Injuries - Learning Lessons The Hard Way and How CBD Helped

Learning The Lesson The Hard Way
As I have continued to prepare for Masters No Gi Worlds, I’ve struggled with ‘designing’ my workouts appropriately. There are tons of detailed practice plans out there, developed by very experienced competitors of various ability levels, for me to crib from. Weight lifting, cardio, diet, drilling, full speed sparring…all of these factors are considered to be critical to timing your optimum performance potential for the second before the ref starts the action.

However, I haven’t (yet) seen too many practice charts that are specifically geared towards Masters athletes. I have come to believe that this is something that will change, though; with the ongoing dissemination of cutting edge nutrition, training, and recovery best practices, we will see more and more older athletes seeking to compete, and the appetite for age-specific training plans will increase. I can definitely add my own two cents for anyone seeking to write a pre-competition plan for Masters BJJ fighters, and that is this: if you are hurt, DON’T SPAR. I have had to learn this lesson the hard way, repeatedly, unfortunately; making the decision to rest an injury goes against everything I was taught.

The 'Warrior Code'
Coming from the world of wrestling, the thought of not practicing because you were hurt was unheard of. “Everybody is hurt, dude. Get out there,” is what you will likely hear from your coach if you try to tell him you can’t complete a workout. Not only did I hear it, I said it myself, many times, to kids I coached. This ‘warrior code’ way of dealing with injuries is just the way we rolled.
And, to be fair, if you are a seasoned athlete and training at least 3-4 times a week, you can probably work through most injuries right up until the age of 28 or so. (Not ALL injuries, but a lot.) With the explosion of knowledge about stretching and various recovery activities, younger fighters find a way to stay on the mats or in the ring. And, most active competitors have tended to come from this younger, extremely durable demographic group, so pre competition planning has focused upon them, and loaded their training plans up accordingly
It's Tough Getting Old
However, things are changing. There are a lot of guys still competing past the age of 28 now, and we don’t really ‘heal’, per se. We just kind of…stop working in certain ways. Knees stiffen up, shoulders ache, ribs are constantly sore…seems like it takes forever to get ‘better’ once we turn 40, especially if we don’t let an injury really rest. Sure, older guys do get hurt occasionally, but with wise management, we are seeing BJJ athletes competing at the Worlds level into their 50s. (With 4500 competitors at the last Masters Worlds Jiu Jitsu tournament, I don’t think that is really up for debate any more.)

Which brings me back to my earlier point: Masters athletes
must realize that we CAN’T spar full speed when we are hurt and expect to get better. I was reminded of this just last month, as I had a partially separated shoulder occur in training, just five weeks out from No Gi Worlds. It was very, very sore, and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be ready if I didn’t keep sparring and drilling. If I had been 28 again, it would have been a no brainer—slather on the CannaBody and get on the mats. Instead, at 50, I slathered on the CannaBody and did as much strength and conditioning as I could, so that when I did get back to practice I would have limited my backsliding. It was a hard choice, and frustrating, but I really had no option. 50 year olds simply can’t train while hurt, no matter how mentally tough they are.

Heal Without Losing Everything
Yes, it is tough taking a step back to heal, especially when a competition is coming up. Here are a few things to help with your recovery without losing everything you've worked so hard for and ensure you're still ready for competition.
  • Keep up your cardio! Find low impact activities that push your cardio and avoid bothering your specific injury. (Swimming is ideal)
  • RICE. Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.
  • CANNABODY! Massage CannaBody in and around your injuries to reduce pain, cut inflammation, and to accelerate healing.
  • Continue to strengthen. Obviously don't irritate your injury, but keep your strength up even if it means lifting with your healthy arm only if you have an injured arm. (Strength can transfer!)
On To Worlds
I’m just grateful that CannaBody was around to speed up that healing process. After four weeks of daily use, my shoulder truly feels 90% repaired, and I will be ready to battle for gold at IBJJF No-gi Worlds in five days. But, no matter how great CBDs are, they can only do so much. Admitting that our bodies are just not what they once were is absolutely critical for those of us who want to keep competing. There is a long line of guys that have missed big matches or tourneys because they just couldn’t admit that age catches us all…

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