Author: Hyperfly HQ
PSA: 5 Steps To Stay Healthy On & Off The Mats
With the threat of the Coronavirus increasing across the globe at an alarming rate we thought we’d take this opportunity to spread awareness of proper mat etiquette, also applicable during cold & flu season later this year.
Jiu-jitsu is a close contact sport where bodily fluids like sweat, spit, and sometimes blood are exchanged between training partners easily. Combine that fact with a sweat drenched mat and a humid training room and you’ve got a breeding ground for germs, bacteria, and viruses.
So what can you do to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses like the flu or worse? We’ve laid out some easy procedures to keep not only yourself safe, but also those around you, and not just during the flu months, but anytime you’re on the mat.
1. IF YOU FEEL SICK, STAY HOME!
If you feel any type of illness coming on, be it a slight headache, runny nose, scratchy throat, etc. stay home. Often times training partners tease one another for skipping training but anytime you feel run down or sick is not the time to show how tough you are. It’s important to skip training during these times for two reasons.
First, as mentioned, gyms are a prime location for the spread of germs and you will likely spread your illness easily with others. As jiu-jitsu fighters we are responsible for and trust each other on the mat. We trust that when we tap, your opponent will let go. We need to trust that we can count on each other to make the right decision when feeling sick as well. Especially with the major competition season in full swing and big events coming up all over Australia and New Zealand, don’t jeopardize your teammates chances of competing by showing up sick. So do it for your Jiu Jitsu brothers and sisters and skip training if you’re feeling any type of sickness coming on.
Second, if you’re feeling run down your immune system is likely already compromised. Going to train will only make things worse for yourself, as well as everyone you contact. Adding stress to an already stressed immune system will only worsen and prolong your sickness.
Bottom line, if you feel any sign of sickness, STAY HOME.
2. SHOWER BEFORE AND AFTER TRAINING!
Some people say not to shower before training because you remove the good bacteria on your skin that helps protect against disease, etc. But if you’ve been working in an office or out around town and show up to class, it’s possible you may have picked up some germs throughout your day. We recommend to take a quick shower before you train, however if you can't then be sure to thoroughly wash your hands and face before training.
Showering after training however, is an absolute MUST. That goes for whether it’s cold and flu season or not. Getting the sweat and other things that were transmitted during training off of you as soon as possible will give you the best shot of preventing sickness. The longer you wait after training to shower the more time germs have to fester and get into your system. Ideally, shower at the academy as soon as class is finished or the second you get home.
3. WASH YOUR GI, BELT, AND RASH GUARD ASAP.
This should go without saying but it’s easy to forget about your gear when you’re tired after a hard day of training. Germs spread and fester when your gi and rash guard sit drenched in a pile on your floor or in your car. Get them in the wash as soon as possible and use hot water. If you cant wash your items quickly then hang them up to dry as soon as you can, ideally in the sun. Hanging wet items in the sun will dry them out and give the germs less time and opportunity to survive. If you prefer to keep your Gi at its current size and wash cold, try a cap of white vinegar in the wash to help kill the bacteria in a natural way.
We understand washing your belt is controversial, however to give yourself the best shot of preventing sickness we recommend that you wash it after every training. If this is too much to ask, you can also spray it with a fabric safe disinfectant cleaner and hang it in the sun to dry. Either way, try to keep it clean!
4. CLEAN YOUR GEAR BAG.
How often do you clean your gi? After every use, right? How often do you clean your training bag? Probably never. Your gym bag is probably loaded with bacteria and germs. Most gear bags are safe to put in the wash, or water proof/resistant to scrub (at least many of Hyperfly’s are) and can be hung to dry. You can also spray the inside of your bag with a fabric safe disinfectant cleaner. Also, don’t leave dirty gear in your bag overnight or for long periods. Use it to transport gear from A to B, then transport back from B to A and wash immediately.
5. SPREAD AWARENESS, NOT ILLNESS.
It’s great if you follow all of these steps, but be sure to share them with your friends and training partners. We are all responsible for each other on the mats. Also, raise awareness by asking your coaches, professors, and academy staff what they are doing to prevent the spread of germs. How often do they clean the mats? Are they making announcements regarding hygiene in each class or in emails to members? Do whatever you can to keep yourself and those around you safe!
Although we are posting this article during the rise of the Corona virus, these steps can and should be used ALWAYS. Nasty viruses like MRSA, “Super Pink Eye,” ringworm, and others are always lurking on grappling mats.
We kindly ask that you share this with your teammates and training partners.
Your Hyperfly family.