Category Archives: goals

A weekly update!

INSANITY!

3 weeks until I leave for NYC, and with 5 days lost in Chicago for a work-related trip, time is flying by! I’ve only made 2-3 classes/week these past few weeks. Because I’ll be away for almost 2 weeks from May – June, I’ve picked up lots of overtime at work which subsequently leaves less time to train. :( On the other hand, R has concocted some stupidly crazy cardio workouts to push me through. I don’t usually quote him, but here’s his idea of a ‘fun’ workout.

A deck of 52 cards… the goal is to work up to the point where we can complete the deck of cards at the end of the workout as the final cardio “push”. For example: After a good hour of technique, dri…lling, sprints etc. we would break out the deck of cards. Hearts would be burpees, diamonds would be burpees, clubs would be crunches, spades would be triangles. Final goal to work up to – the entire deck completed without rest between sets.Shuffle the deck thoroughly – if you get an ace you would do 11 of that exercise, J/K/Q you would do 10 and then just follow the numbers from 10 – 2.For example; if the following 4 cards came up: Ace of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds, 3 of clubs, King of spades – that would be 21 burpees, 3 triangles and 10 crunches.

If we were to make it through the whole deck of cards that would be a total of 190 burpees, 95 triangles and 95 crunches – all completed without rest.

This is a slightly modified version of a routine I stole from an old boxing coach. Mine is better (or more evil) depending on your point of view.

I don’t think we’d make it through the whole deck on the first go of course, but it would be a cool thing to work towards. I figure if we’re able to sail through that at the end of the main part of the workout we’re in pretty good shape.

Did I mention I love burpees?…

Our big grapple party is this weekend as well! I’m spending the day cleaning the loft and giving the mats a good cleaning before our friends come over! It’s looking like it’ll be a great mix of friends from both gyms!

My new Fenom Gi also arrived a few days ago! I’ve already washed and sent the Kimono through the dryer once to shrink it slightly. The Fenom A1 gi is a little larger than my Red Star A1, but a more detailed review will be coming once I’ve run it through a few classes! On my first attempt at trying it on, it’s incredibly soft weave was definitely noticeable!


Feels like burning.

I’ve been fairly consistent with training the past few weeks and I’m now officially down to the last 6 weeks before heading to NYC. I’ve got 8lbs to lose to make 128lbs. (with a 2lb allowance with my gi on)

I still tend to favour guard attacks from one side, and it’s become fairly obvious as I’m nursing repetitive mat burn on both my left knee and left elbow. I’m hoping to pick up a pair of knee pads this weekend at UFC FanExpo being held here in Toronto. Speaking of which, it’s only 4 days away until UFC 129! I conceded and decided I’m going to watch the fight with R and his gym after we spend the day at FanExpo.

I’m noticing is that I only tend to get mat burn when I’m wearing my gi. I don’t seem to have a problem when it’s bare skin exposed to the mat or wearing a rash guard. Considering my gi is made of 100% cotton, I can’t imagine it’s abrasive enough to give rash burn. I’ll definitely have to test it against my new Fenom Lotus gi that’s hopefully going to be arriving sometime this week.

(I do want to document and share my journey online, but you’ll notice I don’t use real names, nor do I name competitions or the gym I train at. As much as I have only good things to say about the instructors and the school, it’s a matter of privacy. If you do read my blog and would like to comment, my only request is that you do keep the names/details away from the posts. Thanks!)


A Black Belt is…

A white belt that never gives up.

The first time I saw this quote scribbled on a whiteboard in R’s gym, I smiled to myself not knowing the implications this quote truly has.

I finally finished my last night shift this week and after a quick power nap, I grumbled as I reached over and tried to hit the snooze button on my phone. The pup was already trying to crawl into bed with me so I knew it was time to get up.

I spent about 15 minutes rolling around in bed contemplating whether I needed more sleep or if I should pack my bag and head off to the gym to train. It’s times like these that I have to overcome that self-doubt that I can ‘always train later’, or even ‘I’ll make up for it tomorrow.’ Instead of giving myself excuses I’ve found it’s best just to pre-pack my bag and don’t think about ‘why I should go’, but rather, ‘what am I going to learn today? What do I want to work on?’ Overcoming some of the struggles I’ve always had with confidence, dedication, emotional stability and mental focus are just a few of the things that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu help me to improve on.  The idea of never giving up is something I struggle with. In many aspects of my hobbies, I’ve always excelled in the initial excitement and passion. It’s the diligence that I lack. The very idea of not giving up scares me a little because I see the very few dedicated BJJ practitioners that move up in rank with each belt. The numbers thin out significantly for a variety of reasons. I don’t plan on being one of them.


Mouth guards… and other protective gear.

Class was side mount escapes to guard and an arm bar attack. It was actually a lot of fun, but I realized during the warmup that my cardio’s dropped off the map again and I was pretty gassed by the time we moved on to positional training. FAIL! All my hard work the past few months seems to have really tapered off. I’m a little disappointed in my own progress.

Regardless, I still had a great class yesterday. I paired up with S since we’re the same experience level, and only 20 lbs heavier than me. He’s considerably stronger than I am, and it was only really noticeable after the 4′th time he swept me from side control. It was frustrating to say the least, but I learned a great deal about playing to my advantages, and using my (lack of) weight to a better advantage than my current strategy. Apparently my instructor says I’m trying to be heavy, and I’m really not. :( I’m at least on-par with some of the guys in class, but tend to be lighter than most.

Still fighting off a little whiplash from the O-soto gari class we did earlier in the week and wasn’t sure how hard I was ready to go, but it didn’t matter once we started. We had a few good rounds, and managed to drill the side control escape pretty well. I was on top during one round and caught S’s knee under my chin as he tried to bring it through to get into guard. I heard a pretty loud crack in my mouth and even though all my teeth were intact, my brain was still a little rattled and I’m more than thankful that I didn’t have my tongue between my teeth at that point. I think it’s definitely time to get a mouth guard…

In retrospect, most of the people I train with in class don’t wear mouth guards, at least not until they start to roll. In fact, I think most guys don’t even wear cups – which is kind of to their disadvantage when I’m trying to pass the guard leading with my knee. I feel horrible, but I’ve clipped a few good friends and can’t imagine why wearing a soft cup wouldn’t help. Maybe they just like the pain?!

In other news, Grappler’s Quest is coming to UFC Fan Expo at the end of the month, and R might be competing! Super excited to watch my own coach compete at his level. The provincials we saw a couple weeks ago were pretty amazing, but this should be even more impressive! I’ll definitely be attending and cheering on our team! The most exciting part is getting take home a set of Zebra mats after Grapplers Quest. I finally placed the pre-order in a few weeks ago, and should have a set of mats ready for my place by the first week of May! R and I are throwing a bit of a combined birthday celebration since our birthdays are almost exactly a month apart. We’re having random friends come over and grapple at my place to break in the new mats! I can’t wait… we might even have a playful showdown of my gym vs. his gym. ;)


Full-time training

It’s back to work for me, but I just took a week off to train, eat, sleep and enjoy a bit of a mini vacation at home.

Between training sessions at the gym, I cooked healthy delicious meals, slept in every morning and took afternoon naps when I could. I had originally planned to train twice a day (mornings and evenings) but after developing mat burn on Day 2 of the training regiment, I knew I had to take it a little easier. I purchased a set of wrestling knee pads online, and since they I don’t have them yet I’m not sacrificing the skin on my knees any longer.

Classes have been steady and seeing the classes for the third time, I’m feeling more confident. I’m picking up more than 75% of the class and I really appreciate the constructive criticism on the finer points of my movements. 

With a competition in NYC under two months away, I’m desperately working on my cardio and easing out 0f my hypertrophy phase. It’s time to lean down and start cutting weight. May isn’t going to be pretty as I try to drop 8lbs to make weight at 130lbs.

R’s hurt his knee a few weeks ago so we haven’t spent any time training. He attended an open mat session on the Wednesday and it was fun just flow-rolling for practice. More training sessions are planned for the following week. More on that to come.


Stripe Testing

You’re looking at a new second stripe! Considering I’ve never tested for any type of martial art before, I was a little more than intimidated. Here’s my account of the nerve-wracking, but wonderfully rewarding experience!

R came over the day before to go over some last minute points for the requirements. We did some movement drills, tumbling, and practiced scissor sweeps until the scabs on my elbows?! broke open again. I seem to be stuck in this endless cycle of healing/recovery when it comes to the variety of mat burns on my body. Anyway, moving on! We drilled briefly so that I wouldn’t be overtired for the test, and got an early night’s rest.

I woke up early on Sunday and after a quick walk with the pup, I headed over the gym. I overestimated my time, so I went to hang out with R for a bit before skipping off to the gym since they’re fairly close by.

A few of the guys were milling about outside the gym doors – which were locked. The blue belts were still testing and we weren’t privy to their testing requirements. Most of the guys that I’ve been drilling with regularly were there, and it was nice just to laugh and joke around for a bit before the test started.

I was the only girl (though not surprising) that was testing and we grouped with a pair of guys that I’ve had the opportunity to roll with for a few classes now. It was relief to test with people you’ve rolled with in class. I’m learning that certain people have particular styles that have strengths and weaknesses in all areas. Our head instructor called our names and rotated through the various requirements. I think I messed up during one of the stack pass drills and quickly settled into guard and tried again. We had the opportunity to do all the requirements a few times, and on both sides. Then, came the fun part!

We were then asked to do ‘positional training’ while we switched partners in 5 minute intervals. I have a poor sense of time when I’m grappling on the mats, so they may have been closer to 2 minutes, but they felt like forever! I rolled with A, and laughed when I almost clipped him in the head with a knee. We have a running joke in class that I seem to aim for his head whenever we roll.

At the end of the test, we lined up and congratulated each other as we were called up and given our stripes. It’s a small step in a much larger journey, but one that I’m proud to say that I’m dedicated to.


A new gym, a new start.

First: A quick re-cap of last week’s training. I hit class 5 times last week, including a special 2 hr class with R at his gym, which always leaves me shaking at the end. I had the chance to roll with some really experienced grapplers and learned to put more of the puzzle together. It’s always a huge win to walk out of class feeling like you finally ‘got’ something. I even put in an extra 2km swim at the pool early on in the week to try to increase my cardio. I dug my ‘Fitness Swimming’ book out of my bookshelf and skimmed a few workouts I’m going to add into my training schedule. We’ll see how well I do with swimming twice a week this week, and class 6x/week with a training session with R squeezed in somewhere. I haven’t really had the chance to lift weights at all this week, but hopefully the new gym (squee!) will be stocked soon.

———-

It’s always exciting to be apart of something new, but even more so when you’re right in the middle of a transitioning phase.

Our gym recently moved into it’s new home, and classes officially move in starting today! With three times the original space we were borrowing, it’s pretty amazing to have the chance to really sprint down the mats and slam down on the mats with nothing in your way. We had an open seminar session/open house event today. Even though I was only there for one no-gi class, it was amazing to see all the friends I’ve made in this short amount of time and have the chance to celebrate with them!

For the instructors and administration staff, it was clearly amazing to watch them beam with pride as our new school officially opens to the public. There were so many new people, I lost track of how many people I tried to introduce myself to this afternoon.

I’m totally stoked because along with the new space, the new schedule came out! There’s additional morning and noon classes! This means that I can finally squeeze in once a day training (at the very least) with a really flexible schedule. I was going around trying to convince my regular lunch class goers to attend the first week of 6:45am classes with me! Some of them honestly didn’t look too impressed/convinced that it would be a good idea, but I’m sure I can coerce them into it. :D

There’s so much to look forward to, including a new fitness/weight lifting area, kids BJJ classes (I’m totally bringing my nephews!), and hopefully some women’s classes in the near future!


Another slow start

March has been a really slow start thus far. I had to miss out on training the whole week last week because I was working night shifts. There’s nothing that puts a damper on my mood than being sleep deprived, and being deprived of a sport I’m learning to love.

R made up for a lacklustre week in training by putting me through my paces twice last week. We trained on Thursday and threw another quick workout yesterday (Sunday). In addition, I also had the chance to roll with some friends at a big grappling event on Saturday night. So, I did get my grappling fix in this past weekend!

I had a bit of a discouraging morning on Sunday though. I came out of the shower and was slightly puzzled by the image in the mirror. I can’t say that I’m happy with the rate of improvement thus far. I haven’t lost any weight (still at a steady 130lbs) but the fat isn’t being converted to muscle fast enough. I think I over-estimate the amount of caloric intake my body really needs. I’ve been training consistently for about two months now and June is approaching faster than I anticipated. I’m not particularly vain about my looks, and I’m feeling pretty well-rested and healthy these days. It helps when I’m sleeping consistently of course, but the occasional naps are still a fairly regular occurrence. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I have to stop everything I’m doing and lie down for 15-30min in the mid afternoon every day just to keep at a healthy functioning level well into the evenings.

There’s stripe testing at the new gym at the end of the month, so that’s even more incentive to get going on the increased fitness regime. I’ve upped the cardio by putting in at least 1km swims in the mornings three times a week before BJJ class on days that there aren’t two classes back-to-back. I went this morning with a good friend who lives in my building and practically felt like dying after the first 700 meters. It’s really quite sad considering I swam competitively for 7 years of my life.  But nobody needs to know that… right? :P


The Endorphin Rush

The hardest thing about being consistent with training is overcoming some of the injuries/stiffness I’m experiencing.

I’ve been going to about 6-7 classes/week and I’m starting to feel the toll it’s taking on my body. My exercise tolerance has improved by leaps and bounds, and attending back-to-back classes are a breeze. I’m finding it easy to surpass, and keep up with the warmups and drills in class. I’m pushing my body at a rate with which I’m happy with.

However, the next morning after I feel like I’m as stiff as a board. I’m running for hot showers twice a day just to try to get my muscles to relax, and spend a good hour stretching after the hot shower. I’m not sure if my body just isn’t recouperating fast enough or if I’m just feeling the effects of my age. (Who am I kidding, I’m still in my mid-twenties!) I’ve been extremely grateful for friends who are willing to give me a brief back rub, or finding time to mooch off my parents’ massage therapist for an hour or two.

My strongest incentive to train, is the amazing feeling after I’ve pushed my body through class. R compares it to being as ‘high as a kite’ and he couldn’t be more concise. I can feel my heartbeat in my fingertips and I could just stand there and listen to it pound in my ears. It’s an amazing to relish in the feeling of being ‘human.’

I went to train with R at his gym, and I felt like running a marathon after Monday’s no-gi class. I think I was so excited and bubbly that I was talking a mile a minute the whole way to the pub. It didn’t matter than I crashed after my pint of ‘Omg I’m so HAPPY!’ beer with some friends.

I was going to train yesterday (Tuesday), but decided against it when I could consciously feel every muscle in my body throbbing with a dull ache. I still felt motivated, but think my addiction/desire to train needs to be tempered a bit. Does anyone have any suggestions? Home remedies? More rest?

I’ve been getting at least seven hours of sleep a night – thank god. I think I would collapse otherwise. It’ll be interesting to see how well I hold up once the work hours switch back to night shifts again.

I’m heading back for two more classes tonight. I can’t wait till I feel like flying afterwards… :)


Goals for 2011

I wrote these goals down in the beginning of January, and thought that it would be a good idea to post them here as well. Seeing as it’s already February, I have to say that all the goals are coming along nicely.

1. Consistently work on my cardio to be able to attend 5 BJJ classes a week (I’m at 4/week currently)
2. Be able to climb the rope, with just my arms – no legs!
3. Be able to do at least 10 pull ups.. (I can currently do 3)
4. Do a handstand! (This is more difficult for me than you think)
5. Begin to compete in both gi and no-gi tournaments
6. Climb the CN Tower, and shave 10 minutes off my previous time.
7. Maintain my current weight. ( I currently weigh in at around 130lbs.)

1. I’ve been almost going to 7 classes a week (if you count back-to-back classes of gi and no-gi as two classes) On average, I’m training almost 2 hrs/day which is far exceeding my goal! We’ll see how long I can keep this up. I realize that I need to temper my training (read: addiction) a little since I’m starting to skin my knees, toes and feet on a fairly regular basis. I also went out and bought a pair of capris to hopefully save my knees from the repetitive mat burn.

2. I’m having my friend come and install the climbing rope at my loft next weekend – super excited. I’ve got 14′ ceilings, and plenty of room to start working on climbing.

3. I’m still stuck at 3 pull-ups, but doing more extended flexed arm hangs. I think I’ve put on some weight and thus making it more difficult to lift more bodyweight. I’ve also gained some strength so it seems to be all balancing out without any significant improvement.

4. Step 1: Learn to tumble properly. Going to work on this on Sunday during training. I have a fear of rolling over.

5. We move into a new gym facility in March, and I’ll have to see how well my training is going by then, and hopefully start to join in with some of the competition classes if my head instructor thinks I’m ready.

6.  Scratch this one. My knees don’t take any sort of impact well anymore. No stair-climbing for me.

7. Okay, so I have a problem with scales. Or I perhaps I should say I can’t find a freaking scale that’s correct. I’ve weighed myself on 4 different scales at different locations and they all fluctuate in reading my weight!! So, I’ve decided to take the average. I currently weigh 135 lbs and starting to panic a little. I’ve put on more muscle mass than I thought and in return I’ve lost about 3 inches (1 inch each from my hips/waist/chest.) I’m concluding that although my body is exchanging the fat for muscle mass, it means I weigh.. more. I’m sure once I lose the rest of the fat and get leaner I’ll cut back down to 130 lbs. Perhaps it’s time to invest in a proper scale too.


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