What Do You Do When You Don’t Feel Like Training?

By Alec Baulding

You’re not going to enjoy training all the time. Some days you will feel off. Other days you might be tired from work or your spouse. Of course, everyone needs a day off every now and again. But don’t make it into a habit. The best thing to do when you feel less motivated is just to show up. Don’t worry about training hard. Sometimes doing the bare minimum is better than nothing. If your energy is low, just ease into training with some light drills. Let your body warm up. It’s like an old car. Sometimes it takes a while for it to warm up. Then it’s good to go. Start with light drills to warm up and if you’re super tired stop there. Don’t worry about rolling. Just move around for a bit and loosen up. Usually, after moving around for a bit you will start to get into training mode and then you can increase the resistance from there.

If your training only consist of hard rolls, it’s going to get old very quickly and you might start to dread training. This will greatly affect your motivation in a few ways. One, you get used to only training hard so when you don’t train as hard you feel like you didn’t progress. There is a time and place for extremely hard rounds. Say before a big competition in which you want your technique and conditioning at peak levels. However, this level of training is not sustainable long term which is why many students get injured. Athletes often will rely solely on hard training rounds to improve their game instead of studying competition footage and taking the time to understand new positions. Motivationally, you will start to dread training if every time you roll it’s a war.

When you train at your hardest there’s no room to experiment or to try new techniques because you will always have to rely on your “A” game. Your “A” game are those tried and tested techniques that you can rely on in a stressful situation. Again, this is great for tournament prep but not for expanding your game in the long run. Progress in your Jiu Jitsu game occurs when you are actively working to solve problems that affect you. Maybe you have trouble passing the closed guard or getting out of ankle locks. It would be way more beneficial for you to spend 20-30-60 minutes trying to figure out those techniques than to only roll hard. And this gets back to the heart of the question on what to do when don’t feel like training.

If you’re problem solving and getting that positive feedback in the form of figuring out a technique and having it work in sparring, that feeling will keep you motivated to train because once you figure out the solution to one technical problem, you can move on to the next. You have to look forward to training. That’s a big reason why new students stick with training in the beginning because every day they learn something new and they’re constantly seeing that improvement. It creates a positive feedback loop. When you don’t see that improvement the opposite starts to happen. You lose motivation, start skipping classes, and fall off. It’s really in your mindset on how you approach the training and whether or not you will put in the work to get better. The choice is all yours.

What is your strategy when you have one of those days where you don’t feel like training? Let us know in the comments!