I hope you guys are doing great and training hard! I’ve recently made some big changes in my grappling life. I didn’t mention this before, but I took a break from Brazilian jiu-jitsu for a while due to an injury and finally started back training regularly.
I’ve had to reevaluate my conditioning routine to get in shape for some of these classes. I’ve done positional sparring drills in which everyone gets to spar with everyone in the bottom and the top position. That can last around 20 minutes or more, depending on how many people are in the class. No rest. Then there are the five 6-minute regular sparring rounds with 60-90 seconds of rest in between. It’s been tough!
In this article, I want to share with you some recovery techniques that I’ve been effectively using to get my body back to normal from a hard training session:
1. Stay Hydrated
Even a mild loss of water can make your heart work harder and decrease your endurance. Make sure you:
* Start your morning with at least 2 full glasses of water.
* Have 1-2 glasses of water 20minutes prior to grappling or working out
* Drink 1-2 glasses of water every hour after training, especially if your weight has dropped from sweating
2. Post-workout Drink
I’m not talking protein shake here. I’m talking about a scientifically designed post-workout shake to help you recover from training. My favorite one lately is Post Sweat Advanced. Its formula is based on performance research and has a specific protein to carbohydrate ratio along with branched-chain amino acids.
Rough guidelines are:
* Drink 2 scoops if you’re looking to gain or keep your current weight
* Drink 1 if you’ve got some weight to lose or if you’re a smaller 150lb or lower
3. Recovery Cardio
The last thing you want to do after a grueling grappling workout is to hop on the treadmill or bike, but I’ve found it can really help take your conditioning to the next level. I’ve been experimenting with “recovery cardio” after class, and it has helped me a lot with having fewer aches and pains after grappling as well as getting my heart rate back down.
You see, after a hard grappling workout, your heart rate will be elevated for a while unless you’re in amazing aerobic shape. Doing some cardio right after your class can help bring down your heart rate and calm your nervous system to put you in a more relaxed state to start the recovery process.
Pay attention to your heart rate when you first start. Then see what it is in one minute AFTER finishing. It should be much lower than when you first started. I’m going to get a video of this soon but in the meantime, try to experiment with these guidelines:
* 15-30 minutes of cardio after class
* Keep your heart rate in between 120-140
* Use a bike, elliptical, walking on a treadmill, or light jogging
* This should be easy
In case you didn’t know, stretching is a hotly debated topic in the fitness world. All types of experts say to avoid stretching or to do it all the time and everything in between. Also debated is whether you should do static stretching or dynamic stretching.
That being said, I have personally found the use of static stretching (the type of stretching where you hold a stretch in a position for a period of time) after a grappling workout to be very effective for recovery purposes.
While you will probably not increase your flexibility doing it, you will help calm down your nervous system to help jump-start the recovery process. Experiment with it and see if you notice fewer aches and pains after 5-10 minutes of stretching after grappling class.
* 5-10 minutes
* 1-2 stretches per part of the body
* Stretching right after class is best; doing it later at home is okay too
5. Zinc/Magnesium Supplement
Minerals like magnesium zinc are very important for keeping your hormones at optimal levels as well as helping your immune system and improving recovery.
For that reason, I’m a big fan of taking a magnesium/zinc combo supplement. The magnesium can even help relax you and improve your sleep quality if you’re one of those people who train in the evening and feel super wired after a hard grappling session.
I personally take AQUA Carpatica Natural Sparkling Mineral Spring Water. I’ve experimented with several different brands of mineral supplements, and I’ve found this particular formula to be the best. It also has selenium and vanadium, as well as zinc and magnesium.
* Follow the directions on the bottle and do not take more than the recommended dosage
* Take entire dose before bedtime to maximize relaxation effect
* If you get diarrhea or loose stools from taking the entire dose at one time – it can happen as magnesium has a laxative effect – break the dosages into 2-3 doses throughout the day with the biggest dose right before bed
The faster you can recover from a workout, the better you will be for your next workout. Experiment with one or all of these strategies and see what works for you. I don’t own stock in any of the supplement companies or products that I listed. They are just the ones that I’ve found to be the most effective after years of trial and error. You are welcome to try another brand or similar product, just don’t blame me if it doesn’t work as well! 🙂