Training Jiu-Jitsu is important. How important it is to each individual is another story and thus, setting up an appropriate Jiu-Jitsu training plan will be largely influential in how effectively you can reach your goals.

The reality is that in we all want to be on the mats as much as possible. We strive for X amount of hours each week because we believe that the more hours we put in, the closer we will get to our goals. How much we actually train and how much we want to train, however, are two very different things.

Over the years, I have experimented with a lot of different training plans. I set aside a certain amount of hours each week and always adjust them depending on what I have going on in my life. I have found that of all measurable components, consistency is the most important to me. In order to maintain consistency, I try very hard to schedule my time so to limit disruptions in order to make a weekly goal more manageable and thus, more achievable. The end result is that no matter what is going on in my life, I am still on the mats 10+ hours (barring vacation or catastrophic injury).

Is Your Training Plan Wishful Thinking?

One obstacle I notice is that people tend to over-commit with their schedules. Wishful thinking overrides the reality of everybody’s situation because we think we need to over-shoot an estimate to make us feel better. The truth is, missing your desired amount of hours is far worse mentally than under-shooting and surpassing a lower amount of hours.
If, after making a “master schedule” (more on this later), one finds themselves with 10 hours left to train, the big mistake is to schedule 10 training hours. There are too many variables in life to commit ALL of your free time to training.
The problem with overcommitment is, just like budgeting money, you have to budget your time to plan for life getting in the way. This doesn’t mean to train less. It just means plan a little less and train anyway if nothing comes up.

Take this situation for example:

Person A has 10 extra hours each week to train. Person A is overzealous and is super committed to training. He schedules 6 days, 10 hours each week. For the month, this should equal to 24 days and 40 hours (given four weeks in a month… It’s February).
Week 1: All goes as planned. 6 days, 10 hours.
Week 2: Has to work late one day, only manages 5 days, 9 hours.
Week 3: Wedding to attend over a weekend. 3 days, 6 hours.
Week 4: Hungover from the wedding and misses the following training day. 5 days, 8 hours.
Person A MISSED a total of 5 days and 7 hours of training.
Person B has 10 extra hours each week to train. Person B loves to train but knows that his life is pretty happenstance. Things come up every now and again. He schedules 3 days and 6 hours each week. For the month, he plans 12 days, 24 hours.

Week 1: Just so happens nothing came up and he was able to train 6 days, 10 hours. A bonus 3 days and 4 hours.

Week 2: Has to work late one day but manages to get a couple of extra training days in 5 days, 9 hours.

Week 3: Wedding to attend over the weekend. 3 days, 6 hours.

Week 4: Hungover from wedding and misses a training day but gets in a couple of extra days: 5 days, 8 hours.

Person B trained a total of 19 days, 33 hours. The EXACT SAME as Person A, but who do you think feels better? One person missed his mark and the other totally exceeded expectations.

This is all part of goal setting that one can control. You can control for the unexpected to some extent if you set aside some time for the unexpected.
There is a psychological component to this strategy. If you continuously hit bonus training hours, you will feel immensely better about yourself and your accomplishments than if you continue to fall short. Remember that if your training plan is challenging but manageable, you will be in far better control than if your training plan is too difficult to manage consistently.

The Good Training Plan That You Follow is Better Than the Perfect Training Plan That You Don’t

What good is the perfect training plan if you can’t follow it? You could be on the most 100% scientifically backed, peer-reviewed diet plan, GUARANTEED to help you reach your nutritional goals. The only stipulation is that you MUST follow it 100%. Any deviation in the plan will result in failure. Imagine how hard it would be to adhere to this. Things come up in life. What if one day, you have to work overtime and have to settle for a granola bar instead of a home-cooked meal?
Or, you hit the snooze button one too many times and don’t get a chance to make your breakfast?

Photo by Mike Pesh Photographyd0d53603-65d3-431e-9e90-83207e4f9f8f_900

Life is constantly changing so therefore, we must adapt. What makes a program successful (beyond effectiveness and efficiency) then is how well you can adhere to it. The more strict a program is, the less likely you are to follow it. Research into adherence rates supports this claim. Such it is with the amount of hours you devote to training. If the amount of hours you plan is unrealistic and leaves you with next to no time for anything else, you will likely fail and feel horrible about it.

Here’s how I tell students to choose their training hours:

Set aside a master schedule and choose some times that you are ALWAYS available to train. A master schedule is simply a week-to-week schedule that allows you to set aside specific times and days to train. If it means waking up earlier to catch a morning class, then plan on waking up earlier. If it means asking for a shift to be covered or asking the boss if you can go home an hour later on XXXXXdays, then do it. Make training a priority especially if whatever else you have going on in your life can be negotiated. If everything else in your life is non-negotiable, then by default, training cannot be your priority. Adjust your hours accordingly.
The first and easiest way to set your hours accordingly is to be realistic. Don’t kid yourself. If you have other priorities in life, that is fine. Just understand and accept this and move forward. If Jiu-Jitsu is important to you, you will find a way to train. If it isn’t, well then you’ll continually wrestle with why the training hours you plan never align with the training hours you put in.

Does this post resonate with you? I would love to hear how life gets in the way of your training and how you respond to unforeseen circumstances. Please contact me using this form! And yes, I read and respond to all of my emails!

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