BJJ Grrl

"Be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically." ~Sensei Keiko Fukuda

My energy is on vacation…

on August 17, 2009

…and I wish it would come back. This is getting to be ri-dunk-ulous. Less than 5 minutes in to class, and I’m worn out. Gassed, no oxygen, quads burning, arms can’t hold me up, so slow. Even on nights that, logically, should be easier — fewer drills, fewer reps, rolling with the lighter guys. I feel a step or more behind the entire class and as if I’m back on my heels; can’t breathe, have no strength; scant moments when everything suddenly works right, but then right back where I was. This cannot be normal, and it certainly isn’t any good.

I’m sleeping more and feel like I’ve had plenty when I wake up; I’m even waking up naturally about 10 minutes before the alarm most mornings. I’m not hungry, except when I forget to eat; I’m doing 4-5 meals before class and 1 after. I have my protein shakes, I take my vitamins and other supplements. I drink boatloads of water during the day. I’ve even cut out two days of class to rest and recover. So why am I not recovering??!

Or am I missing something else? True, I keep falling off the wagon on tracking my food, so maybe I’m not getting enough calories — though I’ve been grabbing the most calorie-dense food I can find for the last few weeks (and more of it) and even adding extra protein shakes on the end of meals. I got a scale right before the NAGA in July and have been weighing myself every day: I fluctuate between 121 and 125 most days, with the body fat percentage and water percentage also fluctuating within a small range. (Most days it’s 123.4, which amuses me muchly.)

It’s downright annoying. And, as a result, I’m regressing back to my high school social skills, which consisted of hiding in the library. So I hardly even talk to anyone at class. I go, I lift semi-heavy stuff if I have a smidge of energy left, and usually leave right after. … … I don’t want to be like this, but I don’t know how to fix it because I don’t even know what’s wrong…

Anyway, enough moaning…


In case you couldn’t guess from the above, I gassed early in the warmup. We got to pushups, and my arms barely made all 20, though I was the last. We partnered up to do wheelbarrows down and back: you lock your guard, reversed, around your partner. I kept dropping even though I thought I had the guard pretty good. Could hardly stand up after the first trip down and back. Then we circled up and were supposed to do pushups; my arms would barely hold me, so I tried just holding a plank at first and eventually dropped to my knees and could get out some very slow pushups. While we did that, one person was running around the circle and jumping over everyone; I was last.

Then partnered to roll. Tim put me with one of the older kids. He’s apparently done some wrestling, since that’s all he wanted to do. My upper body is no match for his, so I tried to pull guard, but couldn’t; he’d snap my head to one side and grab my knee with the other hand and spin me to side control. Not that he knew what he was doing once we got to jiu-jitsu, but I just couldn’t keep up, couldn’t anticipate, couldn’t get my hips out, just couldn’t do anything. I did roll to turtle a few times, but that did no good: once he grabbed my feet and flipped me over, though mostly he’d dig his hands through and grab my chin and crank my neck around. Lovely. On one of those, he jerked me forward and squeezed my face into his stomach, approximating a guillotine, until I had to tap because I couldn’t breathe and was getting my neck cranked. Then back to wrestling. Did have one moment of intelligence when I did a hitchhiker escape nearly completely correctly (I think); think it surprised him, too, because he let go quick.

Another round, with Will. Ineffective against his open guard again; I couldn’t even keep pressure right and move right to get in to half guard, which I can usually at least get once. Got sucked in to a triangle and something else; couldn’t do anything to stop them. He let me have a double-under pass again, though he countered before I reached side control and swept me. Couldn’t do anything worth anything. Not even hands in the right place.

Drilling next. Move of the week: A choke or armbar from mount. Drilled with the little 14 year old. Brain wasn’t working at first; Adam showed me a few details I was missing, still no good in the brain department, so let the kid drill for a while. Tried again, and have it working somewhat. Drilled for a while.

Then to rolling. Tim put me with Adam first. And it’s like my brain and body suddenly switched on — I was moving without consciously thinking of what I needed to do, I was escaping and attacking and defending (and defending things I had no idea what was going on!) and somehow finding space and getting several “Good!”s throughout, I had energy and oxygen and everything. And I was getting really frustrated with my earlier lack of output: I just don’t want anyone there thinking I’m being lazy during the warmup & initial rolls and turning it up later; I’m not, I’m pushing with everything I feel I have, and yet I’m going nowhere. But then suddenly I have energy and mental jitsu to spare. Meh. Stop being so consistently inconsistent!

He caught me quick with a double-armbar and then started playing the inverted guard (is that what it’s called? Not remembering. Adam plays with it a lot, though.). Had some decent and quick attacks and escapes there. Trying to escape a impending triangle, I dropped myself into an omoplata; moved before I even recognized where I was, and even defended decently. Couldn’t quite get my base for a nonoplata, but did enough that he couldn’t get in position, then got my arm out. Defended D’Arces that he hadn’t even thrown yet; defended a kneebar; escaped mount several times. Who in the world is this rolling? It’s almost like she might know something.

(So do I need to switch my extra conditioning to before class — and include sprints or something — to wear myself out beforehand so the warmup coincides with my second wind?)

Then rolled twice with the little 14 year old. Trying to do what I did on Thursday, just move to positions that he knows, but I suddenly knew no positions. I couldn’t seem to do anything right. And I was thinking too of not just overpowering him, so I was trying to do less so I wouldn’t just muscle him around, and then I could do even less right. Didn’t even work side control bridge escape, which I’d meant to. Stayed on my back most of the time; did have a sweep from half guard to side control once, so worked on keeping side control without gripping anything (why? I dunno…), but even that didn’t last long as he was pushing and bucking around. Let him have several RNC and armbars from mount (including the one from class, twice! good) — he has a new fascination with armbars — though on one armbar I was defending just a little until he got his feet uncrossed and pinched in. He still tries this head-scissors thingy, which doesn’t seem to do anything. There was a new one, too, where my knee ended up between my eyes while he sat on my head. Not sure what that one is supposed to do, either.

Too tired — and too annoyed that the brain numbness came back — to do anything else afterward.

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4 responses to “My energy is on vacation…

  1. Rachael says:

    Hey, I had the same feelings of being tired and feeling a bit weak in the beggining, I changed my diet when i read a book by patrick Holford called optimum living made easy, it basically just helps you to make sure your taking in enough vitamins and has a good section on joint and bone health which I found useful for bjj. I feel like i have a lot more energy now, A bit of meditation/yoga/ginastica helps me to warm up and get in the right mind frame as sometimes I could get so stressed when I felt like I wasnt taking anything in. Hope you get your energy back soon, great writing style makes me feel I’m almost there watching 🙂

  2. leslie says:

    @Rachael: Thanks. I finally asked for help from my brother, who’s a sports nutrition specialist, and he’s going to have me eating more calories, specifically more carbs and fats. So, we’ll see how it does. 🙂

  3. […] was the same as last night. Justin pointed out a detail — before you start, pull out both the lapels on either side of […]

  4. […] and showed us to keep control of their head even until you’re stretching out the armbar, like the choke or armbar we did with the gi, so then we started locking up the arm and sitting back partially. We drilled for a long time, so […]

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