Training less for more and the law of diminishing return.
Shitty rolls, drills that don’t make sense anymore, classes that could have gone better, lifting sessions that were less than optimal, or just general fatigue! We all encounter this once in a while. However, once in a while is too often unfortunately.
In almost any type of sports and everything you have to do to improve performance, there is the law of diminishing return, which states that as an investment in one goal increases, but other variables stay the same, the return on investment will eventually decline.
The first two years, you see progress, you lose weight, you get better all around. Ultimately though, you reach a point where your body doesn’t respond as quickly or at all. You get comfortable and use your best techniques. Most people make the most substantial gains during their first year of training. Inevitably, the gains slow as you reach a point your body has adapted to the stress you’ve placed on it, you use less energy, you start feeling like you can’t progress, enter the dreaded plateau. When you reach the dreaded plateau phase, it’s very tempting to increase the volume and just do more, invest more time in training.
The law of diminishing returns says otherwise, it may not be an effective strategy. Increasing training volume is in fact, how to apply the principle of progressive overload, but one that needs support and proper planning.
All around performance is multifactorial. Performance is a matter of habits, nutrition, strength training, periodization and planning. If one of these elements is not included, short or long term, something is bound to happen. Lady luck has nothing to do with it.
That something might be overtraining. I actually don’t believe in overtraining, I call it stupid planning. The problem with over training is that it doesn’t happen over night. You only realize it once it is well settled in and a few days rest won’t do shit all.
The hallmark of exercising too hard for too long is ”an unexpected drop in performance that is NOT reversed by brief rest periods,” explained Dr. Jack Raglin, a kinesiologist at Indiana University.
Very often, when I get to consult with new athletes, they want to include strength and conditioning 4 times a week while training BJJ 4-6 times a week. The main problem while I dig into the lifestyle, is that the audio doesn’t add up with the play book. The ultimate goal is to have some kind of balance.
First, nutrition has to be a pillar for it all. Second, your habits dictates how long and far you will go. For example, if you aren’t maximizing sleep, eventually, you will crash and burn.
Instead of trying to do as much as you can and see how long you can hold, why not try to find how little you can do and build from there? Doesn’t it make sense? Failure to plan is planning to fail.
Experts recommend periodization, a regimen that includes recovery time and is intended to prevent the symptoms of overtraining. Athletes are advised to alternate two-week cycles of hard and easier workouts, while gradually increasing the training volume until it peaks a few weeks before a major competition. Then the athlete tapers off, reducing the training to allow the muscles to recover from the stress. When done perfectly, you’ll be able to keep rolling and training.
You want to add strength training to your BJJ practice? You want to keep rolling 4-5 times a week? Start with the minimum and build your way up, instead of trying to do too much and be forced to take a break after a few months. Train smarter, not more.
It is very common to believe and follow the dogma that the more you do, the better you become. Textbook is the key, when all the conditions meet. The goal is to get near textbook perfect.