Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter Cascao Vital. He runs Cascao Evolution BJJ out of Las Vegas nv.
Back in the day not too long ago, people used to have the mind set that the high school and college years were the time for peak performance in athletics. Well, real world results have proven that theory wrong. Michael Jordan (Basketball), Lance Armstrong (Cycling), Brian Shaw (Strongman), Royler Gracie (BJJ), Randy Couture (MMA), Michael Phelps (Swimming), and Tom Brady (Football), are all examples of peak performance past the age of thirty. If your goal is to continue and extend your athletic prime, we do need to delve into the adjustments and strategies that grapplers over 30 need to make.
Strategy number one, include active recovery methods that go beyond just having a day off at the gym.
Massage, cupping, sauna, hot baths, cold baths, cryotherapy and extra sleep are some of the methods used to help our body’s not only recover, but they also extend out to numerous health benefits. Some of these practices focus on increasing blood flow, while others work of reducing inflammation. In reality, you need both types. Sleep though above all is priority. Without enough sleep, no matter how many recovery methods you use, your body will not be able to heal and adapt.
Strategy number two, increase your durability and mobility.
This is where strength training comes into play. Resistance exercises increase your range of motion, bone density, strength, endurance and heart health, while dynamic stretching and dynamic movements contribute to better flexibility and mobility, which can reduce the risk of injury. It never hurts to include deadlifts, squats and presses into your routine. Kettle bells and plyometric exercises are also great additions for resistance training and can translate well for grapplers. As far as mobility and flexibility go, the many types of yoga can definitely help you there.
Strategy number three, cycle through your training intensity intelligently.
Older athletes fail to recognize that training at a high level of intensity too often can lead to mental burnout and physical injuries. Program out not only how many days you are going to train on the mats, but what intensities you are going to hit each workout. An example of a four times a week practitioner would be day 1 and 2, train with a medium intensity with drills, solid rolls, but with more of a flow then resistance. Day 3, train with a high intensity, drilling with a faster speed and less rest time, as well as rolling rounds with full resistance and a real sense of urgency with your escapes and attacks. Day 4, train with a light intensity with primarily drilling and technique refinement. Your body wont get as beat up and it forces you to make your training methods more well rounded.
Strategy number four, diet.
You are what you eat. Eat like shit and you will feel, look and perform like shit. The older you get, the more this holds true. You need enough calories to fuel your workouts. You need enough proteins to repair and build the muscles needed to train, and you need healthy fats for hormone development. Throw in fruits and veggies on the plate and wash it down with lots of water and you will definitely have a solid nutritional base.
Once you hit 30 years of age, you are far from physical peak, but recovery takes a bit longer and wear and tear can start to add up. The solution is a multi front strategy, which include adding a few active recovery methods, putting in resistance and mobility training along with varying the training intensity from session to session. Top these strategies off with a clean whole food diet minimized of processed food and enough fuel and protein and you might have the opportunity to spend another decade rising up to your true athletic peak.
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