Training any combat sport will take a lot of blood, sweat and tears, especially if you want to progress fast and do well competitively. But it takes one more thing: a lot of time. BJJ is no different in this regard. Depending on your life, work, and family situation you might be wondering how to manage going to class a few times a week. How do other people manage to train with a full-time job or a busy life in general? How often can you train and how intense can training be when working a 9 to 5? Let’s find out how other BJJ practitioners do it and what advice they have.
In short: You CAN train BJJ and keep improving while working a full-time job. You can even compete successfully. There are tons of great athletes and even world champions that don’t have the luxury of a flexible schedule or training full-time. You must find the right frequency, duration, and intensity for each training session as well as the right time of the day to train for you. It is not easy, but it is worth it.
The ideal training session
The ideal BJJ training session depends on a few different factors. First, the duration of each training session. Certainly, it will be tough to do a five-hour training session 7 times a week or to do 2 training sessions a day if the sessions are long. Second, the intensity of your training sessions. Are you just drilling techniques for the most part? Are you rolling a lot and at what intensity? The composition of each training session will have a big impact on how much recovery time you will need as well as your risk of injury.
This might sound obvious but try to consciously schedule your training sessions through the week according to your capacities and need for recovery. Try to focus on the things that you must improve in with the time you have.
How many days a week can you train BJJ while working a full-time job?
It is tough to balance training BJJ and working a full-time job. That is why it sparked many discussions on reddit. We read through many of the threads and collected the data from 70 responders on how they are able to balance their training schedules and jobs. Let’s take a look at how many times these BJJ practitioners manage to train per week. Since everyone’s life is different, the answers would obviously vary a lot. Nevertheless, this data should give us an overview of what is realistically possible. In the histogram below, we can see how many times each number of days of training per week was mentioned.
On average BJJ athletes train 3.77 days per week while working a full-time job. The data follows a normal distribution with a mean of 3.77 days. This means very low and very high numbers of training days per week are less likely. Nevertheless, there are quite some outliers that train a lot more than average. We’ll dive into the tricks on how to do it later in this article.
The average of almost 4 training days per week seems a little high for people working full-time jobs. The athletes on reddit are probably more motivated than the average person since they spend their free time reading and writing BJJ related posts on reddit. Therefore, don’t get discouraged if you can’t spend the same amount of time training BJJ. Invest however much time you can invest.
How many hours per training session can you train BJJ while working a full-time job?
We have seen the data on training frequency within a week above, but how long should a training session ideally be when working full-time? We collected the data available on reddit again. The histogram below illustrates the data.
On average BJJ athletes train for 2.05 hours per session while working a full-time job. The data again seems to follow a normal distribution with a mean of 2.05 hours per session. The results are in line with our personal experiences when it comes to the average athlete. 2 hours of training per session seems to be reasonable for almost everybody with the right allocation of drilling and rolling time. This way you can make significant progress as well as prevent burning out or overtraining.
We wrote an extensive article on How many rounds to roll per BJJ training session which might help you optimize your training sessions.
DOs and DON’Ts when training BJJ while working a full-time job
Athletes on reddit have shared their ways of optimizing their life to fit in with their training routine. Let’s see the top habits to acquire to manage your training and life.
- Work in home office or close to home/gym if possible.
- Find a gym with many class options at different times of the day.
- Try to incorporate morning or lunch time classes.
- Schedule your week ahead of time.
- Prepare your meals.
- Make compromises with your family. They are no liability. You can help each other manage your lives.
- Focus on the things that are important to you and cut out the unnecessary.
- Stop wasting time, be efficient.
- Don’t compromise sleep too much.
- Don’t bring yourself down. You can do it. You won’t regret your efforts.
Don’t get hung up on the fact that some people might have more time to train than you. Fit in however many training sessions are realistic for you. You can progress, you can grow and most importantly you can have fun training BJJ even if you work a full-time job. Many have done it before you and it is worth the hustle. There are many things you can do to make it work and you won’t regret it.