How to Stay Motivated to Train

How to Stay Motivated to Train

About 3 weeks ago I injured my knee during a takedown attempt in sparring. I’ve confined myself to the couch mostly, afraid to do anything that might turn this injury into an ongoing issue.

The worst part about this 3 weeks of doing nothing is the fact that I’ve lost a lot of the momentum I had for training.

Thinking back on it, any prolonged breaks I’ve taken from training due to injury, vacations, etc, have always made getting back into training difficult. To the point that I look forward to getting back into training after long layoffs mostly because I know that forcing myself to train is the quickest way to get back into the groove of my training and back into feeling driven to workout.

It’s like training spins a wheel inside me that, as it slows, pulls me to go train again to speed up that wheel. But once I let that wheel come to a stop, it can be difficult to get that wheel spinning again.


Is this true for you? Do you experience this same resistance to training if you take time off?

Anything more than 2-3 days without training, for me, is when it starts. As long as I’m consistent I love it, though. It feels like an addiction that I need to feed.

I also think a lot of it has to do with goals.

What gets me to train every day isn’t my grandiose vision of one day being the next Bruce Lee.

Rather, it’s the small things.

It’s the excitement I feel as I focus on developing my head movement and footwork. And the reward I feel each day as I feel my head movement and footwork becoming slightly more and more fluid.

It’s the inspiration I feel to develop my kicking speed after being inspired by a sparring partner who landed kicks on me with ease.

It’s the amazement I have for my BJJ instructor who seems completely relaxed as he moves through positions and submits other black belts like it’s nothing. I want to be able to do that! I want to be that relaxed as I roll with others.

It’s these little, specific skills that excite me day-to-day as I train. Small things that I can see improvements in each time I practice.


Yet, as I keep the couch warm day after day, I start to forget those little goals. I start to lose some of that passion for those bits and pieces. And I feel a twinge of frustration as I notice that the improvements I’ve made have begun to atrophy.

However, thanks to muscle memory, I know that it won’t take long before I’m back to where I was. So I force myself to forget about where I was and to just go train.

This weekend was the first time since my injury that I’ve worked out in any significant way.

I trained and sparred with my students, then went for a run at Town Lake. My legs felt heavy. My endurance had fallen and I felt slow.

Since I don’t trust my leg to do kicks right now, I will have to focus on other goals. But as I train, I know they will come.

I hope that in this more personal rambling I have given food for thought to those of you who have let your training go by the wayside.

Perhaps the quickest way to get re-inspired is to just go do it. Commit to 10 classes. Or 1 month. Or whatever. Just go do it, and let the inspiration and motivation come.



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