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.

 

What a fantastic week. What fantastic day! I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. I ground up some fresh Kona coffee beans and brewed myself a cup in my awesome M&Ms memorabilia mug. I even finished my laundry, which I desperately need for training tonight. I’m not usually a morning person, so I don’t know why I feel particularly awesome this morning, but I guess I shouldn’t question it!

 

Now that I’m done bragging about my good mood, I’ll tell you about my week. Some of the highlights were the addition of a new antimicrobial tarp over our mats, attempting to eat cleaner, and starting an endurance program.

 

Let me tell you about our training area at Scranton MMA. We are one of four businesses set up in a giant warehouse. We’re a stone’s throw away from Driven Athletics, The Sandlot, and Keystone Crossfit. But before all of these businesses were here, the warehouse was home to a hockey training center. A few years ago we set up our mat area inside of a hockey rink. Four different sets of mats had to be used to fill in the whole thing. Because of this, our mats kind of looked like a kindergarten classroom, with blocks of colors everywhere. No matter how clean and neat we kept them, it still looked a little jumbled. In order to fix this issue, we ordered a custom tarp to lay over all our mats.

 

Laying a tarp over some mats sounds easy, right? Well, it wasn’t! The whole process included removing the Plexiglas from the rink, doing some maintenance on the springy floor underneath, rearranging the mats, rolling out the 600lb tarp, lifting sections of walls off the rink, stretching the tarp out over the mats, and putting the walls back on to pull the tarp taut. All in all, it took over four days to complete. It was a pain in the butt, but everyone did awesome. Our mat area is uniform and beautiful now. I love it!

 

I figured since the mats got a makeover, my diet should, too. Last week I talked about wanting to eat cleaner, so this week was my first attempt. I think at first I tried to do too much at once. In the nutrition class I took last semester, I learned how make a dietary prescription. There are formulas for figuring out what your daily caloric intake should be, and using that you can determine what percent of those calories should be carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. I tried doing this for myself and even added in nutrient timing. Just doing the calculations is a lot harder than you might think. I definitely wasn’t ready to jump right into a brand new way of eating.

 

Instead, I’m taking it step by step. Drinking more water was definitely the first change I had to make. I was drinking maybe half of what I should have been drinking. My next change was trying not to eat garbage foods, like chips, cookies, and candy. I’m not really focused on calorie intake yet, but by consuming less junk food it will probably go down anyway. A handful of potato chips will have more calories than a handful of baby carrots. So, by drinking more water and eating less junk I already feel a little bit better about myself.

 

Cleaner eating calls for more serious training! At least in my eyes it does. If I’m taking in the proper fuel I should be able to train harder, right? I think so. I’m pretty sure I will be competing in NAGA Philly on February 1st. In order to prepare, I’m testing out an endurance program to see if it will work for me in the future. My buddy Steve from Driven Athletics broke it all down for me. He told me what to do every day for the next couple of weeks. I will be doing longer rounds at a low intensity and tapering to shorter rounds with high intensity. It’s hard to explain in a paragraph, but if I can do a five-minute round at 110%, competing for six minutes at 100% should be easy.

 

So, now that I have pretty new mats to train on, a grasp on my nutrition, and a fancy new way to prepare for tournaments, I’m hoping to be able to drop about seven or eight pounds by April for the New York Open. I think it’ll be an easy thing to accomplish. I don’t care which weight class I’m in for any tournaments as long as I make weight for that specific one. I know I can do it.

 

Wow, I guess I had a lot to say this week. Enjoy!

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