Last time I mentioned I dropped to under 100kg but it was short lived. Within two weeks of achieving my then ultimate goal I injured myself. It wasn't a bad injury but had me out for about 10 days. I had developed a pattern of eating that helped fuel my six days of training as well as lose weight. When the training stopped I didn't alter how much I ate.
This is a critical component of your diet plan. You need to have two different eating habits that you can interchange at will. The first is for your normal workload, ie when you are at full swing with high intensity training. The second is with little to no exercise for when you are injured, having a rest week, or are sick.
As I've been doing this for several years via trial and error all I have to do is mentally flick the switch. But when you are starting it will take effort. I tend to eat similar meals each day. I have the same breakfast each morning, a small range of different meals for lunch and the same again for dinner. I have a range of snacks during the day. By doing this it is simple to go from training to no training.
For example, my breakfast generally consists of four Weet-Bix and skim milk. In weight watchers terms this is 10 points. When I am injured I switch to my backup breakfast of two slices of whole grain bread, butter and jam. This is 6 weight watchers points. Lunch is the same. Instead of a 10 to 12 point meal I have a 6 to 10 point one. You don't have to be on weight watchers to do this but do need to know which meals have more calories so you can change to the lower valued ones.
So after I recovered I was around 104kg. Still a long way from where I started at 175kg. I was practically at my goal so relaxed a little. I knew I could take it off and keep it off, and I fluctuated between 100kg and 107kg for the next year. Everything changed when I went in for the first of two surgeries in the year. To read about it and how to manage your time off training please click here.
Sitting on the sidelines for months while recovering was the hardest thing I had to endure. It was tough to keep still and not participate but even tougher mentally to keep focus. There were entire classes that slipped by with thoughts of not coming back tomorrow or for a few weeks. The reason I kept coming in was I focused on what I wanted, which was to return stronger and advance through the system. Aligning everything back to my goals and motivation kept my legs dragging into the gym every day. I didn't realise it at the time but I was building my mental stamina right along with repairing my body. That mental agility helped me through my second surgery (which took place while I was still recovering from the first) and once I got back into training it aided the grind back to my previous level.
Since then I have won a few BJJ titles and gained a new belt but my weight is still a constant combatant. Right now I am fluctuating between 108kg and 112kg. The upper limit I set for myself is 112.5kg so its time for a new goal and motivation.
The weight divisions for BJJ basically stop at 97kg and anyone heavier is lumped into a single category. So while I am close to that, I am competing with guys upwards of 130kg. That is a huge difference and with my back and knee issues is too much. Age is also a factor. I can't change that but I can change my weight bracket.
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I need for fighting in an Octagon
To help me get there I am stepping things up a bit and will utilise our strength and conditioning experts to push my body's boundaries. I have started increasing my flexibility, which is already quite good, and if you have been reading this blog regularly you'll know I've recently cut out my caffeine/sugar intake. Click here to see how that is going.
So onto the lessons this time.
- The path is hard but manageable. Stick with it and surround yourself with people that can guide you
- Understand sufficient food for training and sufficient food for rest vary greatly, and plan accordingly
- Re-evaluate your goals along the way. Once you are close to the destination figure out if there is a more distant end point to strive for now you have the blueprint for success
- Ageing never stops and can alter what you can achieve, and changes what your body can handle. Listen to what your body tells you but fight it into the best shape possible
- Be realistic. Starting a professional MMA career at 40 isn't likely, but having a strong amateur career is achievable
- In the final strides to your goals seek additional help. This is the hardest part and you generally need to mix things up
- Tell others about your goals, not only so they can aid where possible but as a motivator and external check. If you keep secret goals only you know when you fail or make it easier on yourself. The other danger is setting a goal that is too difficult or dangerous and others can reel you in