“The First Part of Training is the Sleeping”


I had a nagging sinus cold for most of December. Right after Christmas, and just in time to ruin New Years Eve, this sinus cold was replaced by a wicked little flu that totally knocked me out.

In the midst of all this illness and contagion I was working hard on lots of individual projects, including preparing an interview I did with Marcio Feitosa, the head instructor of Gracie Barra in Brazil.

When I listened to the interview again I was particularly struck by something I’d missed the first time. Marcio said:

“You might have a good training routine worked out, but listen to your body. If you didn’t sleep well this week then you can’t do as much as you did last week. The first part of training is the sleeping. If you don’t sleep you can’t do anything, unless you are using chemicals and steroids.”

There it was, in black and white. In my mad attempt to get everything done I had been burning the candle at both ends, staying up too late and getting up too early.

My month of illness was my body’s not-so-subtle reminder that I needed more sleep and more rest. I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions, but I hereby resolve to get more sleep in the next month, because I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!!

There is a certain irony in the fact that I have been preaching the importance of sleep and recovery for years; I even wrote a whole article on the topic of overtraining and how to prevent it in martial arts.

Don’t you hate it when someone points out that you should take your own advice?

P.S.  You think that 8 hours is enough?  That may not be right… Check out the article I wrote called ‘More Sleeping.’

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