EDITOR'S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of Jess Papi. Jess is a blue belt at Scranton MMA and also pursuing her degree in exercise science. Read her entries every week for insights on competing, training, and juggling BJJ and life.


2014 is off to a good start! I really can’t believe how lucky I am. I’ve been enjoying my time off from school, Scranton MMA is getting a lot of new students who are eager to learn, and I’ve been getting a ton of great training.


Not having to worry about school has made me a million times more relaxed. Juggling school, work, and training was incredibly stressful, and I’m so happy that I have until February to get my head back on straight. Without the dark cloud of studying and homework looming over my head, I have so much more time for activities! (Yes, that is a Step Brothers reference.) This week I helped my boyfriend (who also happens to be my coach) move and set up his new place, which is a lot closer to the gym. I’m so proud of how far he’s gotten. It’s nice having him live closer to the area.

Breaking Muscle Shop


I also had time this week to hang out with old friends and catch up on their lives. I played Monopoly for the first time and I got super into it. But, as most Monopoly games apparently never end, we called it at 1:00am and just counted the money we had left to see who the winner was. I was not the winner. I did a lot of doodling this week, too. Nothing worth sharing, but I plan on keeping it up.


In regards to training, I’ve been working really hard. I’m trying to add in some conditioning, focus more while I drill, and roll as much as I can. I think I had a subpar day in there somewhere, but for the most part I feel like I’ve been doing well. Working at the academy means I can get on the mats before classes start and get a lot of my drilling done. This week it’s been all side control escapes for me. Although it’s still hard to accomplish in a live roll, I’m getting better at it.


Trying to eat cleaner has been a challenge. It was around this time last year that I decided to start eating less processed foods. I definitely lost weight and some body fat, but sometimes I didn’t have enough energy because I wasn’t eating enough calories. I was so focused on trying to drop a weight class that I didn’t really care how I felt during training. This year I want to eat clean, but I also want to make sure there’s enough energy in me to finish out my workouts. I know if I do that I’ll be able to get back into competition shape easily.


As for my 2014 resolutions, I think I’ve been doing well. I’m working towards my goal of competing on February 1st. I‘ve been trying to be less of a grouch sometimes. The key word there is trying. I’ve been focused on getting better every day, even if it’s just a few side control escapes whenever I can fit them in. I think my next goal will be waking up at a decent hour. Today I wanted to be up at 7:00am, but I slept through two alarms until noon! I missed morning class and I feel like I wasted so much time that could have been used for something cool.


So, this week ahead of me will be a challenge. I have to start eating cleaner and waking up earlier. I’ll let you know next week how it goes. Ciao, bellas!

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