WRESTLING: What to do in the Off Season

Unless you were at the state tournament this past weekend, your wrestling season has been over for at least a week. During this last week you could have spent your time doing any number of postseason celebrations. Eating large dinners with no concern about weight, staying up late and sleeping in later, as well as going straight home after school to relax. All that is good and necessary for the body and mind to regather themselves from the several long months of intense training. This time of rest does not last forever though. For you wrestlers who are serious competitors, chances are this feeling did not even last more than a week. You are already thinking about how to avenge losses, what camps to go to, what freestyle and greco tournaments you want to do, etc. This article will help you identify your weaknesses, find proper places to train, how to eat, and ultimately, how to make the most of out this offseason so you can be an even greater wrestler next season.

Before you even take your first steps back into the wrestling room, you need to clearly set and identify your goals. Visualize what you want to achieve next season. Maybe it is to stay on the Varsity line up, or never get pinned, or qualify for Masters. The goals you set for the next season, build the framework for how you tackle this off season. Do not go into the wrestling room without a purpose. Do not go into the weight room without a purpose. Set a goal, visualize yourself achieving that goal while you put in the work to get there.


The first thing you can always do to become a better wrestler is to actually wrestle. Get some friends who are experienced wrestlers together and wrestle at the park, or in the living room. Having a training partner you can practice technique with will make you both better and give you an edge against the competition. Practice all the moves you suck at or want to get better at. Look at technique videos and drill, drill, drill. Carey Kolat is a legendary wrestler and has a vast technique library on his YouTube channel.

Some schools have a wrestling club that practices and competes in the off season. I am located in Sacramento, and there is just about a wrestling club at every high school in the area. I am a strength and conditioning consultant, and JV wrestling coach for Roseville High School who has over the years developed a very experienced and large wrestling club that practices and lifts weights several times a week in the off season. If you are in the Roseville, CA area feel free to reach out to me on how you can join the wrestling club.

Another option is to attend wrestling clinics and wrestling camps. I had the pleasure of attending several camps and clinics over the course of my wrestling career. Some of my bread and butter techniques that I still use in BJJ today were learned at these clinics or camps. Camps and clinics do cost a decent amount of money to attend. If you don’t have to money, you can WORK. Working won’t kill you. If you are in high school, you are plenty old enough to get a job. Mow lawns, wash cars, walk dogs, etc. Someone is always willing to pay a young kid to do the work they are too old to do.


In addition to refining your technique and wrestling more, you need to get stronger. No matter what your weight is, your skill level, win/loss record, you still need to get stronger. Mark Bell has a very famous quote that I wish I applied to my off season training. Bell famously says, “Strength is never a weakness.” You can never be too strong. Sure you can be short on conditioning, but you can never be too strong. Get STRONG. Lift heavy weights several times a week. Do squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, pull ups, bent over rows, farmer walks, push ups, dips, etc. That being said, don’t skip out on your conditioning maintenance. Do some sprint intervals about 1-2x/week. Keep in mind how I said sprint. You wrestle for six minutes, not 30. There’s little need for you to go on these crazy long runs if your main goal is to get as strong as possible this off season. Do anywhere between 10-20 rounds of sprint work per workout/week. This is actually my favorite part of training wrestlers. My ultimate passion is to help them get stronger for the next season. I train wrestlers to become stronger and bigger season after season, while still being in a competitive weight class. Just like you should find a training partner to drill with, find a training partner to lift with. You can push each other and keep each other accountable to stay disciplined and train.


You want to find a gym that has Olympic barbells and dumbbells of varying weights. Using only machines will never make you as strong as REAL weight. I have trained out of my garage for many years and I do not have any weight machines. I have barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, rings, pull up bars, bands, etc. All my clients use this equipment and get stronger. No machines needed. I am in no way saying machines are bad for you. Machines are great for other sports and training needs. But if you want to get strong, use the tools that give you the biggest bang for your buck.

I specialize in training wrestlers both in season and during the off season. For more information on programs, 1-on-1 and group training sessions at my facility, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com for schedule and pricing.

3. EAT

In addition to all the wrestling and lifting you need to be EATING. You are no longer in season so there is no need to stay in your weight class. Do not gain an excessive amount of body fat, but gain some weight. Put some some quality size and muscle. To do that you need to eat. You can’t build a tank out of aluminum foil, and you can not build a strong and powerful wrestler with junk food. Eat lean meats, eggs, drink milk, lots of vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some fruit. Stay away from soda, breads, pastas, chips, fast food and processed sugars. It will take discipline. It will be difficult at first, but if you are serious about becoming a better wrestler next season, you will need to sacrifice things like junk food to do it.

When I train wrestlers in the off season, I also provide them specific nutritional guides to help them build the muscle they want to build, develop the conditioning they need, and put on the size they are looking for. For more information on eating clean for size and strength, you can look at some of my other articles in regards to nutrition, or email me at settlagesac@gmail.com for further questions.

With these three tips in mind, go attack and take advantage of this off season! I made the biggest improvements during the off season, not during the season. I made a lot of mistakes during my off seasons, which I will talk about in the next article. For more information on strength and conditioning for wrestling athletes, follow me on Instagram at @settlagestrength. To see my daily workouts and lifestyle focused around #dailydiscipline, follow my personal account @joshuasettlage.

For personalized wrestling training programs, nutrition guides for both strength gain and fat loss, 1-on-1 and group training sessions, feel free to email me at settlagesac@gmail.com for a consultation.


Remember Those Goals?

Remember those goals you wrote down a couple weeks ago? Or at least thought of on your way to work as you realized the start of a new year is coming? What has happened since then? Are you currently working towards those goals right now? If not, why is that?

These are questions I was asking myself recently as I drove to my own jiu jitsu training earlier one morning. I realized that out of the goals I set out to tackle this year, I had stopped working towards them. I forgot what my goals were and had to go back and remind myself what I had set out to do. I was currently going through the motions of my life, and not hustling to save my money, read at least one book a month, grow my relationship with God, and train/compete in jiu jitsu more. I was doing the minimum amount of training I could skate by with and making excuses on why I couldn’t go to class. I had finished one short book in the first two weeks of January, but hadn’t cracked open a single book since. I was still inconsistent with my quiet times and pursuing a better relationship with God. Finally, I hadn’t saved a single penny.

We all experience this with goals. I would be very surprised if someone set a goal at the beginning of the year, and never struggled once to stick with it or be consistent. It happens to the best of us. Life gets busier and those goals that we set out to crush this year move further down on the list of priorities. However, let this year be different. My goal is to encourage you to get that fire back. Block out some dedicated time to work on your goals. Do not let this years goals slip away from you.

People ask my all the time how they can start on their own #dailydisicipline, I usually respond with, “Start right now!” Essentially, just find something you can do right now to build discipline. That could be skipping desert at dinner, finding something better to read than watching a mindless YouTube video. Listen to a podcast on your way home from work. Set out your workout clothes tonight and set your alarm an hour earlier. Take one small step towards a life or discipline right now.

The same logic applies to you who have been slacking on your goals. Do something right now that will help you get closer to reaching the end goal, the final destination, the end game. For me, that was putting a book on my desk. That way every time I sit down to do homework or work on a client’s personalized program, I see that book waiting to be opened. I am reminded that I need to just spend 15-20 minutes reading that particular book before my eyes shut for the night. Unsurprisingly, it worked. I am currently working through a few different sections of Tim Ferriss’s, “Tools of Titans”.

Go do something right now that will get you back on track to meet your goals. Make this year different. You still have 11 months left to make tremendous progress, take control over your life, and live a life changed by your own #dailydiscipline.

Photo by Jesse Winton. Instagram: @jessewintonco

Submission Pro Tour Sacramento Open Recap

In case you have not been following my Instagram feed, it has been a few days since I competed in the Submission Pro Tour Sacramento Open. It was a very well run event and all the staff, refs, promoters and competitors were very friendly and helpfull. Now onto my reflection of the event.

I am very satisfied and happy with my performance. I was able to take home a third place finish, with two matches in total. My bracket was awfully small for my weight class. I competed in the 181 pound class and assumed it would be stacked, although there were only five competitors total in that division. Due to the odd number of competitors, I was the first match of the tournament and the winner of the first match would move onto the semi finals with the rest of the competitors. My first match was a tough one. My opponent came out strong and aggressive right off the whistle. He was quick to establish grips and attempt to pull guard. I was able to stay out of his guard and upon standing back up, attempt a guard pull of my own (I will create a more in depth breakdown video of each match for my YouTube channel). My opponent was aggressive throughout switching to different attacks one after another. At one point he had a kimura grip on my left arm looking for a submission. I had a strong grip on my l’appelle preventing my shoulder to be compromised. He proceeded to yank on the grips he had in order to break my grip and isolate my arm. It was at this point I realized he was exerting himself. The match was five minutes long and resulted in no submissions, leading to over time. I was able to make it to the end of the third overtime. I knew I was down on the time carbs and needed to accumulate a significant amount of riding time to lock in a guaranteed win. At this point my grip was fatiguing and instead of clinging onto his collars for positional control, I switched to classic collegiate leg riding techniques that learned in high school. I kept both hooks in and used a power half series that I was particularly fond of in high school. My opponent did a very good job defending the few submission attempts I went for. After about three minutes of riding time, I saw an opening for an armbar attempt. I did not have good enough control once my hips were set and my opponent was able to slip his head and arm out. After the officials calculated the total riding time, I was awarded the win based off of overall riding time.


After this match my grip was pretty shot. My forearms were so pumped! I felt more pumped in my forearms after that match than I ever have during a killer arm workout. I ate a banana to get some quick energy back before my next match which was about ten minutes after my first match. My second opponent was coming in fresh and ready for action. He came out strong just like my first opponent. Although he did not have as much control over the positions and left openings for me to scramble, he did have me in danger of a sneaky Ezekiel choke from mount. Like my first match, no submissions during regulation resulted in the need for overtime. I chose the back just like I had in my first match and made the mistake of not being aggressive off the whistle and looking for an escape. I remained calm and collected, but was not as active during the first overtime round and gave up about a minute of overtime for my opponent. I was unable to have prolonged control of my opponent like I did in the first match. At the end of three overtime rounds, my opponent had longer riding time locked in than I did. He was earned his raised hand by the ref and moved on to the finals leaving me in third place.

My experience at the Submission Pro Tour was a great one. All week and during the weekend I was working on homework and other academic responsibilities. This pressure to complete all my assignments on time throughout the week of the tournament and even the morning of allowed me to use the tournament as a break from the noise. I went to have fun and learn. Even though this is the lowest placing I have earned since beginning my competitive grappling journey, I am most satisfied with this result. The competition was game, I saw major improvements in my own jiu jitsu skills, and learned what I need to work on next. One of the biggest improvements I believe I made in preparation for this event was my submission defense and ability to stay calm and collected. I have been competing in grappling related sports since 2011 and have had my fair share of matches where I went out too hard in the beginning and or panicked when I was in bad position. This event I was able to relax throughout each match and remain cognitive throughout. Something I need to work on for my next competition is my grip endurance. The strength is there, but the ability to last several matches unfortunately is not. I also need to work my escapes from bad positions as well as my ability to capitalize in scrambles to obtain dominant positions. I am not sure if I will compete again during 2017, but I am looking forward to improving and bringing heat in 2018.

For more information on my grappling journey and training, follow me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage). For more information on personalized training programs, and customized nutrition guides for any grappling oriented sport, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com.

Training Through Injury

If you do not follow my Instagram account (@joshuasettlage), you have not seen my stories of me training with the high school wrestlers from my alma mater, Roseville High School. Working with these wrestlers has reminded me of my own wrestling training during high school. In those memories are the bitter memories of injuries. In doing jiu jitsu competitively, injuries are present as well. All these inspired me to talk about something I often get asked about: training through injury/what to do if you are injured.

I feel like I should not even have to say this, but before you ask you coach to sit out of wrestling practice, tell him/her you can’t wrestle today, or decide to not show up to your jiu jitsu training, ask yourself if you are hurt or injured. These are both contact sports with extreme levels of physicality and demand on the body. If you want to be competitive, you have to train while you’re hurt. I find it appalling the absence of tenacity, grit and discipline in wrestlers and jiu jitsu players saying they want to be the best, but will use a jammed finger, or sore throat as a reason to skip out on training. I’m not sorry if that sounds harsh. If you find this offensive, it is most likely because no one told you to suck it up and get back to training. So I’m telling you now, if you want to be the best, suck it up and get back to training.

Now that is out of the way, I can move on to what this article is really about. Imagine you just tweaked your knee in training. You were defending a takedown, and your partner reached for your ankle pulling it towards him/her while your hips were unable to move. They pulled it a little too far and you feel and concerning pop in your knee. You shake it off and finish out practice. You go home, ice it, heat it, compress it, etc. in hopes of full recovery by the time you wake up. Next morning it is swollen and completely stiff to the point when you walk, you are swinging your leg out to the side instead of flexing at the knee. Now you have a legitimate injury. What do you do? KEEP TRAINING. Now I do not mean, keep training takedowns and put yourself in the same position that caused the injury, but DO WHAT YOU CAN. Your knee is jacked up? Good. Time to work on pull ups. Your elbow is tweaked from an armbar? Perfect. Now go hit 500 air squats for time. Pulled something in your shoulder? Awesome. Go lunge for 15 minutes straight.

There is always something you can do. Unless you are in the hospital, find a way to keep training. I had a hurt wrist for most of my junior and senior year of high school. Some weeks it only hurt to put direct pressure on it like in a handstand position, other times it would shoot pain through out my forearm when I turned over the ignition in the car. What did I do? I couldn’t lift (I know… it was a dark and sad time), I could only do limited bodyweight exercises and running drills/workouts. That is exactly what I did. Box jumps, pistol squats, air squats, sprint intervals, broad jumps, and long distance runs. I was able to build up my conditioning and sprint faster than ever. I was somewhat more explosive and had improved my squat mobility tenfold. At wrestling practice I could push a high pace in a match, much longer than I ever could before.

The bottom line is that there is always something you can do. Do not waste time, pouting about how you can’t train. You might not be able to do live rolling, or max out on squats for a few weeks, or do any barbell overhead work, but there is still something you can do to get better. Injuries are blessings and curses. As much as you hate not doing what you love, it might be the only time you dedicate time to work on another weakness in your game.

How to NOT Fall Off During Fall

It is with a heavy heart I come to the realization that summer is officially over. I often say, if I had it my way, it would be 90 degrees 360 days out of the year, and 60 degrees the five days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I love the beach, the lake, iced coffee, shorts, outside workouts, BBQ’s and warm evenings. Although, the world does keep on moving in it’s course around the sun leaving us in Fall. Fall is that weird season, where people who are not active on Instagram all of a sudden have 100 pictures about their matching flannels, pumpkin spice everything, and hoodies. Fall is also the season where people begin to fall off the wagon. Huge pun intended.

After the first of the year people flock towards gyms to get in shape. If they even make it into February, they likely don’t get past Valentine’s Day. They start up again in April to get that, “summer bod” that is ready to go to the lake looking j-j-jacked. After the summer BBQ’s, camping trips, beach vacations, and warm evenings are over, people lose motivation to continue training. Labor day weekend is the last hurrah of delicious BBQ food, Halloween is another sugary treat fest served in skimpy outfits. Thanksgiving is the last nail in the coffin. The final straw that lays all remnants of discipline in a grave to be revived again on January 1st.


We are at the dusk of September and the downhill rush of the holidays is approaching. Here are several tips to stay on track with your nutrition, training program, and discipline throughout not only the fall, but winter also.

Reflect on your goals and progress.

If you started training hard to change your body composition for the summer, look for those initial progress pictures. Reflect back on how far you’ve come after several months of consistent discipline, clean eating, and training. You should be proud of how far you’ve come, but don’t get it twisted. You are far from being done. If you look back and look exactly the same as you did before summer, or are still lifting the same weights you lifted back in April, it’s time to get your act together. Summer is over. No more messing around. Find a routine and get back in the gym. Look back on the goals you wrote down several months ago and get to work. If you don’t know where to start, list two new goals: 1) Physique or body composition goal, 2) performance goal (i.e. strength, endurance, 1RM, etc.). Find a training program to start, and a nutrition plan. Stick to it. Get up early and train hard.

It also goes without saying, you can adjust or change your goals also. If you spent several months leaning out and bringing down your bodyfat percentage, maybe it’s time to focus on building serious muscle and adding some pounds to the barbell. The bottom line is, reflect on the goals you set out to accomplish all those months ago, as use that as motivation and data to attack this next season of training.

Change up the norm.

Recently I posted a picture on my Instagram of me training outside. It was so refreshing and fun! Training in the same gym, same garage, same facility, for months on end can grow stale. Change things up to bring the fun back into training. Take dumb bells outside and chase a crazy arm pump. Make a sled out of a car tire and run sprints up and down the block. Finish the workout with five sets till failure on a certain exercise. It’s okay to add some variety and fun into a training program. That being said, if you’re a powerlifter, changing the norm does not mean go run 20 miles after a heavy squat day. Keep the change all in good taste.

Find a training partner.

Having a training partner who is going to push you and hold you accountable is one of the best things you can do as a lifter, or even someone looking to get healthy. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” Though this is originally speaking about one’s spiritual life, the same applies for the gym. A training partner helps me get out of bed and into the garage even when I don’t want to. Not only look for a good training partner, but be a good training partner. No one wants to train with someone complains , or talks too much in between sets. If you say that your partner doesn’t talk to much in between sets, it’s because YOU talk too much between sets.

Those are three things that I find I must employ every fall season to stay on track. Staying disciplined is hard. It takes work. It takes commitment and it requires you be uncomfortable. The results of discipline make it worthwhile. Do not get caught in the pumpkin spice latte craze, or the spider sugar cookies. Do NOT lose focus this fall season. Keep getting up early. Stay disciplined. Do not fall off the wagon during this fall season and lose what you have worked so hard to achieve the last several months.

For more information on 1-on-1 training, personalized workout programming for all of your fitness needs, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com. To see some of my daily training and routines, follow me on Instagram, @joshuasettlage.

Lessons in Daily Discipline #1: NEVER STOP LEARNING

If you follow me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage), or know me personally, you will know that Iive by the phrase, “daily discipline”. Not only is it a clever use of alliteration, but also represents the way we should all strive to live our lives. One of my most popular articles, “Why Do I Get Up Early?” gives an in depth look into one aspect of daily discipline. If you haven’t read the article, you can find it here. I decided to start a series of articles that not only allow me to open up about decisions of discipline or lack there of in my own life, but to also help those who need a little extra push to stay disciplined in certain areas.

Last week I began training for the Submission Pro Tour in October. Once I have a date on the calendar, I am 100% focused. Every aspect of my life revolves around peak performance and gaining a competitive edge against the competition. One of the habits I picked up while training for a previous tournament was buying a $2 notebook at WalMart and begin to study jiu jitsu competitions and other practitioners. I took notes on everything. Their sequence of attacks and certain defenses, transitions, most successful submission, etc. I also took notes on the moves and transitions I learned in class, and how I did during the live rolls of class. In beginning the study process for this next tournament, I realized something. Why am I not applying this amount of focus, passion and drive to learn jiu jitsu throughout the entire year? Not only in jiu jitsu, but why have I fallen out of reading daily? What happened to the discipline of making time to learn something new each week?

Like fresh bread, we must never grow stale. We must never grow complacent with our current position or situation. We must always strive for something more. There is something special about aiming to be better, faster, more efficient, at any task, skill, or aspect of our everyday lives. Not only does learning and growing enhance our quality of life, but the lives of those around us. At this last year’s Global Leadership Summit, founder and senior pastor of Willow Creek Church and head of the Summit stated in his opening session, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” Isn’t that so true? When a leader in the workplace gets better, employees enjoy their job more, and are able to deliver with excellence on the tasks they’re assigned. The same for coaches. When a coach gets better, most of the time, athletes get better. When a husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend gets better, the relationship gets better.

Constantly learning allows us to grow in fulfilling the purpose God has for us, or the mission we have set out to complete. In fulfilling the purpose God has for us, everyone reaps the benefit. I realized that in order to become a better strength and conditioning coach I needed to stay up to date on what research is coming out about exercise physiology, as well as learn how to run my business more efficiently so I can help more people reach their fitness goals. I in turn bought Lazlo Bock’s NY Times Bestseller, “Work Rules!”. In reading this book I am learning how not only how to transform how I live, but also become a better leader because of it.

Some of the books and resources I’ve picked up over the years.

Learning does not necessarily mean learning or studying something that is directly related to your sport or your line of work. It is good to stretch yourself and learn something beyond what you’re comfortable with. When I first met my girlfriend, I hated coffee. If you know me now, that might come as a huge shock. Although, through getting to know her family more and being exposed to great coffees from all over the world, I became fascinated with home brewing. Over the last several years I have accumulated several pieces of home brew equipment and thoroughly enjoy finding the perfect ground to water ratio, the perfect temperature to heat the water, and what coffees taste best with a certain brew method. Learning about coffee not only is fun and enjoyable with other coffee lovers, but it allows me to take a break from all the barbells and jiu jitsu. Sometimes it is nice to step out of the realm I am used to thinking in, and be exposed to a whole new world of agriculture and chemistry.

Making a commitment to learn more is not difficult. It just takes discipline. Here are some of the steps I take when wanting to self educate myself further…

  1. Schedule in time specifically dedicated to self education. Write it in big sharpie, put a reminder on your phone, whatever it takes. Do not just think, “Today I am going to spend some time reading.” People are so busy these days and 9/10 just saying you’ll try to do it does not last very long.
  2. Go grab a book. Any book. Any book that seems remotely interesting and READ it. Don’t leave it on the shelf. Use the first step of scheduling time, and read the thing.
  3. Make a list of hobbies and plug one of those hobbies in with “How to…” on YouTube.
  4. Find an interesting podcast to start listening to during your commute to and from work.
  5. Instead of watching TV in the evening, turn on that podcast and go for a walk after dinner.

These are just some of the habits I have used in the past to self educate myself. It is easy to do all these things when you have all the time in the world. Unfortunately, there is never enough time. Like the great Arnold Schwarzenegger always said, “You will never have enough time. You must make the time!” As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it takes discipline. Daily Discipline. Now go out and learn something. Comment below what you are going to learn this week!

For more information of #dailydiscipline, strength and conditioning, and my everyday life, give me a follow on Instagram: @joshuasettlage. If you have questions or inquiries on personalized programming, customized nutrition plans, and/or personal training, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com.

3 Things Wrestlers Should Do In Their Pre-Season

Labor day weekend is now officially behind us, and the heat waves and summer tournaments are over. Now is the calm between being in the off season, and being deep into the weekly dual meets, tournaments, cold winter and all. As a wrestler, you are the only one responsible for your losses the previous season. There is no one else to blame, but you. As a wrestler, you can not claim credit for any of your wins. Each of your wins last season came from the many contributions both your training partners and coaches invested in you. Although, during the off season, what you do to get better is entirely your responsibility. The summer months are what really separate the JV and Varsity line ups, the divisional competitors, and state placers. During the summer, a wrestler makes a conscious choice whether they want to crush the competition next season or not. They make a choice between being a glutton at every backyard BBQ and hardly gets a wink of sleep, and those who focus on getting stronger, refining technique, and keeping their nutrition in check. What YOU decided to do this summer is what has put you in the position you are in now. It is now the week after Labor Day weekend, back in school, and time to start up pre season training. Here are three things every wrestler who is serious about becoming the best wrestler they can be should be doing right now in this precious preseason.

  1. Keep Getting STRONG.

If you are one of those wrestlers who chose to take advantage of the off season, you most likely spent most of the summer training hard to build a firm foundation of strength to take into next season. Now that it is the pre-season, do not stop now! You still have at least three months before your first tournament. That’s 2 months at the very least to keep lifting heavy and getting as strong as can be. You might have to make sacrifices like skipping weekend parties and late nights to be a good student, and lift for wrestling. You can’t stop now, because there is still work to be done. You do not want to throw away that strength you worked so hard for over the summer. With that being said, now is the time to introduce a little conditioning. Finish out your workouts with some sprint intervals on the track, or sled drags and pushes. You do not need to run a marathon, but something short, fast to start building your engine. A future article will discuss different conditioning finishers for pre-season training. Here is one of the simplest finishers: 20 minutes total of 30s all out sprints, followed by 30s of rest. If you have never done this on a rowing machine, give that a try. You will find what you’re made of on that rower.


If you have not been training this summer to get strong, now is the time to start. Start squatting, deadlifting, and pressing. If you need to know why strength is important to sport and how to perform each lift, refer to last week’s article here. There is a famous saying, “On a hot summer day with no shade, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is right now.” You should have started doing some sort of structured strength training two weeks after your last match. If you did not, then you better get to the gym and start now.

2) Dial in Your Nutrition:

School has started which means there are no more summer BBQ’s, swim parties, late night hang outs or kickbacks. Now is the time to get your nutrition straight. You want to have your diet locked in BEFORE season starts. Trying to adjust your diet, finding out what foods your body responds well too, and trying to develop new eating habits to make weight in season is very hard. Get your food straight now. It will only make you a better athlete. If you have never seriously eaten clean before. Start with these two simple rules: 1) If it comes from the ground or has a mom, it’s probably good for you. 2) If it has more than three ingredients, it is probably bad for you. Simple as that. Not only will you perform better as an athlete, you will gradually begin to lose excess body fat gained in the summer, thus giving you a better idea of what weight class you can be most competitive in. Learning to properly fuel your body for optimal performance should be done before you begin training for optimal performance.



For some wrestling programs, not all preseason practices are mandatory. You have to chose to show up to practice. If you are in the middle of football season and/or have commitment to another sport that’s a different story. Although, if you are serious wrestler, you better show up. It’s no secret that the wrestlers who have been to more practices, drilled more tilts, taken more shots, and finished more takedowns at practice are going to out perform you every time. Put in extra work every chance you get. If there’s no practice on Saturday, invite a team mate over, move the couch and coffee table and drill tilts for an hour on the carpet. If there is no one who wants to drill for an hour on a Saturday, move the couch and coffee table and drill your stand up escapes. Getting in 100 perfect reps doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes. Instead of laying on the couch watching TV, watch your matches from last season and take notes (I started doing this when I was a sophomore in high school. Hands down one of the best things I did to become a better wrestler. I still do it to this day with all my jiu jitsu matches.)


I apply this principle in my own jiu jitsu training. All summer I would find someone who would want to show up an hour early to drill transitions and submissions. I usually stay after class to get an extra 30 minutes of live rolls in. When no one wants to get to jiu jitsu early, I go over to my old wrestling team and wrestle with them for an hour before I go to jiu jitsu. On Sundays I drive 30 minutes across town to another jiu jitsu school and get in an hour of live rolling. My game has improved drastically, because of the extra steps I take each week to become better. My next competition is in 46 days and I want to be prepared as I can be. I will take every chance I get to become better. You have 3 months. Get after it.

These are the three things you should be doing right now during this precious preseason. If you are not, start NOW. Not tomorrow, or Monday. TODAY. Begin to build discipline and take advantage of opportunities to become a better wrestler. Next season is a reflection of the work you put in during the offseason and preseason. Get strong, eat clean, and wrestle.

Why Do I Get Up Early?

Since I began posting pictures of the digital alarm clock in my room, many people who follow my social media are curious about it. I often hear, “Aren’t you tired?”, “I don’t know how you do it.”, “Why do you get up so early?” After hearing this almost on a daily basis, I decided to share the main motives behind this daily decision and how you can join me in doing so.

I get up early because there is work to do.

I get up early because everyone else is asleep.

I get up early because it’s a challenge.

I get up early because it takes discipline.

I get up early because chances are, my competition is still asleep.

I get up early because if I wake up two hours before the competition does, that is two hours of extra preparation I have ahead of them.

I get up early because I love it.

Getting up early is not easy. It’s hard. It sucks leaving the warm comfort of your bed to head to the gym where you’ll be in pain and sweaty and tired and gross. In all honesty, I too have times where the most beneficial thing to me and my training is to sleep and recover and I am careful using those strategic rest days. Although, for the most part, I choose to ignore that voice in my head and throw the blankets off, drink a glass of water, go down to the squat rack and warm up. When there is work to be done, one must get up early. Nobody has enough time, so we must make the time. If I hear someone tell me they don’t have time to train, and I see them sleeping in till noon, laying around on the couch for several hours and then deciding to get ready and do something with their day, it frankly makes me sick. I do not have enough time to get done everything I need to. I am busy and have responsibilities like everyone else here on Earth. I do not have enough time, but I do have goals. I do have visions, dreams, aspirations, and plans. In order to accomplish those goals I have to make the time to work towards them. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger said, I must sleep “faster” to add two more hours to my day so I can train. Taking one more step towards making that vision a reality. I want to influence, mentor, lead and encourage young people around me to be more disciplined, to be mentally tough, and to be stronger. Getting up early starts the snowball effect for my day. If I have to discipline to get up at 3:30am, I also have to discipline to not cheat on my diet during competition prep. If I have to discipline to do that, I also have the discipline to work on growing my personal business when I am already a full time student, and continue to learn and develop myself mentally and spiritually just as much as I am physically.

Getting up early is a choice you must make the night before. If you normally wake up at 7:00am, you can not simply just will yourself awake to get out of bed at 5:00am. You have to set your alarm the night before and make a conscious choice and commitment with yourself that you are supposed to get up when you intend to. That leads me into my first tip of getting up early.

  1. SET AN ALARM. This seems like an obvious step, but I can’t tell you enough how many times people tell me they are going to start getting up early and yet never set an alarm! If one alarm is not enough set more. I currently have five alarms set so that there is no way I am not awoken when I should have been.
  2. DO NOT HIT SNOOZE. The first act of #dailydiscipline for me starts with refusing to hit snooze. If I refuse to hit snooze, I am on track to getting after it that morning. The snooze button is one of the worst inventions ever created. It is the button that activates laziness. It is a button that entices you to give up on your commitment to yourself of getting up early. If you do not plan on waking up at 5:00am, do not lie to yourself and set your alarm for 5:00am. If you do plan on getting up at 5:00am, proceed to step three.
  3. GET UP. Physically leave your bed. Undo the covers and go from horizontal to vertical as quickly as you can. You can’t fall back asleep if you are standing up and walking around. When I first began making a commitment to getting up early, I would wake up, but lay in bed staring at my phone and seeing what was going on the night before. Before I knew it was being woken by alarm number two. If you leave your bed the first time, there is no longer a desire to hit snooze, there is no longer a desire to get back under the covers, there is no longer a voice saying to roll over and fall back into a deep slumber. You are already up. Act on the first two acts of discipline that took you here.

These three steps to getting up early probably seem like the most obvious steps for any process imaginable. As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of people who tell me they want to wake up early, but don’t know how, or are not committed enough to do it. It is not complicated by any means, it is just hard. Like anything else it becomes easier as your body adapts to the new circadian rhythm. It’s not impossible, you can do it.

I encourage you to start getting up early. Why? Because it takes discipline. If you can have the discipline and grit to wake up early, you can have the discipline to skip the cookie tray at work. You can have the discipline and most importantly the extra time needed to workout even if it’s just something small. Starting your day with one small step of discipline makes for other bigger steps of discipline easier. Another reason I enjoy getting up early is because it makes my day longer. If you currently do not have time to read and work on personal development, or do not have enough time to workout, or do not have enough time to prep healthy food before you leave for work. Imagine all you can do with one extra hour in the morning. Imagine how much more productive you can be if by 8:00am, your workout is done, you have read a chapter of a new book or listened to a podcast, and are ready to tackle the day with your homemade healthy lunch already assembled? Take it from me, you can do a lot.

Get up early. You do not have to get up at 3:30 like me, but just set your alarm an hour earlier. Instead of waking up at 6:30 and hitting snooze till 7:00, set your alarm for 5:30 and actually get up when it goes off. Take a picture of your alarm clock and tag me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage). Let’s create a culture of #dailydiscipline that does not settle for mediocrity and strives to jump start the day. My life has changed since I began waking up early over a year ago. My hope is that yours will be changed as well. GET UP.

Dates on the Calendar

I am going to start with the obvious. Goals are important. Here is another piece of obvious information. Working to achieving those goals are important. Now, for something maybe not so obvious. Having a date on the calendar by which to accomplish them by is arguably most important.

Setting a date on the calendar puts a countdown for you to accomplish those goals you set in place. It gives you a due date. If someone has a goal to, “get stronger”, that goal remains in limbo while you wait around and debate on which program to choose, what time of day to train, conjugate or 5/3/1, what foods do I need to eat, etc. All the questioning leads to indecision and no one gets any stronger. Having a date on the calendar creates a sense of urgency in your life and in your training. If you know you are going on vacation at the end of June, and it’s the beginning of April now, you have about 12 weeks to get in shape for your vacation.

Since May of 2015, I have set goals with very specific dates on the calendar by which to complete them. Beginning in May, I had a goal to gain size and strength by the end of the year. More specifically work up to 175 pounds in bodyweight by Dec. 31st. Next was in April of 2016 when I put the Tahoe Show on the calendar in August. Watching the calendar as week by week I got closer to my first bodybuilding show really motivated me and kept me accountable to training hard and sticking to my diet. After the Tahoe Show, I set out to compete in jiu jitsu again and signed up the day I got back in the dojo. I am now 31 days out from my next Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament and am counting the days till I step out on the mat and compete again.

If at any time I feel my training begin to grow stale or I no longer am anticipating getting out of bed at 4:15 in the morning to head to the gym, I look at my calendar. If there’s nothing on there, I know it’s time to reassess my goals and chose a date I expect them to be accomplished by. In Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Work Week, he talks about increasing productivity setting timers and cut offs for doing different tasks. He advised to not give yourself all day to get one thing done, because you will inevitably find a way to spend all day doing that one thing. I believe the same with goals. On January 1st, 2017 you probably proudly stated that you are going to be healthier, stronger, faster, more explosive, etc. Did you give yourself a cut off date? Many times people do not set specific dates for these goals and will spend (if their even make it that far) all year working on this one goal, yet never actually achieving it.

These dates on the calendar are almost my accountability partners for training. When I want to break off my diet, the date on the calendar is there to keep me in check. The calendar tells you, “You are five weeks out from your first bodybuilding show a break in your diet now can cost you the physique you’ve spent the last 11 weeks building.” or when I want to skip out on a conditioning workout, “You have two months before the tournament. Building conditioning now will help your training sessions later on, and in turn make you a better jiu jitsu player.”

You might be thinking, “I don’t want to do a bodybuilding show!” or “I hate wrestling and jiu jitsu, I just want to be healthy!” and that’s totally okay! All of us have different passions, goals, needs, and dreams. This is not just specific to combat sports or physique competitions, but for any goal. If you have a goal to be healthier and put on a little bit of muscle and the summer starts in June, use that as your date. Write down your goal and the date by which you want to accomplish it by, and put it somewhere you will be reminded every day, on your phone, the mirror, etc. If you have a vacation coming up this summer, there’s your date. Before I leave for vacation in Santa Cruz, I want to be lean and feel confident in a swimsuit.

Marking that date on the calendar is just the little extra push I need to get through those hard days of training and I believe it just might be the little extra push you need too. Living a disciplined life includes setting goals to better yourself and others. For me, I am focused every day on May 6th, 2017. Every rep, every set, every choke and armbar is all centered around the preparation for the tournament on that date. Those goals are not true goals until there’s a date on the calendar. My goal to compete in jiu jitsu again was not legitimized until put it down in the calendar and paid the competitor fees. Until there’s a date on the calendar, your goals are nothing more than just a dream. A dream that remains in limbo till you pull the trigger and get to work. Not going on vacation this year? Already strong enough for wrestling? You think you don’t need a date on the calendar? Wrong. There’s 365 days out of the year. Pick one of those days and accomplish something powerful before that day comes. Develop the discipline to set a goal and actually achieve it.