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Back to the Mat: Reacclimate to Training

By: Professor Alex Huddleston

First off, if you’ve already made your return back to the mats, we would just like to extend our deepest gratitude for your incredible dedication and support. Together, we’re so excited for the upcoming changes, and we’re all looking forward to welcoming everyone Back to the Mats! It’s been a long road, and while there may still be a few hills left to climb, our community’s efforts have been well worth it! Now, that we’re here, let’s talk about a few ways we can help ourselves reacclimate to training. We’re all in this together, so let’s fortify ourselves with the faith of our community, and build on one another’s strengths! With that in mind, I wanted to share my experience and some things that I try to remember while returning to training after a long break, like an injury or a pandemic! 

Progress over Perfect

We believe training is an incredible vehicle of personal growth and development. It’s also something we’re hoping to do until we’re so old they won’t let us train anymore! I’m not great at math, but I know that amounts to many opportunities to hone your craft, so there’s no need to rush towards perfection. In fact, you might be surprised how much progress you can make when you shift your focus from the outcomes to the process. One day at a time, or as we like to say, “Just train!!” Energy follows focus, so let your focus on the process fuel your progress as you move ever closer towards excellence! 

Patiently Present 

For many of us, this has been the longest amount of time we’ve ever been off the mats in the entirety of our time training. Life has been far from easy and stressors are at an all-time high! Breathe. Be here now. Drown out the voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heartbeat. Let’s practice some patience in those difficult moments, and understand that while we may not be at the fitness level we remember, we are in the perfect place to work on it, the mats! We wouldn’t plant seeds and immediately dig them up to see if they’ve grown, so let’s not waste time second-guessing our decisions or our efforts. We’ll plant the seeds of the best you with consistent training, purposeful rest, and recovery, patiently tending the process every step of the way. 

Intentions over Expectations

As I got back on the mats, I quickly realized my conditioning was not what I remembered it to be–that pandemic weight caught up to me! What didn’t help was constantly comparing where I found myself to how I used to feel. I felt better when I made the choice to just train, letting that be enough and letting go of those expectations that were just turning into resentments. Another thing: I recommend not letting thoughts of where you want to be taken away from where you are. You’ve worked so hard to be on the mats, I hope you take a moment to recognize how well you’re doing! 

Momentum Matters

Alright, let’s talk about the wall. That point we all reach when the excitement has worn off, but the work still remains. We’ve all been there. We all know that struggle. Yet, struggle does not mean failure! While this mountain may be steep and at times, difficult, it is far from invincible! You already know that though, you’ve been here before. You’ve conquered these hills. You know how to turn obstacles into opportunities and how to dig deep, bite down on your mouthpiece while you continue moving forward! 

To say the last year has been difficult could be a candidate for the understatement of a lifetime! We’ve learned to hold onto what really matters while letting go of what no longer suits us. Our continuous efforts are beginning to turn surviving back into thriving! I believe that relying on luck is the method of those who want to believe that succeeding can happen by accident. Sweat, on the other hand, is for those who know it’s a choice. Your return to the mats is just that, a powerful choice. One that you can continue to cultivate and reinvigorate by focusing on the process, patiently setting healthy intentions, and riding the momentum of your consistent efforts.

Welcome Back to the Mats, my friends, now let’s get to work!

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