Returning to training during COVID-19: 3 tips to keep you and your partners safe
Most of us have been there: Something holds us back from making it to the gym for much longer than we’d like to admit. Maybe the kids got sick, maybe you got sick or maybe you were just burned out from living life. Don’t sweat it — martial arts is a lifelong journey, so don’t beat yourself up too much because you had to take some time away from the mats.
During this tumultuous time where literally everything is closed down due to COVID-19 almost all of your training partners have had to stop training as well. So rest easy knowing you’re most likely not too far behind the curve. With these few quick tips in mind you’ll get back to training at your peak before you know it.
- Be easy with the return.
I talk about this all the time with new students but I think now is as good a time as any to offer this advice to both experienced and inexperienced martial artists. When you first get into the gym you’re going to be doing something that is either brand new or something that has been away from you for a while. If you jump right into the deep end before you get your swimming legs back you’re going to drown.
Return to class with fitness in mind and remember that this is a gradual process. You won’t become the next world champion in your first week. Take your time and space out your classes so you give your body time to adjust to training again. On top of that — be sure to pace yourself when training with your partners. I know you’re excited to get back to jiu jitsu and sparring but a body that hasn’t been in motion is much more prone to injury. You certainly don’t want to end up in a hospital right now because you busted up your knee doing something stupid.
Be careful about who you train with and be sure you are training with safety in mind. Following this direction will make your return much less of a flash in the pan and you should be able to return to consistency (or become consistent if you were a lazy-bones in the past).
- Make sure you’re taking care of your body.
This goes hand-in-hand with the point directly above. When I was still competing in Mixed Martial Arts it wasn’t unheard of to badly sprain your ankle only to tape it up every day for a few weeks while still training through the injury. This is NOT the time to be a gladiator. You need to focus on your body or you’re going to end up missing more time from class.
Make sure you are eating after training and staying plenty hydrated. Something simple like fish oil would be a great supplement to add to your daily routine. These will help lubricate your joints so that you can train a bit harder without putting too much wear and tear on places like your elbows, hips and knees.
Rest is going to be more important now than you remembered. The long break from the mats coupled with the summer-time heat will break the will of most athletes. If you’re someone who likes to push your body by staying up late, drinking alcohol and eating junk food, you may need to reconsider some lifestyle habits before you return to the gym.
- Stay Clean! Stay Clean! Stay Clean!
Even before COVID-19 it was quite taboo to train in stinky or soiled gear. Now that everyone is focusing on health and staying far away from the virus it is even more important. Science says that COVID-19 is passed from water droplets in the mouth — you know, respiration, breathing, sneezing, kissing, all that fun mouth and nose stuff.
The martial arts we do involve close contact with our partners which means it’s a guarantee that we will pass our germs along to our friends. Training in the same gi or shorts used to be taboo. These days it seems like a social death sentence. Please don’t be the training partner that infects the gym because you let your dirty clothes sit in your car or in your gym bag. We need to be extremely careful about cleanliness so that we don’t end up with gyms shutting down due to outbreaks.
Wash your body, your clothes and your gear thoroughly after every session. This shouldn’t have to be said but the personal grooming habits of many martial artists are often not up to par with the rest of the world. Please consider the safety of your training partner and their families. Don’t put a child or elderly adult at risk because you didn’t feel like going to the laundromat.
Stay focused and true to your goals and you’ll be out of the no training rut in no time at all. The first few weeks are going to be grueling for many of us — myself included — but that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to reach the top of the hill and cross it. Afterwards it’s all smooth sailing, chokes, fists and elbows.
If you have any specific questions about how to stay safe or how to maximize your training during the COVID-19 outbreak send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to answer your questions while we sip on our coffee.