It's every athlete's nightmare: training extremely hard, being at your peak, and then getting injured and putting months of effort to waste, realizing that you were overdoing it. This is absolutely brutal if you're a fighter preparing for your shot at the title, yes—but every normal person also has their version of it, where an injury can throw a wrench in their plans to lose some weight, etc.
As a former athlete with a uniquely deep connection to his own body, Rickson Gracie has some advice for you to juggle the ideal and the not-so-ideal days, and keep your training flowing nicely. Here's what he told our team in a recent interview.
"When you're in a high-performance level, you should be concerned, even when you wake up, about your resting pulse, because that's gonna make a difference for your day's training. At the time I was competing, if I wake up with 54 heartbeats a minute, I was ready to go do anything I wanted from the day, doing sand dunes, hard training, couple of hours of training—whatever—and I feel like I would recover fast. If I wake up with 60, 62 heartbeats a minute, it seems like my body doesn't have the rest, or the time to recover it's supposed to have. So, on that day, I'm not gonna expose myself to overtraining. I will be practicing and allow myself just to cope with the movements and sweat a little bit, and plan myself some heavier training the next day.
"So, if you're not a high-performance athlete, you should have a moderate [?] exercise, you know? Go for a little run, or a little bike ride... Do training, but don't overdo it. And just keep the thing at a kind of medium level, for you to have the activity and bring the beneficial aspects of the activity, without the risk of overtraining. Because with the high-performance practice, you also have to have supplements, you have to have, like, recovery protocols, like massages and some kind of support from physicians, because anything can jeopardize a month or a year of training. If you overdo it, you can rip a ligament, you can become self-destructing, based on the emotion in your mind—'I wanna train hard.' And a lot of people pay for that, because they just allow themselves to follow their mind and not cope with the body, the protocols to protect, to keep the growing process. So everything has to be balanced. If you go for a medium, average practice, you just don't do too much. And if you wanna do too much, make sure you have support—medical, nutritional and physical support to be able to handle the pressure of high-performance training."