Dear reader – if you are part of the 25 years old and under crowd, you might want to stop reading now. If you are 28, and after a tough BJJ or Krav Maga class, you DefenseSoap the single bead of sweat from your forehead and head out to party with the ladies (or men, for you lady fighters out there) – please, log off and stop reading. This post is NOT for you.
However, if you are 40 and over (ok, maybe 36/37 is acceptable), then please read on…because today’s blog is for all my ‘experienced’ fighters out there.
This week was a hard training week for me, and I’m not sure why. Krav Maga on Monday night, followed by a great BJJ class (see Blood, Sweat, and Obscenities). Missed Wednesday night due to a snowstorm. Thursday night was Fight Class – which was an awesome experience. As a parting gift from Fight class, I got this beauty from blocking a kick aimed for my ribs.
Better than a busted rib!
After an ‘OK’ night’s sleep last night, I headed to our 9am BJJ class. Warmups and opening drills were fine. I drilled with Carmelo (hope I’m spelling your name correctly, dude). You should know that this guy is about my weight, but solid muscle. It’s like grappling with a pit bull. So while drilling sweeps was nice and smooth, 2-minute drills in grip fighting were NOT. We got in guard, postured up, then for 1 minute fought for grips. Sleeves, collars, anything. The person on top had to fight off the grips. The person on the bottom’s goal was to get a grip, and pull them down. We did two rounds each. Let me tell you – that was HARD. Carmelo was all over me.
Then it was time to roll.
And, as you know, your first roll is with your drilling partner. Mr. Pit Bull was STRONG. I swept him a few times, but he simply overpowered me most of the round. I was able to maintain deep half guard during the round. He may have mounted me once. Neither of us got a submission. When the round was over, I felt as if I got into a small car accident.
My second roll of the morning was with Pete – a rare treat. Pete is a 4-stripe blue belt in BJJ (I assume he’ll be a purple belt soon), a multiple black belt in other disciplines, and the head instructor for the school, which means he’s Level one-million in Krav Maga. Rolling with Pete was an exercise in defending his submission attempts as he ran around my guard at will. I consider it a victory that I was able to turn my hips into him a few times, keeping him from taking my back. He also got a really nice “shoulder in my neck” choke…and the grey fog came into my vision VERY quickly. I tapped fast. If I had waited another 2 seconds, I would have taken a little nap.
Finished the morning’s rolling session with Eric – who is also a beast. We are, for the most part, the same experience level. So each time we roll, it’s a battle of position. Sweep, sweep, and more sweeps. We both try to sneak in a neck crank here and there. I almost got him in a triangle choke from my guard, but he stacked me very well, and I had to release the choke.
I was BEAT when Professor called time. I managed to get out of my gi, but had zero (and I mean zero) energy left for Krav Maga. I drove home and showered, got a protein shake in me…and pretty much crashed for 2 hours (thank you to my teenage girls for letting me nap). I woke up feeling dehydrated and exhausted.
So I started thinking about it. Was I overtrained? Under-sleeped? Under-hydrated? Under-fed? I’m not sure – but I’ve rarely seen the ‘fuel light’ go off like that. Don’t get me wrong, many times I’ve felt drained after class…but today was different. I woke up from my nap feeling like a zombie.
So I’ll ask my 40-and-over crowd…what do you do to recharge? I am convinced it’s not an overtraining thing. I might have been a little dehydrated today. But I’m curious what you ‘experienced’ guys and gals do to stay in fighting shape throughout the week. Kick-ass supplements? Increased food intake?
I will say that lately, I’ve had a little mental block about food. I’m at 230-ish lbs now, down from 260lbs. And since my target weight is 220, I still think about calories during the day. Truth be told, my actual weight is not a factor as much as losing the spare tire. True, my spare tire is much smaller than it was in 2012…but I want NO spare tire. Can you have a 6-pack at 40? That’s the goal…to see if I can do that by the end of May. That’s two and a half months away. So I’m likely on the edge of not eating enough to keep up with training. Ahh, the dilemma of the 40 and over crowd. At 25, I could scarf pizza and beer all day long, and stay very lean. Today, not so much.
So along with the ‘how do you stay fueled for training‘ question, there’s also the issue of training with minor aches and pains. Getting injured is not age specific – our 20-somethings can get a torqued finger just like the rest of us – but the issue is that at 40, I don’t feel as though I recover as fast. So that sore hip…that sore wrist…those banged up fingers…they just stay that way. I know minor aches and pains might never fully go away…but what do you do to manage them? I am a big proponent of taping things up. Today I looked like I was sponsored by Ace Athletic Tape: taped finger, taped wrist, taped toes. But what do you do after training? I’ve heard of Muay Thai liniment oil – anyone have experience using that? Do you use a secret home remedy of ground up ginger, red pepper flakes, eye of newt, and pee from a pissed-off Gila Monster? If so, please pass it on.
I know what you’re thinking: this post was ill-organized and ill-thought out. It was nothing more than a general gripe-session over feeling dehydrated, feeling beat up, and having no energy. But it does have a point! And the point is this: I can’t just go out there and duke it out with the young guns without careful consideration to my before & after routine. I have to pay attention to what I eat, what I drink, and how I prep & recover to make sure I continue coming back to the gym…feeling full of piss and vinegar…and ready to roll with the best of ’em.
So get out your glucosamine & chondroitin, your protein shakes, your BCAA’s, your athletic tape, your knee braces (no metal in there, right?), your knee pads, your ibuprofen, your Sam Adams Boston Lager, and your Saturday post-training naps…and I’ll see you on the mats!
Take care of each other! Cheers.