The goal in every competition is to show up as your best self. This is an art unto itself. You want to peak at the perfect time, so that your mind and body are at its absolute best. Often, when I was competing I would show up overtrained, burned out, or lacking the correct mentality to compete at my best. Throughout years of fine tuning my training, I learned how to peak at the right time. I know I peaked my training perfectly when I felt excited, loose, and focused.
Less Is More
More is not always better. Training more and harder does not mean that you are going to actually compete better than if you had trained slightly less. It's easy to get stuck in the mindset of more, more, more. Only if you struggle having the personal drive to train the proper amount before competition, more is better. More often = over-trained and burnt out. If you already have the cardio to do more than twice the number of rounds you need to compete then you don’t need more cardio. Overtraining, will only lead to burnout physically and most importantly mentally.
Make Training Playful Sometimes
Coming from a wrestling background I have the habit of grinding out work outs. Mentally this makes you tougher than almost any competitor you will come across. So, if you feel you need more mental toughness then pushing yourself harder is the answer. Otherwise, the grind will come with diminishing returns. In fact, there is a point in which being a grinder starts to hinder your performance. You get to the point where you have used all your mental fortitude during your training camp, and when it comes time to compete, you almost don't even care to be there. One of the ways to deal with this is do something completely different as a work out. If you have a Jiu-Jitsu competition or an MMA fight coming up, play basketball or soccer as a work out on occasion. This will give you a mental break from training but also keep your cardio in check.
Another way to prevent burning out is diet. What you put in your body does great dividends on your mental state. Of course, there are times where starving yourself is absolutely necessary to make weight. But, I find many people often cut weight too early; probably for fear of missing weight. If you are only 5 lbs over a week out, stop starving yourself. Everybody is different when it comes to cutting weight but you can cut 5 lbs in one day if you need too. Starving yourself too far out will make you miserable, and you will be focused on your weight cut more than the competition. By the time competition rolls around, you will be more excited about eating than actually care about your performance.
Train Less, Sleep More
The last way too make sure you peak and don’t burn out is simple. Rest. Not just sleeping enough, but also knowing when to take breaks from competition or Jiu-Jitsu in general. If you spend time grinding for months and months, competition after competition, you will find this pace is not sustainable. Not only will you start doing worse and worse in competition but, Jiu-Jitsu will no longer be the fun thing you do and become a job. I’ve learned this in wrestling, where a season lasts 6 months and you are competing every Friday and Saturday with an occasional competition on Wednesdays. Four months into the season, you are completely over it and could care less how you perform.
Make your art playful. Make your diet on point. Make sure you rest at the correct time. These strategies will help you peak at the right time and make your career much more enjoyable. It takes time to dial these things in, but if you listen to your mind and body, it will guide you in the correct direction.