With the annual Charles Gracie Tournament rapidly approaching, this is the perfect time to talk about how to prepare and what to expect. This post will serve as a guide to make sure you are on the right path towards a great tournament. The following is a need-to-know list that will help you prepare.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect when it comes to preparation, is hydration.Weeks leading up to the tournament it is important that you hydrate yourself, and continue to hydrate using nothing else but water. Cut out the sodas, teas, coffee, even juice. Water is all you will need to make sure you are properly hydrated leading up to the tournament. Dehydration causes a hosts of problems, including headaches, fatigue and cramps, just to name a few. You can see how this can be problematic for a competitor, so hydrate and stay hydrated with good ‘ol plain water.
Under the same umbrella as hydration, it is important to monitor your food intake. Now is not the time to be experimenting with the latest fad diets. Stick to whole, unprocessed foods, that agree with your body. Things like fruit, vegetables, nuts/seeds and protein should all be staples in your diet, regardless if you’re competing or not. Your carb sources should come in the form of things such as, bananas, sweet potatoes, and minimally processed sources such as whole grain bread and pasta. These carb sources will give you the energy you need to perform your best. Protein is needed to help you recover and keep you feeling full, so you don’t reach for the unhealthy foods. Save all the pizza, burgers, sweets for after your tournament!
Another often overlooked aspect is sleep. When you are able to obtain adequate sleep, your body performs at its best. During sleep, your body is hard at work, from repairing damaged muscle tissue to keeping you clear-headed the next day. Like hydration, getting enough sleep is crucial to be at your best. Aim for 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. To create an environment that promotes this, cut off electronics 2-hours prior to bed, ensure the room is pitch black, and the temperature should be mildly cool. As a bonus, take advantage of naps during the day whenever you can. A quick 20-minute nap can go a long way.
The most important factor on this list is your mindset! Understand that just signing up to compete and actually competing is a huge step forward in your journey. Believe you can and will win, and you will. However, do not use this as an opportunity to underestimate your opponents. While it is important to believe you can and will win, it is equally important to understand that there is a reality in which you may lose. Regardless of the outcome of your matches and your competition results, use the experience you gain from competing to fuel your desire to improve. Understand that competing is just one, of many aspects, in Jiu-Jitsu, and there will be many more opportunities to compete along your journey. Regardless of the outcome, understand that you will always have the respect and full support of your coaches. Stay humble, in victory or defeat.