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Committing to Train

Thanks to work and family issues, I’m not 100% sure I can get to the European Championships in January. Nonetheless I’m training like I will go and I’ll know if I can get there or not in early January. Things are not going well however.

Firstly, I’m frickin huge. Well, not huge but bigger than last year. As part of my rehab during the summer I added more mass to my upper body. essentially I needed armour around my neck so I worked a lot on that. The result? According to my training log, this time last year I was 83.5kgs wearing the gi, and over the 6 following weeks in December and January I dieted to make weight for the sub 81kg category. This morning I was 86.6kgs. As a rough estimate I’m 10-12% bodyfat which is around the same as last year so year on year I’m in the region of 3kgs more muscular. That sounds cool and I’m not all that unhappy but it does put me into the -88kgs weight class now. It’s not a huge issue and I have competed at this weight before but coming from the boxing/MMA standpoint of lighter is better it’s difficult not to be bothered a bit.

Secondly, and more importantly, I’m busier than ever. I know it’s a recession and blah blah blah, but I really am very busy. Once my old business closed, I moped for a few weeks but still found time to open the new place. Then I moped for another while. I mean I was “working”, coaching in my own place, but I wasn’t really working at anything like growing the gym, my own professional development and the like. One day my 6 year old son walked into my garage/office (too cold to sit in these days, I’m writing this in my kitchen/office) and said “why are you sad Dad?” I was just looking at the computer screen. I think I was supposed to be working. Talk about a kick up the hole. And quite literally, that was the end of that. I quit working for the day and went playing football with him, and the next morning I sat down at my desk and wrote a proposal I’d been thinking about for 4 years but never had the time to put into place. I made a phone call the same day. One week later I had that job. Another one followed and in 2012 there might be another. Crazy. All of this work involves me doing things I love to do, and while the money isn’t going to make anyone envious, it’s a trade off between larger wages and enjoyable work. I’ve always chosen the latter since I’ve had the choice.

Another trade off is less training time though. In August I was averaging 10-12 hours per week on the mat. That was great. But now I’m down to approximately 6 -8 hours if I’m lucky. Now I know some of you are sitting at home thinking that you’d kill to have the time for 6 hours training a week, and are probably cursing me, but when you’re used to 12, it seems like a big drop-off. So I’ve had to become more efficient, which brings us to the blog title.

Now I’m not saying I’m good at this myself, but I am good at getting others to do it. It’s physician heal thyself when I go to try to manage my own training sometimes. Anyway, here’s what I’ve done because I have limited time.

Firstly, I looked at the hours I could definitely train. For me it was Wednesday morning, Wednesday night, and Friday night. That was all. Every other weeknight and morning was taken up with family or work engagements. Once I identified these, I committed absolutely never to miss one of these sessions. Since then I’ve missed one Wednesday morning in 6 weeks thanks to a minor injury. On 2 occasions, the Friday session hasn’t run so no training was unavoidable. Now when I say I committed, I mean I told everything else in life to go fuck a duck on those days. I mean it. Now my wife would never ask me to stay off training and watch a movie, but if she did, I would politely remind her of my commitment. If someone requested a Wednesday morning meeting, I would shift them to Wednesday lunchtime. If there was a night out with my friends, I would tell them I’ll meet them afterwards. I have every other night for that stuff and training means a lot to me.

Secondly, I identified every other session I might be able to make on some days and weeks. For me these were Friday morning, Saturday afternoon, Monday morning and Monday night. I went so far as to write them down and I NEVER write stuff down. They’re not even on the back of an envelope- they’re on my noticeboard. I committed to making at least one of those per week. Quite often I make as many as 3.

Thirdly, and this is nothing new, I do this anyway, I decided never to turn down an opportunity to be on the mat with people, even if I wasn’t 100% capable of training. If some guys are meeting in the gym I want to be there to watch even if I’m injured, tired or sore. Sure this can be frustrating but you never know what you might pick up from watching people train and share tips. Sometimes watching matches can be great training, and often I’ve figured out what I was doing wrong with a particular guard pass or sweep by watching others either do it successfully or even fail at it. Also, you never know how you might feel once you arrive, you may end up rolling.

Lastly, I promised myself that I would train hard no matter what happened- whether I was under pressure, under stress, whether only a few people had showed to training or whatever. Training is what I love so when I come into training I’m trying to leave my crap outside the door and to enjoy. It’s not easy, in fact this could be the hardest of the 4 things I’ve put in this post but it has to be done.

There you have it. i’m not one for inspirational quotes and blog posts, but maybe this one is practical more than inspirational.

Let me know how you get on, or if you do something else to plan your training.

See you on the mat,



2 thoughts on “Committing to Train

  1. Great post Barry! Hope you can swing things for the euro’s.

    Posted by Joey Breslin | December 6, 2011, 11:12 pm

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