T Nation

Burnout

I wanted to bring this subject up as I’ve been struggling with this for the past few months.

To be honest, a big part of my reluctance to train has been due to some lingering health issues (had recurrent dizzy spells and acid reflux). And it’s in the back of my head that I’d now be training while not on my anti-anxiety medication.

But those issues aside, ever since competing in my first grappling tournament last November, my desire to train has declined and I’m not sure why.

I still really love the sport of MMA (and BJJ in particular) but when it comes to getting my ass in the gym and actually training, I can’t seem to do it. I know part of the reason has been those health issues mentioned above, and another factor has been my work schedule (work a lot of split shifts and work during a lot of scheduled class times) but those are things I can control and find ways to get around to train, since I did it last fall getting ready for my tournament.

Has anyone else experienced burnout before?
If so, what did you do to overcome it?
Any other useful strategies out there to deal with this?

Thanks for listening.

Man, i kind of love training, for me i would do 12hrs a day of training. But sometimes i fell that we need to fight we are selfs. Not the kind of i gonna force my self to train, but force yourself to enjoy more! even if is making a joke, taping/losing for someone weeker, risk something that you know that is not going to work.

Became like a child, take some days/ trainings, or minutes of the training to be happy about that. I always take everything to seriusly, i because of that i always get punished by overreaching and sometimes geting a little sick. Keep the love for the art, and enjoy the path/journey not only the results.

How did you do in the tourney? Do you think that now that you don’t have something to train for (specifically, like another competition) you don’t have the same desire to train? Or did you feel like you should have done better, and got the wind taken out of your sails?

I’d spend some time analyzing the possibilities. Afterwards, just get back to it. Sometimes you need a break, and when you know it is time to return it will take a while before you get back in that groove. I know I just got settled back into mine after a long break. Those first few weeks I was dragging, but now I feel like I never even left. Good luck to you, and keep training!

It sounds like the tournament was a turning point. Has the emphasis of your training been competition or self improvement? How did you do in the tournament? How would you personally rate your performance? Having now gone out and entered a martial arts competition did it radically change your view?

With all the hype surrounding MMA these days, there is a heavy mentality that you have be into competitive martial arts if you are a martial artist. Perhaps you got caught up in the hype and were excited to compete, then having competed, now feel a little jaded.

I’ve found that the more variety I have available, the less likely I am to burnout. If BJJ is getting a bit stale, I’ll focus more on my standup and maybe even skip a day of grappling every week for a couple months while sparring more. If Muay Thai starts to wear I’ll do more BJJ or lift more often.

Sometimes it’s good to have balance, but once things have gotten a little too routine, switching things up could get us going again. Maybe give up all MMA stuff for a month and just lift, or do strong man stuff for a bit. It’s your life, you only have to do stuff you don’t want to at work.

Well, it sounds like you’re dealing with a lot right now. Specifically I’m thinking of your crazy work schedule & having to constantly plan your class times around it while having your body & mind adjust to going off the anti-anxiety meds. This might be a good time to give yourself a break & change up your training, like many of the guys have suggested.

By removing the pressure of “having to” train, you may find the joy in it again. Its okay to play around with new workouts and styles of training. Even the ones that don’t suit you will give you one more little tool for your toolbox, and that’s never a bad thing.

[quote]ExcessiveForce wrote:
How did you do in the tourney? Do you think that now that you don’t have something to train for (specifically, like another competition) you don’t have the same desire to train? Or did you feel like you should have done better, and got the wind taken out of your sails?

I’d spend some time analyzing the possibilities. Afterwards, just get back to it. Sometimes you need a break, and when you know it is time to return it will take a while before you get back in that groove. I know I just got settled back into mine after a long break. Those first few weeks I was dragging, but now I feel like I never even left. Good luck to you, and keep training![/quote]

I lost on a judges’ decision. It was a 0-0 after the one, 3-minute round. Most people thought I won as I was at least being active, while the other guy just sat in his guard the entire time.

Of course I felt like I could’ve done better, but overall I was happy to get out there and compete, and was also happy after learning that my opponent was sandbagging and had been training for 2 years to my 3 months.

I don’t think the result took the wind out of my sails, although it did frustrate me for a while. I kept up with my training for several months after the tournament and then around Feb. of this year I began to have those health issues and lost the fire to train.

I think what’s holding me back now is that I feel like I’ve lost so much being away. I just need to go back in and train, even if it’s 1x a week and progress from there.

[quote]Sifu wrote:
It sounds like the tournament was a turning point. Has the emphasis of your training been competition or self improvement? How did you do in the tournament? How would you personally rate your performance? Having now gone out and entered a martial arts competition did it radically change your view?

With all the hype surrounding MMA these days, there is a heavy mentality that you have be into competitive martial arts if you are a martial artist. Perhaps you got caught up in the hype and were excited to compete, then having competed, now feel a little jaded.[/quote]

The emphasis of my training has always been self-improvement. The tournament was built up as a culmination of me overcoming my anxiety/panic issues, so perhaps because it was built up as being something so big, it was only natural to come down from that.

As mentioned above, overall I was happy with how I performed. The only thing that changed in terms of my view is that I was soured on how these tournaments are organized. I’d like to see more guaranteed matches for all competitors, especially considering the enrollment fees.

[quote]slimjim wrote:
I’ve found that the more variety I have available, the less likely I am to burnout. If BJJ is getting a bit stale, I’ll focus more on my standup and maybe even skip a day of grappling every week for a couple months while sparring more. If Muay Thai starts to wear I’ll do more BJJ or lift more often.

Sometimes it’s good to have balance, but once things have gotten a little too routine, switching things up could get us going again. Maybe give up all MMA stuff for a month and just lift, or do strong man stuff for a bit. It’s your life, you only have to do stuff you don’t want to at work.[/quote]

Slimjim,

Thanks for the advice. I have been keeping up with Muay Thai lately and I have been enjoying that. I’ve kept up with my lifting for the most part and just recently bought a mountain bike, so I’ve been toying around with that, too.

Just really trying to have fun with training and figure the desire to train BJJ will come again and when it does, I’ll be ready.

I’m sure the house-hunting my wife and I have been doing hasn’t helped in terms of mental focus.

[quote]Miss Parker wrote:
Well, it sounds like you’re dealing with a lot right now. Specifically I’m thinking of your crazy work schedule & having to constantly plan your class times around it while having your body & mind adjust to going off the anti-anxiety meds. This might be a good time to give yourself a break & change up your training, like many of the guys have suggested.

By removing the pressure of “having to” train, you may find the joy in it again. Its okay to play around with new workouts and styles of training. Even the ones that don’t suit you will give you one more little tool for your toolbox, and that’s never a bad thing.[/quote]

Hi Miss Parker,

That’s the thing that really spurred me on to post this…my work schedule isn’t crazy right now and won’t be until late-August. So, there’s really no excuse not to train, I’m just struggling trying to motivate myself to get in there and do it.

I definitely went through an adjustment period going off my medication. The first few weeks were rough, but things have settled in now and I feel fine.

I’ve been toying around with new workouts and new activities, and that has helped keep my training fresh. I don’t want to force myself to get back into BJJ, but I think I do need to push myself to go to class just to get the feel of being back there, and then evaluate things after taking a class.

If you have acid reflux, you need to begin HCl therapy.

If you’re burned out, don’t go in.

Unless you fight, BJJ is a hobby. People forget that. It’s good to remember. It’s a hobby.

A golfer doesn’t go on the greens when he doesn’t want to. He feels freaking compelled to. He is willing to bear the wrath of his wife to do it. He gets up at 6 a.m.

So if you don’t want to go in, don’t go in. There’s no shame in finding another hobby.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
If you have acid reflux, you need to begin HCl therapy.

If you’re burned out, don’t go in.

Unless you fight, BJJ is a hobby. People forget that. It’s good to remember. It’s a hobby.

A golfer doesn’t go on the greens when he doesn’t want to. He feels freaking compelled to. He is willing to bear the wrath of his wife to do it. He gets up at 6 a.m.

So if you don’t want to go in, don’t go in. There’s no shame in finding another hobby. [/quote]

Good points and you’re spot on about how we (that don’t fight for a living) forget that BJJ or any other martial art is a hobby and not something that HAS to be done.

I’ve been doing the HCl therapy and it’s definitely improved things in the past month.

Self improvement is the best way to stay in martial arts long term.

If you are in a real competitive or intensely training dojo it can be difficult to get back in there if you take a layoff.

It’s normal to have peaks and dips in your training. You just have to not let them go on for too long. Otherwise you get too far out of it and you don’t want to embarass yourself going back, so you never do.

Well, I went back to class tonight and really enjoyed it. I’ll admit, I did sit in the car before walking in and pondered whether to go in or not, but once I got in the door, I was fine.

I did really well, considering the long layoff. I’m not putting pressure on myself and will attend when I feel inspired to go.

Good for you. Sometimes you just have to break that resting inertia, otherwise it sets in for too long and you never make it back.

I don’t know much about anti-anxiety medication or what kind of effect that may have, but I have experienced burn out.

With all things, be it athletic, professional or personal, i find myself in an occassional rut, sometimes for longer periods of time than others. Unfortunately, I can’t just take a break from work but when possible, I do take breaks from other things.

Just let yourself breath a little. It sounds like you still have a passion and that will stick. An “off season” of sorts won’t kill you.

I’m in the midst of a significant layoff from BJJ, having gone through both physiological (some nasty insomnia) and motivational problems. I definitely agree with the above posters who suggest not treating it as something you HAVE to do. I started training when I was 16, quickly ramped up my training frequency to 6-7 days/week at about 3-4 hours at a time. Walked on to the wrestling team my freshman year in college, so didn’t exactly get a respite there, and afterwards went right back to BJJ at the same frequency and intensity.

I found myself developing a mindset that if I wasn’t going to do it all out, I couldn’t do it at all (“moderation” is not a word commonly found in my vocabulary). Naturally, I couldn’t sustain this level of outpout, so after 5 years I’m taking about a year off, possibly more while I take up Olympic lifting. I feel like if I had been able to let myself take a little time off here and there when I wasn’t feeling great, I’d still be training now, rather than forcing myself through a lot of joyless practices and ending up out of the game altogether.

[quote]Djwlfpack wrote:
Well, I went back to class tonight and really enjoyed it. I’ll admit, I did sit in the car before walking in and pondered whether to go in or not, but once I got in the door, I was fine.

I did really well, considering the long layoff. I’m not putting pressure on myself and will attend when I feel inspired to go.[/quote]

DJ,
Sorry to go off topic, but did you ever get my other pm about biking? Please pm when you get a chance, if you didn’t drop me an email if you want. System is still tweaked for me apparently. If you did, then kindly disregard this, and sorry for the hijack.

ToneBone