Don’t get frustrated on the mats (5 tips to help)

In my experience and through my student’s I find that people seem to get frustrated after they’ve had some success on the mats. Initially in our training we just accept that we’re going to get beaten over and over again. Then as we get better we start to raise the bar and our expectation for ourselves. Then it happens, we have an off day and we fall below this expectation we’ve set. The guy we controlled yesterday is all over us today. Last week we did 5 rounds and still had energy and today we were gasping for air after 2. We get off the mat frustrated and irritated. I’ve even seen some guys even lose sleep over it.

I’ve had several days like this over the years. Most of them I can directly attribute to diet. I remember once eating a greasy sandwich around 2pm and then feeling like I had a brick in my stomach at 8pm during rolling. I seriously felt like I couldn’t move. At one point I remember being inside my partner’s guard just staring at him, frustrated. Normally I could blow past his guard. During this roll I couldn’t even break it. Needless to say after training that night I was just fuming. This is back almost 9 ten years ago. Then there were days where my training partner was just on, he was feeling it that day and I wasn’t. The absolute worst cases for me came when I would get frustrated during a roll or match and would become angry. Not angry at my partner but at myself. Kind of like, “Why am I sucking so badly today!?” These are the worst because if you lose your mental composure during a roll or match, it’s hard to regain it. I’ve found that the more irritated or frustrated I become, the sloppier I get.

There are lots of reasons as to why you might have an off day. Below I’ve written 5 things to consider or remember to help prevent the frustration we might experience from a training session where we didn’t perform at our best. You can prevent some bad performances but it’s impossible from preventing all of them. You’re going to have a rough day on the mat at some point. Just keep in mind that there aren’t bad days in the gym. Yeah, you may have been beaten and performed well under your normal ability, but that was still time in the gym. You were still healthy and able to train and even if you don’t feel like it, you’re growing and progressing as a BJJ practitioner. Sometimes more than you know.

 

 

  1. Bad food - Diet is huge for training. You’re asking your body to perform like a high performance vehicle. High performance vehicles require high performance fuel. Think of your body like a machine and give it what it needs. Good nutrition is crucial for getting the most out of your training.
  2. Stay hydrated - Dehydration has to be the no. 1 reason I see people become sluggish in the gym. I know it’s my main reason. Sometimes we just get side tracked with things throughout the day and we don’t get properly hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day and coconut water before training isn’t a bad idea. Especially when it warms up in the summer. Performance suffers from even a minor amount of dehydration. Oh and on the subject of liquids. Stop drinking sugary energy drinks! They’re garbage and they aren’t good for you. If you need a pick-me-up, grab an espresso.
  3. Don’t be a dick – If you are surrounded by tough guys that push you and are competitive on your best days, then you have to expect that on some days they are going to have your number. To be honest, it’s kind of rude to come in to the gym with an air of superiority. Like you are somehow better and shouldn’t lose to one of your training partners, or that once you progress past them that they will not be able to catch up. Don’t be a dick. If you lose to you training partners, even if you beat them all over the mat yesterday, just accept it and move on. If you have any reoccurring themes or mistakes, pin point them and fix them
  4. Lower Belts – Something to also keep in mind is that the lower the belt level, the worse the bad days are. Once you are a higher belt you typically possess a nice buffer of skill to fall back on if you are just not feeling it. For example, even if I feel like crap I can still control a blue belt pretty easily. But if you are a blue belt and you are off, you won’t have that same amount of skill and you probably won’t fare so well against the same blue belt that I controlled so easily.
  5. Calm Down - If you find yourself getting flustered you need to calm yourself down. If you get frustrated to the point that you mentally break and just get angry, you’re cooked. This will only lead to more irritation. If you find yourself getting to that point, get up and take a deep breath and a water break, and then come back. If this happens during a match or roll, take a deep breath and remember that getting angry won’t help anything. You must keep your composure in BJJ. If you cannot control the mental you’ll fail with the physical.

 

I hope some of this stuff helps if you’re having an off day. I know these things have helped me and have helped my students over the years.

 

As always,

Thanks for reading!

Chewy

Wrestling tie up with butterfly guard sweep

This is a butterfly guard sweep against an opponent who is focusing their grips on both knees. Instead of using a under hook or over hook to sweep, I use a sort of steering wheel tie up. In my experience, the sweep works well because most people feel comfortable when they have the grips and I don’t have a strong under hook or over hook. There is some timing involved with it, so it will require some reps before you start using it during rolling.

Cooking with Chewy (how to make lunches for the week in an hour)

Cooking with Chewy

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So my blog about going to the grocery got a bit of attention and one of my students asked if I would post something about how to cook. His dilemma he says is that he can’t cook. The grocery article stressed that eating healthy foods can be easy and this post will be about how you can cook food fairly simply.

Please bear with me as my cooking abilities are more akin to The Swedish Chef than a gourmet chef.

 

First we need the food!

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-1lbs grass fed beef (fat % is your choice)

-1 ½ cup of dry quinoa (I’m using a mixture of red and white in the photo)

-1lbs bag of chopped bell peppers (you can opt for freshly chopped. I buy the frozen at times for convenience. If you do buy frozen vegetables, be sure there are no preservatives or flavors added.)

-10 baby mushrooms

-Misc. Coconut oil, yellow curry powder, pink salt

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* 1lbs of brussells sprouts and broccoli florets.

*4 cloves of freshly chopped garlic.

 

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I typically start by getting the water for my vegetables (kettle) and quinoa(pan) ready. If you’ve never cooked quinoa before, no worries, it’s really simple. It’s two parts water and one part quinoa. For example, since I was cooking 1 ½ cups of dry quinoa. I brought 3 cups of water to boil. So when you’re cooking, double the amount of water you use in relation to the quinoa.

 

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After the water is on the stove I move over to a large pan for the beef or whichever meat I decide to use. I like starting with a spoonful of coconut oil and throwing the fresh garlic on the pan. After a couple of minutes I will throw the meat onto the pan. Since I was using beef, once on the pan I began to chop it up with the spatula and added the yellow curry powder.

 

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Once the water is at a boil I’ll throw the quinoa in, cover the pan and lower the heat. Once this is done it typically takes around 12 minutes before the quinoa has absorbed the water.

 

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Once the beef is browning and getting closed to finished I will add the frozen peppers and mushrooms. I don’t want them to be super cooked because I will be reheating these meals. I find that cooking vegetables and peppers less makes them taste better when I reheat the meals.

 

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It doesn’t take a long time and then the peppers will soften and the final product looks like this. . .

 

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By now the quinoa should be ready and will look something like this. Move around the quinoa to ensure there isn’t much water left. If there is a little bit, its ok, just sit the hot pan to the side and it will absorb any remaining water. If there is a lot, then continue to cook. Otherwise you probably added too much and need to drain some out of the pan.

 

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With the vegetables, again, I don’t want to cook them too much as they tend to get soggy upon reheating. So I will place them in another pan on the stove and pour the boiling water from the kettle on top of them. I leave them in the water for around 2 minutes and then drain the water and put them into a bowl before I pack them up for the week. This cooks them but keeps them from being mushy when heating.

 

 

After this is done you’re ready to put all the food into containers for the week. You can use for tupperware and I’ve even seen people use little zip lock bags to hold and then pour the food onto a plate or bowl before heating. That’s really up to you. This process took less than an hour and I also have chicken and other vegetables that I didn’t show in this blog that were cooked in the same time frame. So in an hour I have enough food to provide lunches for the rest of the week. Plus it wasn’t difficult, so even if your culinary skills are subpar you can still cook well enough to provide yourself with healthy options during the week.

Again I hope this blog helps you eat healthier which in turn will help you train harder. Good luck!

 

As always,

Thanks for reading!

Chewy

 

Grocery Day with Chewy, simple dieting advice to lose weight and train hard!

Grocery Day with Chewy, simple dieting advice to lose weight and train hard!

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A common subject I get asked about by my students concerns dieting and what to eat to lose weight and have energy to train hard. Many people seem really confused about what to eat and are overwhelmed with all the different diets or data out there. I typically give very similar advice to anyone who asks. Now before I continue I will stress that this is what works best for me and I am not some super dieting guru. I don’t track everything to a T, but I have changed my body drastically over the years.

 

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(The advice I list below is what I used when I lost weight for my MMA fight)

 

KISS

Keep it simple stupid, you know, the KISS method! Seriously though, when deciding on a diet it’s really important to make it easy to follow. I promise, eating healthy doesn’t have to be that complicated. There are people I know who can successfully count calories and micro manage their intake. But for me, and for most people, that just doesn’t work, so I keep it simple and make easy to stick with. In this post I’m going to share the basic idea of the diet that I am following currently.

 

Eat real food

Eat whole foods. You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods but you need to eat them. This means things you actually have to cook. As a general rule I try to steer clear of processed pre-made items. There are exceptions of course, like protein powders and supplements, but when you make your food you have greater control over what you’re putting into your body.

 

Prepare food in advance

I make all of my lunches and dinners for Monday-Friday on Sunday. This allows me fast access to good food throughout the day. I’m a fat boy at heart and if I don’t have something to satisfy my hunger I will slip up and eat something that I probably shouldn’t. So I find it really important to have my meals ready for lunch time and especially post training. I really don’t like cooking after I just finished a hard training session.

When selecting what I want to put on my plate throughout the week I break it down into 3 categories, a protein source, a carbohydrate source, and green veggies.  Now I know that the 3 macro nutrients are Protein, Carbs and Fats and obviously green veggies are not fats. I do make sure to get a fair amount of good fats from the meat I take in as well as fish oil, coconut oil and nuts.

 

Below are pictures from grocery day last Sunday

 

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(Grass fed beef, chicken and a little chorizo for breakfast. Chorizo makes an omelet awesome)

 

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(This week is mostly quinoa but I threw in some sweet potatoes to mix it up a bit)

 

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(You can buy fresh or frozen veggies. I use spinach with just about anything, and I really load up on asparagus and sprouts during my meals. I honestly just like the taste and I don’t think anyone has ever become overweight from eating too many leafy greens or green vegetables. I also put chopped frozen peppers with my meat. It’s not a green vegetable but it made it into the picture.)

 

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(I really like greek yogurt with berries and walnuts for a snack. Peanut butter or almond butter is also a solid snack that goes well with fruit or a protein shake if you need something quick.)

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(If any of my students have passed by my office after training and smelled something. This is probably the culprit. I love this stuff and use it on my meat when I cook. Its sooo good.)

 

*Side note. I did not take pictures of all the food I bought. Some of things I did not take pictures of were almond-coconut milk, eggs, garlic, apples, oranges, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, squash, honey, and coffee.

Common objections to eating this way:

It costs too much

I bought all the food I needed for a week for around $100. This includes breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks as well as another meal once I get home at night for each day of the week. I could probably cut the cost a bit if I chose to go with cheaper crappy coffee or meat, but I refuse. People spend lots of money on their cars, fancy electronic gadgets, training gear, etc. I think we owe it to our body to treat it well and spend a little on food. I mean if you aren’t healthy then the rest of those things are going to be a lot less enjoyable.

 

I don’t have time to cook

On Sunday it takes me between 45 minutes to an hour to prepare 10 meals plus snacks for the week. You don’t have an hour? Step away from the t.v for a bit.

 

 

I hope this post helps you in your quest for a better diet that will help you on your journey to being a healthier version of yourself. Be sure to listen to your body and how it reacts to certain things and take note of how you feel while eating the foods. When I eat the food that I listed above I feel great. I have energy throughout the day, I don’t get sleepy and I am able to train hard. However some of the foods I listed may not suit your body and you will need to adjust accordingly.

Again, there are numerous diets and eating plans out there with the next big thing. But in my opinion if you’re new to dieting and trying to ease into eating healthier, you can’t go wrong by starting with eating whole foods that you have prepared yourself.

 

As always,

Thanks for reading

Chewy