Common Mistakes, Players Make in Their BJJ Competition Diet

Common Mistakes, Players Make in Their BJJ Competition Diet

1. Overview

The preparation for a top-notch BJJ competition such as the ADCC Worlds or the Mundials is one of the most important milestones in the life of a BJJ player. So, it is essential to plan wisely for the BJJ diet, training, and sleeping hours. 

The training for the BJJ competition demands a lot of physical and mental exertion. So, to perform well on the mats, a BJJ player’s diet must be based on balanced nutrients.  Along with the intake of natural foods, adequate hydration is also essential. As most BJJ players aim for weight-cutting, they make a very common mistake of not eating enough foods  rich in proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

 It is very important to note that eating a limited amount of food before the BJJ competition may result in feeling low, lethargic, and even dizzy.

So, this article will provide useful tips to avoid the common mistakes BJJ players make in their BJJ competition diet.

2. Importance of Diet for BJJ Players

Food serves best to energise and fuel our bodies to perform all day.  Food helps in optimising brain and bodily functions, strengthening your immune system, improving cardiovascular health, and to reduce inflammation.

A balanced diet helps a BJJ player to perform well on the mats by using all his abilities effectively. Usually, BJJ players are recommended a high-fat or high-carb diet in accordance with weight goals.

So, a BJJ player needs to eat wholesome and organic foods including vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, chicken, red-meat, and fresh milk. Processed food like chips, burgers, pizza, sugary drinks, and soda need to be avoided at all costs during hard training sessions.

A proper diet plan will always ensure that a BJJ player gets the appropriate amount of proteins, carbohydrates, and fibre in daily meals to  perform well in a BJJ competition.

 Always remember, that a balanced diet  helps to boost athletic performance, enhance stamina, and to calm the  nerves of a BJJ player.

So, the choice of a healthy diet serves many purposes during BJJ competition and training, as it has curative and healing properties to relieve the pain of joints and muscles.

3. Difference Between Weight Loss and Weight Cut

Although most BJJ players go for a weight-cutting diet for BJJ competition, it is better to know the differences between weight loss and weight cut.

Weight Loss Weight Cut
Weight loss is the process of getting rid of body fats by choosing a calorie-deficit diet. Weight cutting is done through a proper diet plan 10 days ahead of the competition to shed body weight rapidly by sweating and eating less amount of food.
Weight loss is generally meant for attractive body shape and health purposes. Weight-cutting activities are done to be in certain weight-class
By eating clean foods and by avoiding junk, sugar and fats. It is done by taking fewer carbohydrates and salt. Sweating  using a sauna, sweatshirt and intensive hard training
Not limited to BJJ competitions Limited to BJJ competitions

3.1. Need for Weight-Cutting for BJJ Players in Competition

 All BJJ competitions have weight divisions as the strength and abilities of each grappler are usually dependent on his/her weight. Weight divisions are useful to place BJJ players with the same strength levels in one weight division to have a fair competition.

Before 30 minutes in any BJJ competition, weigh-in is done. Therefore, effective weight cutting needs planning and implementation of proper diet, hydration, quality sleep, and training hours to have maximised performance during the BJJ competition.

3.2. Harms of Weight Cutting

Weight-cutting is not an easy thing to do.

Apparently, weight-cutting may enhance the probability of a BJJ player winning in a BJJ competition.

Weight-cutting can be very harmful and risky for health without proper planning.

Following are the harms of rapid weight-cutting

  • It weakens the organs and bodily functions
  • In a state of weakness, injuries may occur.
  • It may cause fatigue, and dizziness during a BJJ competition
  • It may lead to kidney failure due to extreme dehydration
  • It can also affect the physical performance of a BJJ player.

4. Pre-competition Diet

A healthy pre-competition diet must provide all the required calories, nutrients, and essential fluids  to the BJJ players.

As this diet is helpful in controlling the appetite during the BJJ competition and providing energy and power to perform in the best way.

4.1. Time to Digest Meals

Time Type of Food
3 to 4 hours Large meal
2 to 3 hours Smaller  meal
1 to 2 hours Liquid food
Less than 1 hour Light snack

When a BJJ player is involved in intense training for several hours, it may lower his glycogen level in the body. This is why a healthy diet consisting of carbohydrates is essential to restore the levels of glycogen.

4.2. Schedule for BJJ Competition Diet

It is very important to take a good rest one or two days ahead of the BJJ competition. A breakfast, lunch, or dinner with high carbohydrates and a lot of water is recommended for BJJ players.

 For each kilogram of body weight, a BJJ player must take 2 to 3 grams of carbohydrates.  All the details about the number of carbohydrates each food contains are widely available on the internet. So, BJJ players can easily plan their own diet during the competition.

Competition Meals
Time Meals
8 am Before two hours, eat  a breakfast with 200-400 calories.
10 am event Breakfast ( Yogurt, banana)
2 pm event A light snack (10 to 11 am)
8 pm event High carbohydrate breakfast ( 6-7 am)
Lunch  ( 12-1 pm )
Dinner ( 5 pm)
Light meal ( 6-7 pm )
Note: Ideal carbs in-take is around 30-35 grams per meal 

4.3. Staying Hydrated

Water Intake
Before Competition During Competition ( Every Hour) After Competition
Drink about 17 ounces of water
(2 hours prior to the competition)
Drink 14 to 40 ounces 16 to 24 ounces
Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water
(30 minutes prior to competition)

5. Common Mistakes, BJJ players Make During BJJ Competition Diet

5.1. Cutting the Carbs

It is quite common for BJJ players to cut carbs from their daily diet to prepare for the BJJ competition.

  • Carbohydrates are considered to be the best source of energy for bodies.
  • In addition, it also provides energy to muscles and is useful for fat metabolism.
  • The body fat will only be utilised in a body in the presence of  carbohydrates. So, cutting the carbs is not a good idea and it can  negatively affect the performance of the BJJ player.

5.2. Calories Deficit Diet

The common mistake most BJJ players make in their BJJ competition diet is restricting their calories.

  • The calorie deficit diet has many side effects like having an energy crash during a competition, chronic fatigue, lack of quality sleep, and feeling lazy or dizzy all the time.
  • Calorie intake should be balanced when choosing food from any group of macronutrients.  
  • Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates all are equally important for overall energy and physical health.
  • All the macronutrients have their benefits.
  • Muscle tissues are rebuilt and repaired with proteins.
  • Hormones and cell membranes need fats to function well.
  • Calories Deficit Diet deplete glycogen stores, causing the body to absorb fats for energy.

5.3. Focusing Too Much on Meals’ Timings

Mostly, BJJ dietitians prepare a diet plan for BJJ players focusing too much on meal timings. But, the timings of the meals don’t matter as much as the intake of quality and organic foods do to feel energetic and fully prepared for the BJJ competition.

5.4. Trying New Foods

Everybody is different from each other and thus, it is not necessary that the same food has the same effect on everyone’s body.

So, a BJJ player must not test any kind of new recipe or type of food on the recommendation of someone.  As the competition day is very important, so never taste anything new to avoid trouble.

5.5. Junk Food Consumption

Junk foods are high in calories, fats, and sugar.

  • So, BJJ players must avoid it as it just enhances the food cravings take later take the form of mental addiction.
  • A BJJ player may feel weak and low energy after having a pizza or burger.
  • Fried foods like fries,chips, doughnuts, etc  won’t let BJJ players perform on the mats.
  • Moreover, cravings for sweet meats and other confectioneries like doughnuts, pastries, and ice-cream must be controlled as it will not let BJJ players achieve their weight-cutting goal.

5.6. Sports and Sugary Drinks

The use of sports drinks among BJJ players is pretty normal, all sports drinks have a high amount of salt, which is not healthy for weight cutting.

Furthermore, all types of sugary drinks, sodas, and processed juices must not be taken during the BJJ competition diet, as they  contain a lot of artificial flavours and sugar.

5.7. High-Fat Foods

The high fat-foods must not be taken on the day of the BJJ competition, as such types of food items take time to digest and BJJ players may feel heavy, sluggish, and lazy.

So, it is better for BJJ players to eat clean foods that  won’t affect their performance in any way. Carbohydrates rich foods like white bread, white rice, sweets, and snack foods must be avoided. Opt for whole grains as they are a nutrient dense option.

5.8. High-Fibre Foods

The foods having  high-fibre content produce gastrointestinal and stomach bloating which makes a BJJ player very uncomfortable during a competition.

So, such foods that may cause any type of discomfort in the stomach must be avoided. Therefore, staying away from eating  more proteins and fats  before the BJJ competition is more useful.

5.9. Use of Alcohol

Alcohol is injurious to health and can lead to many complications on the day of the BJJ competition.

  • It dehydrates the BJJ player’s body.
  • It causes an electrolyte imbalance.
  • So, using alcohol doesn’t add anys nutritional value.
  • It is not used as an energy source.
  • It has a negative effect on memory and body reflexes.

5.10. Training When Dehydrated

Staying  dehydrated for a long time during training and BJJ competition can cause many problems for a BJJ player.

Iit may have the following undesirable effects on overall health and performance,

  • Lack of water can reduce the volume of blood.
  • Dehydration means lack  of sweating which is needed for weight cutting.
  • Increased body temperature.
  • Increased use of muscle glycogen.

5.11. Protein Powder Overload

Protein powder may contain artificial sugar, extra calories, and even toxic chemicals that are harmful to the health of a BJJ player.  The protein powders available in markets are used as dietary supplements. So, it must not be replaced with organic food.

The use of high doses of protein powders affects the body in many ways.

  • Increases bowel movements
  • Causes acne
  • Vomiting
  •  Cause increased thirst
  • Reduces appetite
  • Causes feelings of fatigue
  • Leads to headache
  • Increases blood sugar levels
  • Weight Gain

5.12. Over Reliance on Supplements

The intake of supplements is very popular among BJJ players.  BJJ players must not exceed the use of supplements from recommended doses.  BJJ players must know the possible health risks linked to the intake of supplements.

5.13. Fruits and Veggies

The over-reliance on fruits and vegetables during the time of weight-cutting and BJJ competition is not ideal for BJJ players.

As fruits and vegetables come under the high-fibre food category, it takes a lot of time for digestion. Although fruits are a very good source of energy, their excessive use can increase the sugar levels of the body too.

6. Conclusion

Health and diet goals always vary among BJJ players as per their size, weight, and strength. It is necessary to ensure a balanced and healthy diet including carbohydrates and proteins to energise the body, mind, and BJJ performance during a BJJ competition.

So, being extra cautious towards unhealthy and processed food can make a BJJ player committed to fitness goals.

In addition, avoiding sugary, processed, oily, and junk food is important to give time to digestion and provide energy to muscles on the day of the BJJ competition.

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