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A commitment to Martial Arts and Self-Defense includes regular training and practice. Sorting through the puzzle of (BJJ) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, improving reaction time of Thai Kickboxing, and kicking butt in Krav Maga all require a sound mind and body during training. Some basic steps will help you support your physical and mental health to keep your training on track.  

Sleep

Your body uses sleep to rest and recover, the brain uses it to sort out everything it processed that day and get ready for the next. Not getting enough sleep can affect mood, energy, and mental and physical performance. Over time, not getting enough sleep can even increase risk for chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Perhaps you rely on chugging caffeine to stumble through low sleep days, but poor sleep habits will still:

  • Make it harder for your body to recover. Your muscles need to recover from intensive workouts and sleep is the best recovery option.
  • Make concentration difficult during training. Lack of sleep may also make it more difficult to remember what you are learning.
  • Contribute to weight gain which can sabotage all your conditioning efforts.

Adults generally need 7-9 hours of sleep, teens about 8-10 hours, and children around 9-11 hours. The more routine you make your sleep time, the better your sleep will be. Light from electronic devices, including your phone, can make it harder to fall asleep. Avoid these devices for at least an hour before bed.

Nutrition

Physical conditioning needs good fuel and proper building blocks for recovery. If you aren’t supporting your physical efforts with good food, you’ll slow or even stop your progress. Good nutrition does not require extreme diets instead follow basic steps:

  • Focus on whole foods. This means foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. The more processed food is the less nutrition it tends to have.
  • Focus on eating well 80% of the time and allowing some wiggle room 20% of the time. Find healthy options that you enjoy.
  • Beware of diets that severely limit a single food group. They are generally no more successful than plans with balanced food groups, are hard to maintain in the long run, and can decrease your energy during workouts.

Staying hydrated is also important for your best physical performance and recovery. This can be simply done by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, through your workout, and after your workout.

Balanced Training

Commitment to training is an important part of martial arts. Physical challenges are part of the process and breaking out of training ruts may require extra effort but there are limits. Overtraining is the point where training stops being beneficial and starts becoming an obstruction to progress; training intensity overcomes the ability of the body to recover. Physical signs can include:

  • Having low energy, fatigue
  • Frequent muscle and joint pain
  • General aches and pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Decrease in performance
  • Headaches
  • Lower immunity—may lead to more frequent colds or sore throats

Overtraining can also lead to:

  • Loss of interest in training
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite

It is difficult to predict overtraining since everyone reacts different to a training routine. Once you begin to see these signs, scale back on your routine and begin to build a more realistic plan. To help avoid overtraining:

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