Training on holidays

Training on holidays
Yep, BJJ practitioners usually make poor holiday partners if your family is just into the ‘relax’ style of holiday. However, my wife knows now that if there is not a gym/sports-activity/beach with waves then the holiday will be a nightmare. So gratefully this holiday is all about sport, there is a gym and there is a mountain with snow. So firstly you need to think what you need to achieve with your training on holidays. For me, especially in a sporting holiday, then it’s all about warming up early in the day, focusing on vulnerable body areas and some short explosive strength combos.
My first stretch is stepping high and ducking under. This pretends there is a piece of wire strung about hip height on your right hand. You step up over the wire to the right and duck back under it to the left. I do about 20 of these and then repeat on the other side. I finish this off with 30-50 push-ups. Fortunately there is a rowing machine here. Again I just am focused on warming and stretching so I do five sets of 1 minute, 10 seconds hard and 50 seconds easy. This 5 minutes is ideal. Its enough to really stretch out all the main muscle groups and get them warm and ignited! Again I focus on the deep stretch forward and the long pull back in the slow period, and speed in the 10seconds. If there is no rower, I tend to use air squats and push-ups with 50 seconds air squats and 10 seconds pushups. In the gym here they have plenty of fixed machines of which I tend not to ever use. They are too focused on individual muscle groups, and for me are not very ‘bang for buck’ as far as training. I never use these in normal training anyway because of this!! Fortunately there are dumbells here to about 30kg. I use these like a kettle bell and just do single arm snatches, single armed cleans and thrusters. I do a few sets to prepare for the exercise and then hit out about three sets of each, with about 5-6 reps. I keep all this to a minimum as far as volume. The last thig you need is injury!! Finally I stretch my back. Here I have a roman chair, so I can do back extensions. If there is no roman chair I use planks and supermans on the floor. I can punch out this session in about 15-20 minutes and be back ready for breakfast as the team are still getting ready. As always my session is not the ‘be all or end all’ fabulous session, but I think no matter what you do:
1. Be safe and reduce volume and weight to prevent injury
2. Focus on the exercises that warm and stretch the bodyparts you are stressing
3. Keep it short

The ultimate training guide – part 1

There are many people who say they have the ultimate training techniques. In all, there is no one method of training. You really have to think about what your after from your training and work around it. Of course, training is sometimes limited by where you live and your access to coaching and equipment. I have made up some great routines with minimal equipment in some bizarre places, on barges in the middle of the ocean, jungle camps and inside deep diving chambers. I really think the best mode of training is whatever you happen to be doing. Almost everything improves you to an extent, but the real secret is you choosing what works best for you based on what you like, and what your sport requires. Over the years I have tried all sorts of regimes and equipment that was supposed to be better than the last.
However, here are my top five exercises.
1. The strict chin-up. Yes, no doubt the exercise that is the great leveller. You can either do them or not.
2. Squats. The squat rack is normally empty. For good reason too as these bad boys are the mainstay of my training. Strength is not just in the legs, but also deep core.
3. Deadlifts. Absolute must. Plenty of combos for this one and easy to do with massive strength gains.
4. Kettle-bells. Little packets of pain. Multiple uses with great core results. These are a must for anyone keen on BJJ
5. Spin class / RPM. This is maximal aerobic / strength work where you can smash yourself into the next life and really find your level of pain.
So over the coming weeks I will tease out the best parts for me of these wicked ways to train. My focus is on a high power to weight ratio and short endurance of 1-2hrs with maximal strength.Again, my tips will likely make no great difference, but might offer a few different options. So if you are just starting out, just watch some youtubes, or find someone on you mat to help you out. See you on the mats!!

Going Keto… Again

Getting back into a ketogenic diet in preparation for the Pan Ams in March, I’m working on taking the lessons learned from previous episodes to try and accelerate the process as much as possible.

One thing I’m doing differently is cutting right back on milk. I knew it was insulinogenic, but didn’t think at the volume I consume it would be much of an issue.

“Milk has a higher proportion of insulin calories compared to cheese. Butter and cream have a lower insulin load and proportion of insulinogenic calories.”


food ND % insulinogenic net carbs/100g insulin load  (g/100g) calories/100g
butter 0.09 0% 0 1 734
cream 0.08 5% 4 5 431
goat milk -0.05 40% 4 7 69
full cream milk -0.10 44% 5 7 65
low fat milk -0.12 58% 5 7 50
human milk -0.14 43% 7 8 71
reduced fat milk -0.13 59% 5 8 51

Another thing I am particularly aware of is the diuretic effect and the loss of electrolytes:

“When carbohydrate intake is restricted, 2 metabolic processes occur, both of which simultaneously reduce total body water content. The first process is mobilization of glycogen stores in liver and muscle. Each gram of glycogen is mobilized with approximately 2 g of water. The liver stores approximately 100 g of glycogen and muscle has 400 g of glycogen. Mobilization glycogen stores result in a weight loss of approximately 1 kg. Patients notice this change as a reduction in symptoms of “bloating” and are very pleased with the effect. The second process is generation of ketone bodies from catabolism of dietary and endogenous fat. Ketone bodies are filtered by the kidney as nonreabsorbable anions. Their presence in renal lumenal fluids increase distal sodium delivery to the lumen, and therefore increase renal sodium and water loss.”

“One group of investigators provided supplements containing 3–5 g sodium/d and 2–3 g potassium/d and found that circulatory competence during submaximal exercise was sustained. These supplements also allowed the subjects to achieve nitrogen balance, which had not been achieved in studies that did not use supplements.”

So that reinforces a focus on hydration, and also considerations for supplementing electrolytes, or at least salt.

On the topic of supplements, I have been using a ketogenic supplement of beta-hydroxybutrate in the form of KetoCaNa (trying the Strawberry Lemonade flavor for a change), but had also ordered some Perfect Keto Base (in the Chocolate Sea Salt flavour), which turns out is easy to drink, at least for beta-hydroxybutrate.

I had also tried some EAS Myoplex Ketogenic Powder Packets (in the Strawberry Banana flavour) as a meal replacement, but found these unpleasant to consume.

So the end result? After six days I hit 3.3 mmol/L of blood ketones, well in the range of 1.5+ for nutritional ketosis.

Shoulder injury

Shoulder injury is one of those real bug bears of any athlete, and especially in BJJ. An injured shoulder, even minor really can put you out for some time. Many of us even stop training on minor injuries as we know that they can be the first warning sign of badness to come. Anyway, today we will cover assessing injury, train and treat, medication and when to see the doctor.

Sometimes shoulder injuries are really obvious with immediate pain after an event like an over extended shoulder lock ect. This type of injury we wont really cover as they are a no brainer and should be seen asap by your doc. The injuries Im talking about are those ones that sneak up on you the next morning after a session, or that become progressively worse over time.

A good way to work out where this injury is originating from is by extending your arms all the way backwards, forwards and over your head. You can also hold your arms out to the side and roll your palms up and down. There are occasions rarely, that you cant pinpoint the pain, or feel it in the actual shoulder. This can occasionaly be known as ‘referred pain’ and usually comes from your neck and into your brachial plexus

Once you happy the pain is likely not too serious, its time for physiotherapy and medication. Two of my favorite first up treatments are ball throwing and open handed swimming. Usually with a cricket ball I will play catch with a willing assisatant. Kids are great as they never get bored!! throw from as many angles as you can, underhand, overhand, sideways, soft and medium. Try not to overhand throw hard. Try this for 30 – 45 mins a day. Add to this swimming with fins on and open handed swimming. You can still maintain fitness and add to shoulder strength at extension with minimal loading. Do short sessions with all strokes except butterfly.

Add to this some simple analgesia such as non steroidal anti-inflammatorys such as diclofenac or ibuprofen. Check of course these are medictions your not allergic too, or cant take for other reasons.

We use these not just so your not in pain, but to improve range of movement, increase training volume and reduce inflammation. You can use these with panadol as directed on the packets.

Try doing this and still rolling, but of course you must inform your partner that you have an injury. And of course, tap or call stop if in pain!! If it remains sore, have a week off the mats. If you return and the pain is not improving pop into your doctor and discuss with them what you have done already. Physios are also a great port of call.