We all have those friends and teammates whose mantra seems to be “It’s time for me to get back into shape/get back to training…and I am serious this time!” They start coming to the gym three or four days a week and start making some progress…But the commitment seems to wane quickly and they end up back where they started 3 months ago.
Martial arts and fitness are not in the list of activities that are like riding a bicycle. You can leave your bike in the garage all winter and still ride it in the spring with ease. You stay out of the gym for the winter and you will have more than a little rust to shake off. There are two main reasons for this:
- The loss of physical strength and stamina due to inactivity/inconsistency should be a huge motivator for people with health and fitness or martial arts goals. Studies show that it can take as little as 2 weeks for your conditioning levels to plunge on a number of fronts! A few months of little to no training can undo months and months of prior work. Workout sessions that once seemed easy end up being incredibly challenging and frustrating after just a short period of time off.
- Meanwhile, progression in a sport such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu requires consistent work and focus to learn, polish, and fix techniques. It takes consistent up-keep of your body control and basics in order to focus on new techniques and positions. Purple belts need to be able to recall white belt and blue belt basics with no problem in order to focus on something more advanced.
So you must ask yourself: Why start over and “start training hard” every 6 months when you can stay at a reasonable and consistent pace, gradually improving all the time? Why worry about getting your wind back when you could be focusing on that new body movement or trying a kettlebell swing with a heavier weight than last week? Why worry about having your body be able to do a perfect basic arm bar because you keep taking time off, when you could be improving your guard game with more advanced sweeps? It seems like a simple answer to me.
NEVER LOOK BACK; MAINTAIN THE BASICS SO YOU CAN ALWAYS BE LOOKING FORWARD! And, if you have been out for awhile, make sure your plan to come back can be maintained over the long-term, not just for a few short months!