← Back to blog

Advice for your Jiu Jitsu New Year's Resolutions

Are you on social media? I realized yesterday chatting to my sister who is in her 50s, that she and I get versions of the same ad on our twitter timelines- she gets “Intermittent fasting for women in their 50s” with toned middle aged women, and I get the same ad but with men in their 40s with 6 packs. We both scroll on by but will soon meet another ad with a similar message- you’re fat, you’re not fit enough, you could be shredded. I’ve no doubt anyone of any age gets the same thing.

And bear in mind, it’s Christmas, so I’m usually reading this ad with a glass of wine in my hand and a handful of chocolates on my lap. This is a feast time, and I’m not going to waste any of it feeling guilty for feasting, so those ads get muted (but they always show back up). Screw those guys.

But I will start to work when January kicks in. I usually set myself a fitness or performance goal. It may be a tournament or event I want to be in good shape for, or it may be some personal goal, some small thing I’d like to do.

And I’ve got some advice for you if you’re in the same boat and want to do something in the early part of the year.

This one is for you if you’re changing your lifestyle. Maybe you’re going to start training for the first time. Maybe you’re going to kick on with more regular training. Whatever it is, I’ve seen a lot of ambitious plans hit the rocks. So here’s some tips.

Be ambitious long term, but realistic long term.

A good long term ambition would be “I want to get a black belt!”, but that’s pretty inconceivable on your first day’s training. An eye on the long term goal will keep you going, but the short term planning has to be something like- train 3 times per week all January. Small, short term, attainable.

Include/Exclude others in your plans.

“Hell is other people”. Sartre was a smart guy, if not a light read, and he was right about people. People can be a pain in the arse. Like the person who says something like “surely you can take one night off training?” We’ve all got mates who are great, but their lifestyle is not compatible with your Jiu Jitsu training, shall we say. I’ve got some advice that works for that sort of thing.

Lay down the law. “I train Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays”, and don’t give in on those days. Pretty soon, you’ll find the phone stops ringing on those days. People will get to know your schedule and how serious you are about it.

Don’t change everything at once.

One thing at a time. Don’t go switching up your diet and your schedule and your training and then crash out of everything in a few weeks. Focus on one thing first- my suggestion is to focus on getting to training regularly and consistently. Once you’ve done that, you might find you want to gain some muscle or lose some fat.

Build one new habit at a time.

Take it easy on yourself.

My mate, a dietician, told me about something he calls the biscuit phenomenon. If he’s working with someone who wants to lose weight, and they’re doing well, if they treat themselves to a biscuit, they throw the whole diet out the window and eat the whole pack. Why? Because once they broke the diet they think to hell with it all!

Don’t do that. If you miss a training session, or a week of training, or you have a bad weekend of eating and drinking, just get back on the bike at the next available opportunity. So many people do this and it’s frustrating as a coach. You see someone doing great, and then they miss a week and you don’t see them for 3 weeks.

Enjoy yourself.

Hey last thing I promise- Training of any kind should be good craic and an enjoyable challenge. Don’t take it as a hardship. Enjoy the people, the training, the craic on the mats before and after. Pretty soon, it won’t seem like a chore. And if it is still a chore, maybe it’s not for you. That’s okay too!

In any case, have a Happy New year, and I’ll see you on the mat really soon.



Want to read more?

Fill out the short form to subscribe to our mailing list