Plain Water Vs Sports Drinks: Which Is Best For BJJ Training?

Plain Water Vs Sports Drinks: Which Is Best For BJJ Training?

BJJ training is an intense activity that involves rolling and sparring sessions and plain water is a natural drink. These sessions can result in a deficiency of minerals and electrolytes. Water and sports drinks replenish that loss.

Sports drinks contain a larger amount of minerals than natural water. They also contain synthetic sugar. If the training of a BJJ practitioner is based on weight loss then the intake of sports drinks might not be a good choice for him.

1. How To Stay Hydrated During BJJ Training?

BJJ Training is an intense workout. The BJJ practitioners indulge in intense sparring and rolling sessions which can be tiring for them. It uses the whole body muscles of the fighter which can cause fatigue in the muscles and bones. Indulging in BJJ exercises can cause the loss of many electrolytes and nutrients from the fighter’s body through sweating. It can lead to weakness and dehydration in BJJ practitioners.

A dehydrated BJJ practitioner will suffer from brain fog, lower reaction time, and fatigue. It will affect his BJJ game. So it is very important to stay hydrated during BJJ training. BJJ training can be very intense as well as moderate, depending on the sparring and rolling sessions. To stay hydrated and conscious, BJJ practitioners use different drinks. Those drinks compensate for the loss of electrolytes and make the practitioner active and efficient.

2. Plain Water and BJJ

During BJJ training, the practitioners work out for longer durations. Those training sessions are also very intense depending upon the type of techniques and exercises which are performed. BJJ practitioners sweat a lot during training sessions which results in the loss of necessary fluids, minerals, and electrolytes from their bodies.

If those fluids and electrolytes are not replenished, it can severely affect the overall game of the practitioner.

Not because of dehydration, BJJ practitioners must also drink water as it keeps them fresh and maintains a fast metabolism. Water is a calorie-free beverage which is why it must be consumed primarily.

2.1. Constituents of Plain Water

Plain Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen along with mineral nutrients such as sodium salts but in fewer amounts. A BJJ practitioner trains in BJJ for about 4 to 5 times a week. It includes strength and body conditioning exercises as well. Due to intense training, a BJJ practitioner gets tired as well as uses his stored energy.

Drink Carbohydrates (%) Sodium (mg per 100 ml) Other Added Ingredients
Water 0 3 to 15 mg N/A

This stored energy comes from the balanced ratio of nutrients and fluids from the body. It results in the loss of those essential nutrients. To replenish nutrients, the BJJ practitioner must intake adequate amounts of water.

Not only does water fulfill the loss of nutrients but it also makes the BJJ practitioners active and healthy for their BJJ training.

3. When To Use Plain Water?

BJJ training sessions are physically demanding. So when those training sessions are intense, the BJJ practitioner not only remains dehydrated but also lacks many important electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. In that case, water is not enough. The BJJ practitioners must include more healthy and sugar-free drinks along with water to compensate for the loss of those electrolytes.

Plain Water can only be used during short or moderate training sessions. It is often seen that BJJ practitioners lose almost 2-3% of their body weight during training sessions.

4. Advantages of Using Plain Water For BJJ

Water is essential for the human body. It can do wonders for a BJJ practitioner.

4.1. Helps in Building and Repairing of Body Cells

It helps in the building as well as in the repairing of body cells that get damaged during BJJ training sessions. BJJ training is a strenuous exercise. It utilizes the majority of muscles in the practitioner’s body and helps in making them strong.

4.2. Regulates Body Temperature

It regulates the body temperature. Training sessions result in the loss of body heat and the water replenishes that loss. Body posture is very important for efficient BJJ training.

4.3. Acts as a Shock Absorber

Water acts as a shock absorber for the spinal cord and brain. The swift sweeps and brutal takedowns can damage the spinal cord, brain, and the connection between the both. Water acts as a bridge in this situation and keeps them safe.

4.4. Allows Free Movements

BJJ training involves whole body movements as a lot of turning and twisting is involved. Although BJJ exercises help a lot to allow free movement, water also acts as a pacifier in this case. The synovial fluid which surrounds the joints in the practitioner's body is mostly composed of water. The additional water helps to lubricate the joints and also keeps them hydrated.

4.5. Provides Oxygen

It also helps to deliver oxygen to the practitioner’s body. This oxygen then helps to increase the myoglobin which in turn increases muscle mass and muscle strength in the practitioner’s body.

5. Sports Drinks and BJJ

BJJ training involves rolling and sparring sessions which results in the deficiency of important electrolytes from the practitioner’s body by excessive sweating. Sports drinks help to replenish that electrolyte loss. They are also responsible for the increase of calories in the practitioner’s body. To increase endurance, sports drinks are a good choice.

5.1. Ingredients of Sports Drinks

Sports drinks consist of electrolytes and nutrients essential for the practitioner’s body. The minerals include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Mineral levels can decrease during BJJ training, so sports drinks can be useful.

Nutritional Composition Amount (%)
Calories 92 cal/
Protein 0.60%
Fats 0.07%
Carbohydrates 22.10%
Sugar 18.10%
Sodium 0.65%
Potassium 1.65%
Magnesium 0.09%

Sports drinks are also used to increase mineral levels so that a practitioner can function better during his training session. They enhance the endurance level of the practitioner.

Fluid Carbohydrates (%) Sodium (mg per 100 ml) Other Added Ingredients
Sports Drinks 4 to 8% 20 to 60 mg Potassium

6. Types of Sports Drinks

6.1. Gatorade Drink

Gatorade Drink
Photo credit: @thecoldwire

After intense BJJ training, practitioners usually intake Gatorade drinks to gain strength as well as recover lost electrolytes and carbohydrates, especially sugar. Gatorade drinks contain a large amount of synthetic sugar which increases the body weight of the fighters. Some fighters focus on strength more than size so they tend to avoid Gatorade drinks or intake a smaller quantity. Even the normal consumption of Gatorade drinks on alternate days can increase body weight.

6.2. Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is made from the leaves of the Holly Tree. It contains caffeine which keeps the practitioner focused on his training sessions. It can also be made with ice called Terere.

6.3. Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are also sports drinks. They boost the energy level of the BJJ practitioner for a few hours. And during that period, the practitioner functions efficiently and fast.

6.4. Electrolyte Powder

It contains electrolytes in powder form. The practitioner just mixes it with water and it fulfills the loss of electrolytes as well as minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium.

7. When To Use Sports Drinks?

BJJ training is an intense workout. The practitioner uses all of his body muscles to acquire muscle and grip strength. During intense training sessions, the practitioner performs continuous exercises with no rest period at all.

No rest causes him to lose minerals and electrolytes faster than in normal training sessions. Intake of sports drinks helps carbohydrates to last longer and also does not cause fatigue in the practitioner.

8. Advantages of Using Sports Drinks For BJJ

8.1. Helps in Gaining Weight

Sports drinks contain sugars and carbohydrates along with electrolytes. These sugars help to increase the body weight of a BJJ practitioner. Some BJJ practitioners like to have a stout and huge body. To gain muscle mass, they use sports drinks during their training intervals

8.2. Go-to Source on High-Intensity Days

BJJ training can be of high intensity as the duration can be longer and the sessions are hard based on rolling and sparring. During these intense sessions, the loss of body fluids occurs at a greater rate. To prevent that, BJJ practitioners incorporate sports drinks in their sessions.

8.3. Pediatric Rehydration

Pediatric rehydration mixtures are also a part of sports drinks. They are used because of their lower levels of sugar than other sports drinks. They contain the right amount of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and minerals.

8.4. Builds Endurance

Sports drinks help to build endurance in BJJ practitioners. Long durations of BJJ training sessions increase muscle strength which then leads to high endurance in BJJ practitioners.

9. Ideal Composition of Sports Drinks

Sports drinks must not be taken before every workout. Their intake must be in check. Over composition of sports drinks is also an issue.

For every 8 ounces, sports drink must have:

Carbohydrates 12 to 24 grams
Potassium 18 to 46 milligrams
Sodium 82 to 163 milligrams

9.1. Popular Sports Drinks

Sports Drinks Carbohydrates (%) Sodium (mg per 100 ml) Other Added Ingredients
Gatorade 6% 41 mg Potassium
Powerade 8% 25 mg Potassium
Adams Ale Sport 6% 23.5 mg Potassium
Staminade Sport 6.8% 27.5 mg Potassium, Magnesium
PB Fluid and Electrolyte Replacement 6.8% 58.0 mg Potassium, Magnesium

10. Sports Drinks Vs Plain Water

Sports Drinks Vs Plain Water
Photo credit: @glensummitspringwater
Sports Drinks Plain Water
It contains electrolytes along with increased levels of minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It contains electrolytes and minerals in fewer amounts.
It contains sugars that help to gain weight for a BJJ practitioner. It does not contain sugars.
It directly affects muscle mass due to the presence of carbohydrates in it. It provides oxygen to the whole body and increases the rates of myoglobin in the blood.
It is highly functional for intense BJJ training which goes for a longer duration of time such as an hour. It is functional only for short or moderately intense BJJ training along with less time duration.
It acts as an artificial hydrating agent for the practitioner’s body. It acts as a natural hydrating agent for the practitioner’s body.

11. Comparison Chart

12. Other Drinks for BJJ Training

Fluid Carbohydrates (%) Sodium (mg per 100 ml) Other Added Ingredients
Soft Drinks 10 to 14% 10 mg N/A
Fruit Juice 8 to 12% 7 mg N/A
Energy Drink 10 to 13% 10 to 120 mg B Vitamins, Caffeine

12.1. Coconut Water

Coconut water contains calories and minerals. It has a lower number of calories, less sodium, and a greater amount of potassium than a sports drink. It contains natural sugar which is why it does not have many carbohydrates.

It is also used by BJJ practitioners. The only disadvantage of using coconut water is that it has less amount of sodium which is actually very important after a hard BJJ training session.

13. FAQs

13.1. Are Sports Drinks Good For Hydration?

Sports Drinks are a great choice to replenish a dehydrated body. It compensates for the loss of minerals which often happens due to intense BJJ training sessions.

13.2. Are Sports Drinks Diuretics?

Sports drinks that contain caffeine are diuretics such as Yerba Mate. It contains a considerable amount of caffeine. Though it keeps the practitioner focused on his training sessions.

14. Conclusion

Water and Sports drinks act as hydrating agents for the dehydrating body of a BJJ practitioner. Not only for dehydration, water, and sports drinks also help to maintain minerals and electrolytes in the practitioner’s body. Sports drinks also include sugar which can be good for those practitioners who want to gain weight.

Photo credit: @sport

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