The “Write” Way to Train

by Erik Paulson

(originally published in Gladiator Magazine – 2007)

As a martial athlete I think it is very important for us to be able to write down and actually see what we are doing to and putting in our body. It is always a good idea to get a journal or book of some sort to record our daily thoughts and what we are doing on a daily basis, especially when we are preparing for a fight  or trying to achieve any goal of making ourselves better. I have always found this very useful and I recommend it for everyone. Below are some of the things that I write down in my personal journal.

Write down what you eat no matter if it is good or bad! I try to maintain a strict died but I’m human and when I write down everything it keeps me honest. I don’t cheat as much when I write it down.

Write down what time you go to bed and get up. It helps me see if I’m getting enough rest. You can jot down little personal notes to see what is keeping you from getting the 8-10 hours I recommend when you’re getting ready for a fight.

Write down the vitamins and minerals you’ve taken for the day. When you’re training, your immune system takes a major hit so make sure you keep up on all your supplements. This includes any protein supplements or additional amino acids to what should be your six to eight meal a day diet. I take Sport Formula, CQ10, Vitamin C powder, glutamine, and a glucosamine/chondroitin mixture with MSM.

Write down what your mindset has been for the day. When you are on a rigorous diet and training routine I feel that you should write this down because you can see if you have a good mental outlook and try to adapt if you don’t. Your diet can have a major effect on your outlook and when you’re getting hit over and over again your mentality sometimes changes. A fighter’s attitude doesn’t always work on the home front. So if you see that you have a poor attitude or are neglecting your family life it helps you change it.

I also utilize a performance chart to help me keep a balance with my daily checklist. This helps me stay accountable for all my daily activities and actions. My chart contains the following checklist, and this plays a very key role in my development as a human being.

  1. My social life: What I’m doing when I’m not training.
  2. How my academy is doing: What I need to do to make ends meet.
  3. My personal training: How did I develop my skills today?
  4. Injuries: How it happened and how I can prevent it next time.
  5. Sleep: Am I alert or groggy?
  6. Environmental factors: What is happening around me, positive or negative.
  7. Nutrition: Food and supplements.
  8. Coach-athlete interaction: If I trained with my coaches or teammates or anyone else and how it went. Did I listen? Did I agree? How can I change things that I felt were not right for me?

I based my chart on a performance chart that I got out of a book several years ago called “The Encyclopedia of Weight Training.” The book is an amazing reference and if it’s still on the market I recommend it to everyone. I also recommend that you get a massage once a week if you can afford it. This will make a major change in the way you feel after a hard week of training.

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