Burn out is common in our art, both physically and mentally, and for good reason. Here are the top 5 ways that I've been able to train since I was 15 years old and still love the art.
1. Train with partners that hold you accountable
This is number one for a reason. If you build relationships with training partners that hold you accountable, you will be a lot more likely to train for life. You want your training partners to check in with you when you don't show up to practice. There's often a joke that a jiu jitsu gym can be similar to a cult, while there's a negative connotation to that, you can use it to your benefit to motivate yourself on days you don't feel like training. That's why finding a gym where you fit in is important. You'll be spending a lot of time together, you might as well enjoy their company.
2. Don't approach each day fighting to the death
One of the top reasons for burn out is from training too hard. Yes, we sell recovery shakes, but no amount of nutrition will prevent ALL burnout. Listen to your body. Each match doesn't need to be the Finals at the Mundials. Although those type of trainings may be fun occasionally, limit those to 20% of the time. I often think to myself, if I'm too exhausted to train the next day, I trained too hard.
3. Drill More
This goes along with #2. One way to prevent burn out is to spar less and drill more. Drilling is less stressful on the body than sparring and as an added benefit, your technique will improve. If you only train against a resisting partner, you'll never develop aspects to your technique that you'd discover with less resistance. As the saying goes, "Repetition is the mother of all learning."
4. Have Fun
If you're not having fun while training, you're doing it wrong. Maybe the gym you train at just doesn't have enjoyable people? Or maybe you just aren't that enjoyable yourself :) But seriously, finding a place that you have fun with your training partners is crucial to your longevity in the art. You should be training with the idea of training for life. Try to think back to why you started Jiu Jitsu in the first place and what made it enjoyable, then try to replicate that.
5. Take Breaks as needed
Finally, we all feel it eventually. You need a break. Go train in a different art. It doesn't even have to be a grappling art such as Judo or Sambo. Go train some striking, or go do something active like surfing or lifting. Reduce the amount of time on the mat to where you begin to look forward to training again. Train in a cyclical manner, there will be highs and lows, but you'll always still be training to a certain degree. And that way, you'll never hang up your gi for life.