BJJ Diet - Turbo Charge Your Jiu-Jitsu Grappling

BJJ Diet - Turbo Charge Your Jiu-Jitsu Grappling

1. BJJ Diet

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a grappling sport, relies more on the glycolytic metabolism and striking is more dependent on ATP- phosphorylcreatine (PCr) metabolism. Whether it is grappling in BJJ or Striking in Mixed Martial Arts, the actions required to earn scores are maintained by ATP-PCr metabolism. Another relevant characteristic found in combat sports is the weight division. The BJJ Athletes due to their high intensity, intermittency and long duration characteristics requires the consideration of Diet/Nutrition intake to counteract the occurrence of a potential factor known as fatigue. Fatigue in BJJ athletes may cause:

  • Muscle acidosis
  • Increased extracellular k+ concentration
  • Depletion of phosphocreatine
  • Depletion of muscle glycogen
  • Dehydration
  • Thermal stress
  • Electrolyte Imbalance

2. Role of nutrients in BJJ Champions Diet

It is the natural phenomenon that the macronutrients in the human body provide energy and the micronutrients support metabolic functions. So, for the BJJ champions a balanced BJJ Champions diet is required to provide energy in Jiu-Jitsu fights and support their metabolic functions. The extra body needs of the BJJ athletes requires nutritional plans to support them in training and championships.

2.1. Macronutrients


The major supply of energy gained by elite athletes is from carbohydrates which is considered crucial for sustaining with high intensity exercises. The carbohydrates provide energy to BJJ champions for muscular contraction and for all other metabolic activities that occur in the body during Jiu-Jitsu training.

Muscle glycogen has the ability to help sustain the fighters body during the high intensity Jiu-Jitsu training and exercises. Although, the researched data taken from humans reveals that glycogen depletion is the major cause of fatigue in exercise endurance. Therefore, glycogen availability plays a significant role in the performance of the BJJ champions and in case of prolonged fighting events glycogen depletions will be the major cause of fatigue.

Carbs intake strategy for BJJ Champions

The BJJ Champions require a well-planned diet which comprises adequate amounts of carbs related to the total time of their training. Following points should be considered

  1. Intake of dextrose beverage before and after the training promotes exercise endurance in BJJ fighters.
  2. The meals containing 200-300 g of high Glycemic Index, three to four hours before the training improves players performance invariably. The use of carbohydrates is preferred over the use of supplements.
  3. Gut training strategies are required to tolerate the large amounts of carbohydrates as the consumption of low amounts of carbs is not advisable.which may reduce the amount of glucose in blood.
  4. Consumption of carbs rich meals early after the exercise promises early postexercise recovery.
  5. Intake of carbs after every 30 minute restores muscle glycogen.

So, it is advised to elite athletes to avoid glycogen depletion when the Jiu-Jitsu championship is going to start as it will result in weight loss. Carbohydrates replenishment is particularly important in the prolonged Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu events and fights.


The loss of muscle mass negatively impacts on the performance, energy and power of the Jiu-Jitsu fighter. Thus, an adequate protein source is required to enhance the competitive performance of the BJJ athletes. BJJ fighters should be aware that for success improved muscle mass requires adequate consumption of amino acids.

Most fighters and athletes opt for rapid weight loss for weight adjustment which may lead to protein imbalance and muscle loss. On the other hand, a balanced protein source improves the strength of BJJ athletes resulting in increased protein synthesis.

Protein Intake requirements for BJJ Athletes

The researcher Taropolsky investigated protein intake for strength trained athletes, combats and sedentary persons under three protein intake categories:

Low protein 0.86 g of protein per kg per day
Moderate protein 1.40 g of protein per kg per day
High protein 2.40 g of protein per kg per day

BJJ fighters require a high protein source for strength and muscle mass.

Following points are effective to consider while designing BJJ protein diet plan

  1. Daily amount of protein source should be divided into four-five doses.
  2. Timing of protein source is the critical factor in the protein synthesis
  3. Milk, whey, and soy protein source proven effective for muscles when consumed after exercise

It should be remembered that excessive consumption of proteins do result in extra muscle mass. The protein source should be adjusted with the body mass of the BJJ player. The quality of amino acids and its digestibility is important to consider to fit meal size composition during the training events.

2.2. Micronutrients

The sufficient amount of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is essential for BJJ and is greatly important. They do play a role in weight gain and energy production process but they support metabolic functions in our body. During BJJ fights, tissue and muscular maintenance is required. The intake of vitamins and minerals supports the body during highly intensive training. Some micronutrients are also lost during sweating. The BJJ work out stimulates metabolism in which vitamins and minerals are involved which generates biochemical reactions in the muscle tissues resulting in the increased requirements of micronutrients.

If some deficiency is found in BJJ players then it is essential to take all necessary measures in the BJJ champions diet plan

2.3. Fruits and Vegetables for BJJ athletes

Fruits and vegetables compromise all micronutrients for the stability of BJJ athletes. They are good source of vitamins and minerals like:

  • Vitamin A,C and E
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Folic acid

All these micronutrients ( Fruits and Vegetables ) play a vital role from the protection of diseases and illness.

Why are fruits and vegetables beneficial for BJJ athletes?

  • Low in saturated fat
  • Weight loss
  • Reduce Inflammation
  • Lowers cholesterol and Blood Pressure
  • Immunity booster

Which Fruits and Vegetables are for BJJ athletes?

The nutritional plan for BJJ athletes may consist of fresh, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables. Their use in training sessions definitely help the BJJ athlete in weight cut.
The recommended fruits and vegetables are:

  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Berries
  • Stalk
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potato
  • Bean Sprouts

2.4. Processed Foods

Processed foods are prepared by adding extra sugar, salts and preservatives to make it palatable. They taste good but target health badly. It is not recommended for BJJ athletes to take processed foods as they increase the chance of diseases and weaken the metabolic process. The list of processed foods include:

  • Bakery items
  • Frozen half cooked meat
  • Ice cream
  • Fast Food
  • Packed juices

3. Role of staying hydrated in BJJ Athletes Diet

Sweating causes a large amount of water loss during Jiu-Jitsu training routines. Firstly, most of the time locker rooms are not ventilated and chilled and secondly traditional BJJ Gi is heavy and thick.
If an elite athlete fails to have enough fluid and electrolytes intake then dehydration will lead to decreased exercise performance. In such cases voluntary water consumption will improve the performance and scores of the BJJ athletes. Research shows that dehydration in BJJ fighters resulted in

  • Hyperthermia
  • Weaken cardiovascular system
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • And impaired cognitive functions

BJJ athletes are fully aware that their performance is not only dependent on their strength, power and endurance but multiple factors exist which support BJJ athletes stamina like physical, psychological and cognitive ability Therefore the BJJ champions nutritional plans used for events and fights should consider water intake routine to stay hydrated to maintain performance. According to the American college of sports and medicine water replacement strategies are capable of avoiding water losses less than 2% of body mass. Sometimes the increased body mass of a BJJ athlete is the result of too much water intake.

3.1. Temperature and flavor of fluid

The fluids having temperature below 22°C is considered more palatable In BJJ diet because that is voluntarily consumed during exercise, it gives the cooling effect to the body thus lowering the internal temperature.

4. BJJ Weight Loss

BJJ athlete training is divided into weight classes. The trainers and fighters undergo rapid BJJ weight loss to reduce body mass in considerably less time than required. They think competing in a lighter weight class will give them a competitive edge over weaker opponents.

The rapid weight loss strategy for winning the competition is common among many combat sports. They restrict the intake of food and fluid before the competition to reduce body mass, sometimes by taking weight loss pills or laxatives.This strategy of weight loss is combined with highly intensive exercises in hot environments wearing plastic or rubber suits which results in heavy sweating causing dehydration.

4.1. The negative consequences of rapid weight loss in BJJ Diet

Following impact has been found on elite athletes from the plans they follow for weight loss to win the competitions.

  • Weak immune system
  • Improper functioning of cardiovascular system
  • Impaired thermoregulation
  • Increased cortisol levels
  • Increased bone loss

Many combat players lost their lives in the weight loss management process without considering the proper BJJ diet plans by compromising their required nutrition levels.

4.2. Poor weight loss management and grappling

  • BJJ diet is when compromised they are unable to manage the fights and training sessions.
  • Concentration is lost during fights
  • Low esteem
  • Inability to take decisions during combat sports
  • Lack of self control
  • Aggressiveness
  • Improper functioning of digestive system

Combat players are not recommended to cut weight before competitions. According to researchers, rapid weight loss management should not exceed 5% of the body mass.

5. What Supplements Can Help To Build Muscle Mass and Burn fat?

In combat sports people are always eager to search for supplements that may promise to enhance their performance in terms of speed, endurance, reduced fat and increase in muscle mass. Other supplements include sports drinks and liquid meals which can help to meet their nutritional goals for BJJ training and competitions.

5.1. Sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate

Supplements like sodium bicarbonate and citrate are introduced in the BJJ diet to increase the extracellular and intracellular capacity of the player. The increased blood alkalinity aids the formation of H+ ions in the muscle.

Bjj athletes should be aware that appropriate use of the protein powders can lead to productive outcomes during BJJ fights. Education on the use of supplements is just as important as the composition of essential ingredients in the supplement.

5.2. Creatine

Elite athletes who take creatine supplementation are benefited by water retention in muscles.It also results in increased body mass but if the player is above his or her weight class then creatine can create problems in the weight management journey. Protein powdersmay help the fighters when weigh-in time and the time between the match is 15 hours or longer.

5.3. Caffeine

The data collected by researchers revealed that 6 mg and 9 mg per kg caffeine has better results as compared to taking caffeine less than 3 mg or no caffeine at all. The benefits of caffeine supplements include:

  • Improved reaction time
  • Increase intensity in BJJ fight
  • Reduced perceived exertion

5.4. Amino Acids

For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA amino acids are marked as vital nutrient substrates for protein synthesis. The amino acids are used to construct the human body.. Among the 20 different amino acids, 9 are essential and 11 are non essential amino acids. All the amino acids are required for the building of the body but essential amino acids cannot be synthesized in the body, they are acquired from the food.The valine, leucine, and isoleucine are the essential amino acids that are converted to energy in the muscles. These three essential amino acids are called BCAA. The three amino acids are important for nutritional signals and have mediation effects on:

  • Protein synthesis
  • Homeostasis
  • Anti-obesity
  • Nutrient-sensitive signaling pathways.

In combat sports, BCCA acts as an efficient source of energy during bJJ training and suppresses lactic acid production to strengthen BJJ athletes.

6. Gracie Diet

The Gracie Diet focuses on the lifestyle of the BJJ athletes. It enhances the physiological and psychological aspects of the Bjj athletes to transform them from every aspect. It requires the consumption of a balanced amount of nutrients to shape the body. The BJJ champions diet plan comprises of:

  • Vegetables and Fruits
  • Lean meat
  • Fat and OIly Foods
  • Starch/Carbs
  • Dairy

7. What do BJJ champions say about their diet?

Fabio Leopoldo is a BJJ champion. He is a head coach of Morumbi Jiu-Jitsu in Ventura.

Fabio shared about his diet:
“I try to avoid excess sugar and gluten. I follow a healthy diet. I like to eat berries, avocados, eggs, Acai, greens and other high-protein foods. The good thing is, my wife eats super healthy as well. I see our body as the engine of a car: If you put good fuel in, you will definitely perform better in all aspects. I try not to relate to food as a pleasure.” 

What Joe Rogan says about the lifestyle and to stay Fit:
 “Cut out all the bullshit food and soda” 

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