14.4.09

BJJ / Health Tips: Training When Ill...


I think I am falling ill with something. I felt at worst in my throat on Friday and am on the re-bound now. The last session I did was a Kettlebell session last Thursday. I have decided to skip submission grappling today and opt for a light running round instead. But it all got me thinking.

Grapplers are obsessed with training that it is not uncommon to see individuals putting in long workouts the day before a competition or when they are ill.

I believe the reason is that athletes fear losing the benefits of long periods of training by taking time off, no matter how brief. Professional athletes from all sports go thru periods where they train more or less intensely but the recreational, part-time grappler always feel that if she misses one session then the next time she hits the mat she will be light years behind. The fact of the matter is if you have been training regularly for a year or so then a brief break (*) from exercise because of illness will result in minimal, if any, performance set backs!

Do you want more good news, the (*) period mentioned here is further extended if you, instead of going cold turkey, reduce your sessions to a lower frequency. So if you used to train 2-3 times a week and went thru a period where you could only do 1 session per week, the universe will not stop revolving!

Should I or Shouldn't I?
The main questions you need to ask yourself are:

1. Why do I want to exercise despite being ill?Is it because of fear? is it because you miss training? is it because you would get bored if you didn't? or is it simply because you want the activity to aid in your recovery form the illness?
Confront these questions and whatever you decide on doing, you will be that much wiser. Further, adjust the type and intensity of the session to your answers.

2. What are the consequences of training v not training?Will my condition get better or worse? Do I need the session more than I need the rest? I advise you to develop a close relation with your physician and consult him before undertaking any exercise. Always, always double consult with your doctor!

3. What are the consequences on others?
Is what you are suffering from contagious (flu, cold, infection...etc.)? Will it impact your performance so much that your training partners may suffer (overcautious due to a bad knee/back/neck...etc.)?
Grappling and all other alive martial arts mean that you are often dependent on your training partners. They are very valuable to you. In some respects, good training partners more valuable than the brand of gi you are wearing or even the instructor heading the class! Treat them with the respect they deserve.

So to sum up...take a long hard look at the questions above and decide, can you afford to exercise but also, can you afford to rest!
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(*) a complete cessation shorter than 12 weeks.

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