Seriously. And wash your gi/singlet/knee braces/head gear/shorts/shirt/rash guard/shoes/ whatever. Then wash it again!

No one likes training with a stinky partner. But if the smell is the worst thing about them not being clean, consider yourself lucky. Skin diseases and illnesses are a HUGE problem in combat sports.  Some are harmless and just ugly like ringworm, acne, and athletes’ foot, but some can potentially lead to serious illness and even death. That’s right. Take a shower or you will die. Well, maybe that’s a little extreme… but not that much.  If staph (staphylococcus aureus) or MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), i.e. super staph, get into your bloodstream, it can be fatal. Best case scenarios if  staph gets into your system you spend two days in the hospital hooked up to an IV of antibiotics. E.coli is no joke either and herpes (herpes gladiatorum) lasts forever.

Bacteria, virus and other pathogens thrive in hot, humid environments. Dirty, sweaty singlets, gi’s, etc are their optimal breading grounds.  More than your uniforms though are your braces and wraps. Those get SOAKED with your sweat and absorb all the nasty stuff off anything they touch.  Make sure you wash those, most people forget.  Even if you have to spend an extra 10 minutes washing them in the sink, do it.  I made that mistake a while ago; I didn’t wash my knee wraps well enough and long story short, got MRSA on my knee. Luckily it stayed on my skin (still gross) and I caught it early enough before it got into my blood stream.

Feet and shoes are another huge carrier of dirt and germs.  For those athletes who use wear shoes, (wrestlers, boxers, power lifters, etc) make sure you clean your shoes before getting back on the mat. If you wear them outside or worse, in the bathroom, you end up tracking all that stuff back onto the mat with you, where you inevitably end up rubbing your face on it.  Would you kiss the floor of a bathroom? If you are wearing your wrestling shoes in the bathroom then going straight back on the mat, you inevitably are going to have your face in bacteria. Same with those barefoot sports, judo, bjj, mma etc, make sure you are wearing your sandals when you step off the mat.  If you are walking around barefoot off the mat, not only are you exposing yourself to diseases on your feet (warts, athletes’ foot), but you are also dragging that stuff back on the mat with you to get somewhere else on your body.  On that note, make sure someone is cleaning that mat before and after every practice.

So immediately after training or competing, go take a shower or at the very least change out of your dirty gear.  You don’t need any special antibacterial soap to kill the germs, just plain soap and water will wash the germs off your skin and once they’re off you, they can do no harm.

So once again. Immediately after training wash your gear and yourself. When in doubt, wash twice.  And of course, re-hydrate immediately with Rapid Rehydration.