I sometimes get heartburn when training. It’s unpleasant, distracting, and prevents me from really pushing myself. I would say the worst part of it is that it prevents me from enjoying a long training session, but not enough where I have to stop. So I just go on, annoyed.
I’ve heard a few other folks complain about heartburn on the mat, and their solution is not to eat for several hours before training. That’s just not an option for me. I eat small meals about every two hours and wouldn’t be able to last through a hard practice if I didn’t eat at least an hour before hand.
Anyway, for me, for some reason chewing gum helps with heartburn. I don’t know the physiology of this, nor do I care, it just works (for me). So, I’ve gotten into the habit of popping in a piece of gum before training. Plus, it helps make me smell a little less like a pot of coffee, since by the time I actually get to training, I’ve probably consumed 1-2 pots. Yes, I’m an addict. And yes, I know, coffee is terrible for heartburn.
That’s a lot of writing to get to the comment that I actually wanted to make, which is: I feel that chewing gum helps me in training by reminding me to relax and breath. For example, I was guillotined today in training for about 2 minutes with very little ability to breath, and as crazy as it sounds, chewing gum helped put my mind into that relaxed “I’m just chilling” state and I was able to ride it out. Later, a 250 lbs guy was on my back and had a body triangle on tight for 2-3 minutes while working a choke. I was able to relax through that also. It’s all psychological, but gum seems to be a useful catalyst, as absurd as that sounds.