I have a confession to make
I overtrain. There I said it (they first step is admitting you have a problem). I have long known that I overtrain. I have also long known that eventually this will catch up to me in the form of injury or even hating jiu-jitsu. Yet I just can’t stop doing it.
I not only overtrain, I feel anxious and incomplete if I have to miss a day. I frequently turn down invites to go out during the week if it would mean skipping class. On the rare occasions I do skip class, I feel guilty all week knowing that I am going to miss a day and when I am somewhere else at class time I inevitably wonder what they are drilling in class and feel sad. A couple of weeks ago it was my birthday. Did I go out for my birthday? Of course I did! After I trained.*
You may be asking yourself how much I train. Here is my typical week. Mondays and Wednesdays I go to the gym right after work, arriving around 5:30. I workout downstairs before class and then have class from 7-9. Tuesdays and Thursdays I again head to the gym right from work and have class from 6-7:30. Fridays I try to take off. I don’t always succeed as we have an open mat then. Saturdays I wake up early to go to a women’s class at my weekend gym at 9. Often I stay after and roll with the purple belt instructor. Then at 11 I either take the basics class there or I head over to my regular gym for instructor training. Then at 1 I teach the women’s class at my gym. Sundays I have been getting to my weekend gym at 10 to roll with the purple belt instructor and then I stay for basics at 11 and rolling afterwards, typically leaving somewhere between 12:30 and 1:30.
Crazy I know. This week I added to this. I had been using Mondays and Wednesdays to get cardio in before the gym but now I’ve decided to add weight training to the mix and do that on M/W instead. So now I’m staying after class on Tuesdays and Thursdays for cardio.
I know that this is adding a lot of stress to my life. I am often exhausted as by the time I get home, shower and do whatever needs to be done around the house (i.e. laundry…you do a lot of laundry when you train that much), it is well after 10 before I actually eat dinner. My friends are getting frustrated with me trying to schedule time with them around training. I am neglecting other things I want to do (ex. some side web projects) and other things I have to do (ex. paying bills, cleaning). I feel like I am never home as I have to jam non-BJJ activities into what little free time I have on the weekends. It has gotten so bad that my one cat has resorted to chasing me to the door crying as I leave and will hold on to my arm for dear life if I pet her. I am the worst cat mom ever.
So knowing all this why do I keep doing it? I think there are probably several reasons. I feel like I have to get in as much time training as I can if I am going to keep up with guys. I can’t beat them at strength but I can have more technique. Also I just turned 33, I feel like my time to be competitive is limited. Unfortunately there is not a lot of opportunity for masters women to compete (I am not even going to mention the 40+ and 50+ divisions that guys get) so I have to fight the 20 year olds (sometimes 14 year olds as mentioned in this post) which is hard. However I think the biggest reason is that I just love jiu-jitsu. Someone could come up to me at work, tap me on the shoulder, say “want to roll?” and I’d bump fists and look for an empty conference room.
So I find I have a war between my head and my heart. My head is telling me I need to spend less time training but my heart is saying “NO! MORE JIU-JITSU!”. I suspect that eventually my head will win as my old lady body is not going to be able to take this abuse forever. But my heart is putting up a really good fight right now.