100 Days Out From The Jiu Jitsu Masters World Championships

I’m Jim, and welcome to my blog as I prepare to compete in the 2017 International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (IBJJF) No-Gi Masters World Championships.  Today is September 7, exactly 100 days from the date of the competition, and I will be writing several times over the coming weeks about what I am doing to prepare.   Like a lot of Masters competitors, I’m looking for ways to extend my career and enhance my performance; yoga, TRT, extra strength and conditioning workouts and a strict diet have all been helpful to me.  For the first time, I will be using CannaBody as a way to manage pain and enhance recovery, and I am looking forward to the experience.

As we grow older, those of us with sedentary jobs are challenged to stay fit.  Often, people on the north side of 40 are entering into management positions with additional levels of responsibility and expectations, or are busy with raising children, which makes it hard to avoid putting on pounds.   If you get time to eat, you often eat poorly; working out starts to get sacrificed, and pretty soon you aren’t going anymore.  Before you know it, you have a DadBod, which can (and should!) cause you to reevaluate some things.

I had my own moment of truth at my daughter’s birthday party about five years ago.  I had been an athlete most of my life, competing as a wrestler almost up until my 40th birthday.  That is a really difficult sport to train in, even as a young man; for someone in their 30s (and older), you better be doing a lot of conditioning and maintenance in order to keep up.  I, of course, didn’t; I would just show up three times a week, spar with guys a lot younger/bigger/stronger than I am (further destroying my fragile shoulders), and then go home and numb myself with Coors Light.   As I continued to drink like I was still working out, I eventually morphed into a doughy, unhappy person.  The photo of me leaning over to light the birthday candles on my little girl’s cake revealed my first real gut; not massive, but impossible to ignore anymore.

I had always been that guy others came to for workout advice; especially as healthcare continues to become more expensive, almost everyone I know talks about trying to get in better shape.   Seeing my first beer belly at 40 was like a bomb going off in my self-esteem.  Shit needed to change; I knew I needed to be strong and capable in order to deal with stress, to fight off depression, and to be able to continue as an athlete.  But most importantly, I want to be a great example to my kids, so that they do not think it is normal for all middle aged men to have a gigantic paunch hanging off them.

I cut out drinking and started to do some exercising, but I was missing the combat I had loved in wrestling.  I finally got healthy enough to try a different grappling sport, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which satisfied my personal desire for intensity, competition, and physicality.   This allowed me  to challenge myself and grind towards some personal goals, despite (usually) being the oldest guy on the mats. 

And so, here I am, a serious BJJ athlete with very ambitious personal goals.  I have learned, though, that I’m no kid anymore; I need to change my way of approaching training if I am going to be able to continue with this.  I’m still attacking my workouts, though, and competing hard.  I have had a lot of success…but I wanted to win at a higher level.  In 2015, I set a goal to be a World Champion, and thus far I have come close, winning Four World Silvers.  You’d think that would be satisfying, but…I want more.  I want that Gold, and in all four of my losses in the Finals, I was not the more conditioned or powerful athlete.  I started working with a trainer, and pulling back on sparring rounds so I had enough energy to complete those strength and conditioning sessions.  I have begun TRT, as well, with the goal of increasing my recovery time.  (I REALLY want that gold medal.)

 

Maybe a stupid medal is a dumb reason to do all of this.  A better one would be to avoid injury, increase flexibility, and live a healthier life in general.  If I’m honest with myself, though, I’m just not ready to give up being competitive, and if that means I have to give up ice cream or try Pilates, I’ll do it.  I am exploring all the possible ways I can get better, and recovery seems more and more important in that.  Over the coming few months, as I prepare for Worlds, I am looking forward to seeing how CannaBody works for me.


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