Training: Reflections at 50, Background and Goals for 50-55


I’m a 50 year old (as of June 2023) masters/veteran judo competitor that also likes to coach wrestling and grappling. I have four kids (1 college, 1 high school, 1 middle school, 1 elementary), they all fence or wrestle and I work full-time as an investor/advisor/CXO. I tend to think about personal/financial/goal planning relative to my age and in 5, 10 or 20 year chunks (e.g. I’ve just turned 50 and closed out on all my 30-50 year old goals, and now I want to hammer through a 50-55 plan).


Ages 14-19: wrestling with Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting style strength work.

Ages 19-29: judo/aikido/jujitsu with running

Ages 29-41: running became running and cycling which became triathlons. Cycling I would do 100-200 mile races, running and triathlon I kept them to half-marathon and half-tri at the longest.

Ages 42-45: Back to Olympic and Powerlifting (coached) with casual wrestling/grappling

Ages 45-50: Olympic and Powerlifting with competitive judo, casual wrestling, casual grappling

Ages 50-55 is now.

Programs (last five years)

2023: 4-6x a week juggernaut bjj app programs til June (birthday month). Mainly did the speed/lifestyle programs to see what would fit better with sport.

2020-2022: did 2x 6-month macros per year for three years with juggernaut ai app during pandemic, was 80:20 hypertrophy:strength so was 16 weeks (3 weeks, 1 deload times 4) and 8 weeks of strength.

2019: Coached with an “MMA” strength and conditioning coach, 4-6x a week

2018: Coached by a powerlifting coach, 4-6x a week

I’d say the biggest “issue” is that I’ve worked with powerlifting style coaches, which is a sport in itself and trying to get that working with judo had challenges in terms of just figuring out fatigue/work capacity. It was fine during the pandemic because didn’t have judo.

Settling into a rhythm post-pandemic to Now

I typically do 5-6x 60-120 minute Judo sessions per week in the evenings. 2x coaching sessions and then when possible, grappling during lunch time.

I wear an optical heart monitor on my left inner forearm to categorize the Judo sessions and they’re pretty consistent. I would say that they categorize as “cardio”, “technical” and when there is the equivalent of “weightlifting” we are moving about 25-50% of the body weight of our opponent and we tend to be matched for size. In other words, all strength tends to be 25-50% body weight, at most it’ll be ~65% like a push-up.

[1] 2x a week are “maximum training+” (Polar) for 2 hours with about 25% zone 5 (30 minutes), 25% zone 4, 10% zone 3, 20% zone 2, 10% zone 1. Judo-wise: these are uchikomi and randori

[2] 2x a week are “basic and steady” (Polar) for 1.5 hours with no zone 5, 15% zone 4, 30% zone 3, 50% zone 2, 5% zone 1. Judo-wise: these are technical and nagekomi

[3] 2x a week are “tempo & maximum” (Polar) for 1 hour with 10% zone 5, 20% zone 4, 30% zone 3, 20% zone 2, 20% zone 1. Judo-wise: these are randori-only, usually every other match. If every match, they become “maximum training+”

I just treat these as 8 hours of three different types of cardio sessions.

Grappling sessions range from 0-6 hours in a week and they’re basic and steady/zone 2 cardio. I think of these as the equivalent of adding zone 2 work

Judo+ gives “cardio” equivalent work in-zone

Zone 1/recovery: 6 hours per week

Zone 2: 6 hours per week

Zone 3/4: 3 hours per week

Zone 5: 1 hour per week

Essentially for coaching purposes, the judo schedule does settle nicely to 60:30:10 zone 2:zone3/4:zone 5 with as much time doing “recovery” zone 1 stuff as zone 2. For about 10-16 hours per week. If I don’t get the grappling time in, I just got for an hour walk at lunchtime instead so the 6 hours of recover tends to happen.

Then on top of this I’ve been doing 6 training sessions a week with the JuggernautAI BJJ app, and this past week I’ve replaced that with the 5x ATG Basics and that went fine. It’s Sunday today and I’m pretty well rested (meaning the Apple Watch said my RHR was 42 and my HRV was 120ms and I woke up on my own after 7.5 hours).

And that was being 40 days into a 55 day diet, so I was on much less calories last week. I was at 191 lbs/85 kgs. I try to compete at and walk around at 81kg (178 lbs), and have competed at 73kg (160lbs). I’m at 181 lbs (82) and just have two more weeks on the diet, then I’ll settle into maintenance calories for at least 10 weeks while doing judo + 10 weeks or ATG basics.


Short term: wrap up the diet the next two weeks and then maintenance calories and 10 weeks of ATG basics in addition to judo/grappling.

ATG-goals: I love that it’s hitting “weak spots” and I figured I’d do 12 week

The “big” question for me (and ultimately the one I really want a professional opinion and/or help on) is whether I attempt to go from 178 lbs (81kg) to 160 lbs (73kg) and compete at 73kg, or whether I can continue to lean out, improve speed, get all the weak links strengthened and do that at 80-81 kg. My urge is “yeah let’s cut back to my college 73kg” but I suspect that’s me being silly and forgetting, meaning that I would walk around at 168 lbs (77kg) and then do the usually water cut to 160 lbs (73kg) when the weight classes shifted. I must have put on more muscle mass the last 30 years and I don’t want to be ever cutting at my age, my gut is telling that I’d like to walk around as 80-81 and just get super fit at that weight (in other words, always be competition weight and 85-100% ready) and considering that it’s 30-55 year old guys, my experience is that I already tend to be in as good or better shape.

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