Factor 1 – I STARTED TO TRAIN LESS
I was doing maybe ½ of the training from the first year (see the table below):
- After 1.5 months, I started to participate only in the morning classes. The afternoon was reserved for working for Dragons Warriors.
That gave my body time for recovery and helped my brain manage both training and work.
- I also did not practice Tai Chi anymore.
- In summary, my daily routine complied with around 3 hours of training instead of 7 hours.
- Also, when I had my “strawberry days”, I was skipping the classes, which is equal to 3-4 days off a month.
Factor 2 – I CHANGED MY NUTRITION
I arrived at Shaolin Kung Fu school with a pack of my favorite supplements. Also, this year, I focused more on my diet. I was aware that if I want to gain strength and ensure fast muscle recovery, I need to provide a proper portion of proteins, essential minerals, and vitamins.
- I started with a breakfast that packs a nutritional punch. Oats, nuts, spirulina, chlorella, banana, and apple. Yummy!
- In summer, a time of constant sweating, I drank alkaline minerals and vitamin C.
- In more challenging months, I also took vitamin B12 and B complex.
Factor 3 – I HAD MORE INDIVIDUAL TRAINING
More than half of the classes was my own training. This is how my training plan looked like.
This Is What Happened
WHEN I STARTED TO TRAIN LESS
TRAIN LESS, GAIN MORE POWER
This year I only trained Shaolin kung fu with a focus on jumps. It is ridiculous how many times I fell on my ass when I practiced a front handspring. Sometimes I asked myself: is it stubbornness or stupidity or both?
I cannot say why I am giving myself these crazy goals like learning jumps when I had never done such things in my life. It takes years for me to learn one jump, and it’s still not a good one. But somehow, I have the motivation to do it, and I just go and try again and again till my body hurts.
Accordingly, I was training jumps almost 3-4 times a week (mostly front handspring). But I guess the only reason I had power for that was because I trained only in the mornings. That’s my point here.
There are only two ways of INTENSIVE training:
- Either you train in a low and moderate-intensity 6-7 hours a day
- Or you train in a moderate and high intensity 2-4 hours a day.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to train moderate and high intensity during a whole day and then the next day and the next day. Your body would never handle that. To be honest, I prefer the second option. I like to feel that I trained hard, and I like to have more free time 😉
I tried in the last year the first option, and the thing is, I couldn’t give full power during some of the classes even when I really wanted to. I was giving what I had – 60% or less. That was my 100% at that moment. I only realized that when I started to train less. The body had time to recover, and I was surprised how much more I could do during the training.
The master also confirmed that:
- Basia, it is not good to do 20 times the same jump without power. Do it 2-3 times but with everything you have.
Well, it doesn’t really work for me to do it 2-3 times because I cannot give full power at the beginning. I need to adjust, boost my body first, overcome my mind (which still has some blockades when I jump), and maybe after the 5th try, I can start giving more power into the jump. Maybe after the 10th, I can actually perform a jump without falling at the end.
But I got what my Master said. I should not be tired when I train jumps, and each time I should give my best. It is not Tai Chi or long-distance run, where you distribute the energy over time. Here, it’s one time and 100%. That’s what is most difficult for me. But it becomes easier to apply when I train less.
TRAIN LESS, GAIN MORE TIME FOR RECOVERY
According to the changes in my training schedule, this time, my body has reacted differently to daily kung fu training (see the table). For example:
- I didn’t have knee pain anymore.
- It was much easier for me to stretch.
- I didn’t have pain when I was kicking (due to hamstring recovery).
Still, though I was training and pain is an inherent part of the intensive exercise. For at least one month, I was suffering from lower back pain. Most likely due to a lot of jumps and back stretches. I even went to a Chinese Physiotherapist (check the video below).
The treatment immediately helped, but the pain returned the next day. I knew that I just needed to give my body a bit of rest (especially from jumps). The circumstances were right for that. Soon I was not allowed to train jumps due to the upcoming competition. I was supposed to focus only on the competition forms.
However, definitely I had less pain during the second year of kung fu training and that allowed me to heal my hamstring.