In my early years as a blue belt, I was content with training just twice a week. Further in, however, I started to feel a prick of jealousy seeing other folks progressing faster than me. I tried not to compare myself, but I couldn’t help but notice that one of the major differences was that they trained more often than I did..
Now, fast forward to later in my time as a blue belt. Not only did I train a minimum of five days a week, but there were also days I had two training sessions. It was one of the most joyous, BJJ-focused times in my life. During that time, I learned a few things that I’d like to share.
Things to consider
If you’re thinking of increasing your BJJ training time, the most important thing you’ll need to recognize is the reason you want to increase your time on the mats. We’re all familiar with the ups and downs of BJJ – changing your routine will push those ups and downs more towards their extremes.
Some things you might want to consider:
- What’s the story I want to tell at the end of this journey? Changing your training routine reflects a change you’re making in yourself. Having the end in mind can help clarify your purpose and keep you motivated when you hit those troughs we all experience in training.
- Is this something I have the capacity to navigate right now? It can help to think about your personal and work obligations, as well as your physical or financial limitations. For example, it might not be the best time to change your schedule if you have a lot of travel planned or are still recovering from an injury.
- What am I willing to live with? Just like the law of the conservation of energy, time isn’t created out of thin air – it has to come from somewhere. Are you willing to take from the time usually spent with friends and loved ones? What sacrifices are you willing to make?
Depending on your goals (i.e. the answers to the questions above) and your personality, you may decide to take an all-in approach or a gradual approach to increase your BJJ training time.
All-in: Train everyday for at least two weeks
Taking this approach can be beneficial if you’re not great with moderation and have a lot of free time, enough money, few obligations, and good health. You’ll learn rapidly what needs to be adjusted. For example, I found myself doing laundry more often and learned how to simplify that, as well as other daily routines so I could save my energy for BJJ. You need to find a routine that works for you.
Gradual: Over the course of one month, increase your training by one hour/session each week.
If you like to change things slowly and are diligent in taking stock of those changes over time, I’d recommend trying this approach. You’ll be able to focus on a specific aspect with each new change. I used to train on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When I added a Wednesday session, I learned that I had to think about recovery. Later when I added a Monday session, I needed to utilize Sundays more for things like meal prep for the week.
The beauty of making time to train more is that regardless of the approach you decide to take, you will undoubtedly learn more about not just BJJ, but also yourself.
About the author: Jess is a light feather purple belt based in Brooklyn, NY. More thoughts on BJJ, including her Training Without A Gym technique series, can be found on her blog Rolling With the Big Boys.