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Best Tips for Jiu-Jitsu Diet Before and After BJJ Training

Best Tips for Jiu-Jitsu Diet Before and After BJJ Training

It is true that a fighter must focus on learning BJJ tactics and techniques but focusing on factors like diet, hydration, proper sleep, and hygiene also helps you to be successful on the mat. The following article entails the best tips for a healthy jiu-jitsu diet that will benefit your learning, focus, and stamina.

1. Diet to consider before, during, and after BJJ training

Choosing the best diet before and after BJJ training is vital because it keeps you healthy, improves your mood, and increases efficiency on the mat.

1.1. What to eat before BJJ training?

Although focusing on BJJ techniques is important, eating a pre-workout meal for BJJ training provides you the energy you need to sustain yourself on the mat. Fighters should consider the following factors while picking a diet before getting into BJJ training.

Factors to consider:

  • BJJ training is physically tough, so you must have the energy to sustain it. Your pre-workout diet must be equipped with essential ingredients that provide energy that lasts throughout your training session.
  • Whatever you eat should be digestible. Some nutrients are digestible to some fighters but not digestible to others. Because every nutrient has a different effect on different body types . So, you should experiment with what is suitable and gives you more strength before getting into BJJ training.
    Usually, fats are more difficult to digest than protein and carbohydrates. So you should plan your BJJ pre-workout diet accordingly. Choosing chicken or fish over lamb or beef is wise as they are more easily digestible than the latter. Carbs with high fiber keep you light, stay fuller for longer, and maintain your blood sugar level.
  • A pre-workout meal must ensure muscle growth and recovery. A pre-workout meal should protect your muscles from breaking down during a hard workout. Also, it should ensure muscle growth thanks to the essential nutrients.
  • Include carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, calcium, and vitamins in your BJJ pre-training meal. Jiu-jitsu training usually lasts 60-90 minutes. Although carbohydrates give you a quick energy boost, carbohydrates alone cannot give you the energy to sustain yourself throughout a BJJ training session.
  • Add fruits and vegetables along with protein in your carb diet so you can perform better in a BJJ training session. Fruits have glucose and fructose in them that make your mind sharp and help you stay coordinated when moving quickly during training. Their intake also helps keep you light. Vegetables are rich with vitamins and minerals which keep you healthy and energized.
  • Always maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day by consuming simple sugars. Fighters should avoid drinking sugary drinks before training because it will increase the sugar level in the blood. High sugar levels in the bloodstream makes you sleepy during training. Moreover, it hinders the functionality of fat stores during training sessions, making weight loss more difficult.
  • Have your large meal at least two hours before the BJJ training. Otherwise, indigestion will cause you to feel bloated during your training. Feeling sick will distract you from your training and hinder your performance. The larger the meal, the longer you have to wait to digest. Consuming 500-600 calories for a fighter having 82 kg is an appropriate amount before getting into training.
  • After a large meal, consume 20 grams of protein or a last-minute small snack before you start training to help improve your performance. Protein helps with muscle protein synthesis, recovery from injuries, and provides long-lasting energy. So it is beneficial to drink a protein shake before you start training. Moreover, eating or drinking a last-minute sugary snack will give you an energy boost.
Example of the last minute small snack Time for a last-minute pre-workout meal
Greek yogurt with granola nuts(20 g)/Oat bar/ A slice of whole-grain toast with nut butter 30 min before workout
Any Protein shake with banana and almond (20 g) 30 min before workout

1.2. What fighters should avoid eating before BJJ training?

Fighters must avoid junk food, fried food, and dairy products in their diet before starting BJJ training because they are rich in fat. They are slow to digest and make you feel nauseous and sluggish while exercising. Fizzy energy drinks, refined sugar, and alcohol are also not good options because they hinder your performance. Refined sugars give you a sudden boost of energy but can result in a sugar crash. That is why they are not a good source of energy.

Moreover, pasta and processed food with high sodium should be avoided because they can raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

What fighters should avoid eating before BJJ training?

1.3. What to eat during BJJ training?

If BJJ training lasts less than two hours, then no diet is required during the training because a pre-workout diet is enough to sustain your energy. But if your training lasts more than two hours, then 20-25 grams of protein per hour plus 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour should be enough sustenance.

1.4. What to eat after BJJ training?

After training, it is best to replenish your protein levels within 20 minutes because protein synthesis is highest and is quickly absorbed by the body within half an hour. Any protein supplement shake right after your workout will be beneficial. After a couple of hours, a balanced BJJ diet can be taken to replenish lost nutrients.

What is a Balanced BJJ diet?

A healthy and balanced diet for BJJ fighters after a tough training session is crucial. Also, their diet must be rich with protein along with all the essential nutrients like carbs, vitamins, and minerals to maintain muscle mass and strength for peak performance.

A balanced BJJ diet is a combination of fruits, vegetables, green herbs, whole grains, nuts, seafood, meat, seeds, energy bars and drinks, dairy, healthy fat, and starchy food. Fighters use strenuous body movements and engage in tough exercises, so they need to plan their daily diet so that it gives them the energy they need during workouts and recovery .

Furthermore, fighters require more calories than a normal person, so they must plan their caloric schedule accordingly. The following table entails some information regarding the daily caloric needs of a BJJ athlete compared to the average person.

Daily caloric needs of a BJJ athlete as compared to a normal person.

Gender Normal caloric intake (cal) BJJ caloric intake (cal)
Men 2500-3000 6000-6500
Women 2000 4000-4500

An estimate of nutrients amounts as per their caloric intake required per day

Burnt out calories per hour in BJJ 800-900 (cal)
BJJ caloric intake Per day (CAL) 5000-6000
Protein intake required per day (CAL) 1600 cal (400 g)
Carbohydrates intake per day (CAL) 3000 cal (750 g)
Healthy fats intake per day(CAL) 1500 cal (100 g)

What is a Balanced BJJ diet?

1.5. Change your post and pre-workout diet according to the training intensities.

 

For strength training, fighters should consume the proper amount of carbohydrates. Fats and carbs help to provide energy during an exercise. Carbohydrates help create healthy fats to give you energy during strength training so you don't need to consume fats before training starts. So, consuming carbohydrates before strength training is important. Make sure to include more carb intake in your diet.

On the other hand, protein's role is to provide amino acids for muscle growth and recovery. Their contribution to strength training is 2-4%. Adding BCCA, Beta-alanine, and Vitamin B to your carb diet can help improve your performance.

1.6. Jiu-jitsu diet if training in the morning

If you prefer to train in the morning, then you must have a complete breakfast with a good balance of protein and carbs. This way, you will not run out of energy during your training. Adding bananas, oats, blueberries, and nuts to your breakfast can do wonders for muscle strength and a sharp mind.

1.7. Jiu-jitsu diet if training at night

If you prefer to train at night, then you must plan out your meal to provide you enough energy to last your training through the night. Avoid eating too much earlier in the day. Have a healthy lunch with avocados, eggs, and a pre-workout snack or drink before training at night. Having a balanced and nutrition-filled diet will keep you from running out of energy during your training.

2. Hydration: Pre and Post-Workout

While practicing BJJ, drinking plenty of water is vital. Almost 70% of our body is made up of water and all of our cells require water to function properly. BJJ workouts require heavy exertion which can lead to dehydration due to sweating. Sweating not only results in your body losing water, but also deprives the body of essential electrolytes (magnesium, chloride, potassium, calcium, sodium, and phosphorus) that are important for proper body functions .

Electrolyte Effect on the performance due to loss of electrolyte Source
Sodium (Na) Excessive sweating causes loss of sodium and drops the blood pressure. Table salt, Processed food
Chloride (Cl) It disturbs the balance of body fluids. Seaweed, Tomato, Salt, Celery Rye
Potassium (K) Its loss causes muscle cramps, weakness, fatigue, body numbness and aches, and heart palpitation. Banana, Potato, Dried fruit, Pomegranate, Spinach, Broccoli, Beans, Lentils
Calcium (Ca) Its deficiency causes a lack of focus, insomnia, light-headedness, and extreme fatigue. Salmon, Milk, Fruits, Edamame, Tofu, Yogurt, Almonds
Phosphate (Ph) Its loss causes stiff joints, bone pain, fatigue, numbness, weight change, irregular breathing Dairy products, Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Legumes, Vegetables, Grains
Magnesium (Mg) Its loss causes nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Avocado, Leafy vegetables, Whole grains, Skimmed milk, Yogurt

According to the Art and Science of Making Weight, if your body weight lacks 2% of vital fluids (including water and electrolytes), then it eventually slows down the recovery process. If your body weight lacks 4% of vital fluids, then it will cause weaker muscles, loss of focus, heatstroke, kidney and heart failure, and extremely low blood pressure.

Hydration: Pre and Post-Workout

2.1. Hydration before BJJ training

Fighters must drink almost 4-5 liters of water before starting their BJJ training as it helps improve mental toughness and body strength. They must hydrate themselves with water during training to perform well on the mat.

2.2. Rehydrating after BJJ training

Rehydrating after training is also important. The best way to check your recommended water intake is to weigh yourself before coming onto the mat. Then weigh yourself again after training. Then drink 1.5 liters of every 1 kg of weight lost. Only plain water intake is not enough; fighters must add some electrolytes to their recovery drink to replenish fluids. Otherwise, you will have muscle cramps and low immunity.

3. Proper Sleep after BJJ Training

Poor sleep slows down your problem-solving skills on the mat, leading to poor performance. On top of that, your muscle growth will also suffer due to the lack of sleep. Sleep disorders disturb growth hormones, testosterone levels, and muscle glycogen. BJJ is physically and psychologically demanding, so fighters require more sleep than the average person.

To perform well on the mat, it is essential you sleep 10-12 hours a day. More sleep will improve your playing accuracy and reaction time on the mat. Try to manage your sleep after the BJJ training. It will both relax your mind and body.

Proper Sleep after BJJ Training

Main Heading: Checklist for BJJ Fighters to improve their sleep Pattern

  • Switch off the light and establish a quiet atmosphere.
  • Try to fix your sleep schedule.
  • Sleep for at least 10-12 hours per night.
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake throughout the day
  • Avoid using cell phones, computers, or any electronics .
  • Improve your diet and health for better sleep.
  • Meditation and stretching can improve your sleep.
  • Limit daytime napping.
  • Work on reducing stress to improve sleep

4. Hygiene: Pre and Post BJJ Training

It is very important to take care of your hygiene before and after your BJJ workout. Maintaining good hygiene will prevent you and others from contracting contagious diseases. Also, you perform better when you are healthy.

No one wants a stinky partner. So, take a shower and wear deodorant before coming to your BJJ training class.

Always tie your hair, trim your nails, and brush your teeth to avoid bad breath. Remove any piercings or jewellery because they can hurt both you and your partner. Cover your wounds and cuts before training as they can get infected .

Moreover, take a shower right after your BJJ workout, otherwise, you risk getting a bacterial or fungal skin infection. If you cannot take a shower quickly, then it is necessary to wipe your sweat with a clean towel. Keep this towel in a separate bag to avoid contamination through germs. 

5. Maintenance of Jiu-Jitsu Gi: Pre and Post BJJ training

If your gym training includes a BJJ Gi, then always come to training with a freshly laundered Gi because it will keep you from getting sick. Keep your Gi in a clean gear bag. Pack your dirty and sweaty Gi in a separate plastic bag to avoid the spread of germs after your training is over.

6. Warm-up and Cool Down: Pre and Post BJJ training

Warm-ups and cool-down are exercises at a slower pace. The basic purpose of these exercises is to prevent injuries and reduce stress on the body.

Warming up before training prepares you mentally for strenuous activity. It raises your body and muscle temperatures. When your muscle temperature rises, you can easily do extensive exercises and your heart will also not be negatively affected by any strain. Due to muscle elasticity, this also helps prevent injuries.

Many instructors suggest their fighters do runs , jumps, push-ups, and sit-ups before a training session. Sometimes fighters perform solo drills and partner drills as warm-up exercises.

Similarly, cool-down exercises after training help to relax muscles, lower BP, slow your heart rate, and cool down your body temperature.

BJJ instructors ask fighters to slow their breathing, lay still and down on the floor , and perform stretches to lower their heart rate.

7. Stretching before and after BJJ training

Stretching before and after BJJ training is very important. Regular stretching will improve your skillset and flexibility when performing BJJ moves. Your balance will become better and you can control your body effectively when switching from one move to another. 

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