitioner as we are here at Absoluto Kuwait, taking a break from Jiu-Jitsu is very, very hard. But sometimes rest is the best thing for your Jiu-Jitsu. When is the last time you’ve taken a prolonged break from the mat? When have you allowed your body to heal from all those little nagging injuries? When did you let your brain and body rest from the weekly grind? You might be training every day, but are you training at 100% each time? Take this time to rest your body, rest your brain and let injuries heal. We recommend checking out Yoga for BJJ for rehabbing your injuries, improving your focus, movement, breathing and flexibility.
Study. Now, more than ever, is a great opportunity to really get some solid Jiu-Jitsu study time in.
Research suggests that simply watching a technique can help people improve an individual’s performance when they go and attempt the technique, versus attempting the technique without prior introduction or study. In fact, by watching Jiu-Jitsu videos – whether via YouTube, or BJJ Fanatics– you’re activating the same neurons in your brain as you would be training. While studying Jiu-Jitsu is certainly no substitute for practicing Jiu-Jitsu, the combination of the two can have profound impacts upon your individual progress and improvement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all our lives. But instead of just sitting around our house and focusing on things outside of our control, let’s make the best of the situation!
Stay safe everyone, and we hope to see you back on the mats soon.