If you’re doing a ‘real’ martial art then it’s going to involve some form of contact…
And if you’re doing any contact activity for long enough then, eventually, you’re going to get injured.
Now hopefully your injury won’t be anything serious; maybe just a sprain, a bad bruise, or a tweak that will heal quickly. But in the worst case scenario – especially if it’s a serious injury like an ACL tear or an injured back – then it’s going to take more time to heal.
Of course getting over the injury itself is the primary thing. With the help of the medical system, your chiropractors, massage therapists and Voodoo witch doctors you’ve somehow got to put Humpty Dumpty together again…
But there’s also an additional, hidden danger from major injuries. Something that could hugely increase how long it’ll be till you’re back on the mats at full effectiveness.
That hidden danger is gaining a ton of weight while you’re off injured.
It’s a question of calories consumed vs calories burned.
If you’re super-active with training then you’re using up a whole bunch of extra calories. In fact you probably need those calories to get through your training day.
But if you suddenly get injured then you’ll become less active and your metabolism will plummet for a while.
If you keep up the level of consumption that was required when you were training hard then – to put things bluntly – you’re going to get fat.
(Not to mention that a lot of people get depressed when they can’t train and actually increase the amount of calories they eat when they’re injured.)
It’s bad enough to have an unexpected layoff from training – you don’t want to compound the problem by now having to lose 10, 20 or even 40 lbs after the original injury is all healed up and you’re ready to start training again!
Say what you want about the importance of skill: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and all other real martial arts require at least some athleticism, and lugging around a spare tire on your waist is going to reduce that athleticism.
I’ve seen this happen to so many competitors, fighters and martial arts teachers that it’s ridiculous! They train for years, get injured, and then spend the next 5 years trying to get rid of their injury weight. Don’t let yourself get caught in this conundrum.
Avoiding injury-induced weight gain boils down to being being self aware, vigilant, and disciplined about your eating.
Reduce how much you eat and since you can’t focus on your training right now instead focus on getting quality calories with lots of nutrients, avoiding sugar-stuffed drinks and snacks like the plague.
Stay as active as you can. If your leg is injured you can’t roll or practice your flying roundhouse kicks, but perhaps you can still ride a bike or work your upper body with weights.
Also don’t succumb to a Netflix and Haagen Daz binge: do as much as you can to keep your head in the game. It’ll give you something to look forward to and stop you from the depressive eating trap.
Finally, on the same topic, here’s a quick video from my Youtube channel about not getting fat when you get injured.
(I put together this video together from some of my impromptu Snapchat broadcasts. Look me up – I’m “stephankesting” on Snapchat and I try to put out BJJ related content on there every day or two.)
Clearly this topic isn’t an isolated phenomenon; lots of people who watched the video shared their own struggles with weight gain after an injury in the comments section. Check out the video and the comments below it on Youtube by clicking here.