I recently came back from Europe and felt just clobbered by the 9 hour time difference the next day (being wide awake from 2 am onwards didn’t help either). But I was really missing jiu-jitsu, so I made sure to get in a training session while stumbling from task to task.
Was it an epic workout with 110% intensity? Not so much… It was a very controlled roll, focussing on just a few positions, with lots of discussion and analysis breaks.
Something is better than nothing.
After that workout I shot a video on the topic of training when tired.
In it I talked about how to decide whether to train on days you’re so tired you can’t see straight. I also covered some concrete examples of how to modify your training if you do decide to go to the gym exhausted. And finally I shared a trick I often use to get me motivated on days when I just don’t feel like training.
The funny thing is that when it came time to upload that video to Youtube I was so tired I accidentally split it up into two separate videos.
Oh well, if finding out that I uploaded two shorter videos instead of one longer video is the worst that happens to me today then I figure it’s still a pretty good day.
If you often find yourself not getting enough sleep but still wanting to train then I think these two videos (part 1 and part 2) might be useful!
(By the way – I’m fully aware that some of my advice contradicts what I said a long time ago in my Dojo of the Rising Sun article years ago – that approach led to a pinched nerve in my neck because of overtraining. Today’s advice comes from trying to learn from my mistakes and then passing that information on to you. Or, like the classic quote goes, “Take my advice, I’m not using it!”)
Here’s the one video I accidentally split into two:
If you don’t have time to watch the videos then the takehome message is that yes, in general I think it’s OK to train when you’re tired. But only if you’re NOT to train hard on these days!
There definitely are times to push it and take it right to the limit. You need those all out, 100% effort sessions once in a while if you want to get better.
But if you do that killer workout after getting 3 hours of sleep then you’ve just hugely increased your chances of getting injured.
Avoiding injury is a HUGE part of getting better. And so taking it easy is perfectly OK once in a while. Do some light rolling or easy drilling to get some mat time in, and resist the temptation to start dialling up the intensity mid workout. Have that crazy dogfight of a roll some other day, OK?