Tips On Training BJJ While Fasting

Tips On Training BJJ While Fasting

BJJ training is a strength demanding training. It includes conditioning exercises such as drilling, weightlifting, powerlifting, and many more. Fasting can be beneficial for a BJJ practitioner in many ways. It regulates the glucose levels in the fighter's blood. It is responsible for muscle strength as well as weight loss.

Different methods of fasting help the practitioner to closely monitor how his diet affects his body. Though Intermittent Fasting (IF) focuses on the timings of eating intervals, still the fighter can decide what dietary supplements provide him with the required amounts of nutrients in the long run.

1. What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting is an eating pattern that consists of intervals of eating and fasting. It focuses on “when” to eat rather than “what” to eat. It should not be confused with diet. The time intervals of eating and fasting depend on the individual. The most common ratio of eating and fasting is 16/8 hours with 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating.

2. Intermittent Fasting & BJJ

Fasting for BJJ includes Intermittent Fasting which means that the BJJ practitioner adopts cycling periods of eating, fasting, and training. It helps the fighter to preserve muscles. Diet is the most important part for a BJJ practitioner to gain strength and essential nutrients. Even when dietary supplements are managed, the timing of taking those supplements affects directly the overall energy and stamina of a practitioner.

Fasting helps the practitioner to check the effect of the diet on his BJJ training results. Some fighters fast for 20 hours with only 4 hours of eating period. Others fast for 24 hours twice a week. It entirely depends on the fighter to set the time duration of his fasting.

3. Why Fasting is Important For BJJ?

Fasting for BJJ is crucial as it not only helps the fighter to lose weight but also boosts his metabolism. It has a positive effect on his health as well as his brain. It strengthens the concentration ability of the fighter which later helps him in applying the BJJ techniques.

4. Types of Intermittent Fasting

4.1. Warrior Diet

The Warrior Diet consists of 20 hours of fasting and 4 hours of eating. The order of food consumption as well as dietary supplements, both are important for optimal results. It is a tough diet as it has less eating intervals. It can be hard for the practitioner who trains daily as it will drain all his energy. The perfect time to adopt this fasting method is at weekends.

Diet Fasting Period Eating Period Number of Days
Warrior Diet 20 Hours 4 Hours Weekends/Rest Days

4.2. Leangains

Leangains are the most used fasting method by BJJ practitioners. It was originally developed by bodybuilder Martin Berkhan. This method helps to keep the fighter’s body in perfect shape. BJJ is not about the size of the practitioner. It is about the stamina and techniques of the fighter.

This fighting method solely works on building the strength of the fighter that helps him to develop a strong BJJ game. BJJ Fighters prefer to have their meal at the end of the day but with high-intensity training, they switch the eating period in the morning.

Diet Fasting Period Eating Period Number of Days
Leangains 16 Hours 8 Hours Can Be Done Daily

4.3. Alternate-Day Fasting

Alternate-day fasting is for those practitioners who do not stick to daily fasting. They chose alternate days as intermittent fasting has many benefits including a strong immune system and better memory. The only drawback of this fasting method is that the fighter has to train twice while fasting. It is because if the fighter starts fasting at night, he will have his eating window after 2 days because of 36 hours of fasting.

Diet Fasting Period Eating Period Number of Days
Alternate Day Fasting 36 Hours 12 Hours Twice a Week

4.4. Eat Stop Eat

The Eat Stop Eat diet must be done only twice a week because the fighter has a fasting period of 24 hours in this method. It is the hardest and least useful fasting method for BJJ.

Diet Fasting Period In-Between- Eating Period Number of Days
Eat Stop Eat 24 Hours 0 Hours 1-2 Times a Week

4.5. 5-2 Method

5-2 Method requires the BJJ practitioner to eat his BJJ diet normally for 5 days while for 2 days the calorie intake must be reduced to a quarter of standard consumption.

Diet Fasting Period Eating Period Number of Days
5-2 Method 2 Days a Week
(calorie intake is reduced to a quarter of standard consumption)
5 Days a Week Twice a Week

5. Tips On Training BJJ While Fasting

5.1. Walking

BJJ training is extremely physical and effort-consuming. A hard BJJ workout does not only count in BJJ training. When the fighter is using the 5-2 method or alternate day fasting method, he can adopt walking as it will not only keep his body in motion but also increase his breathing rate. Being active during hard fasting days is not difficult. Walking will strengthen the bones of the fighter.

It will also increase muscle endurance in the fighter.

5.2. High-Intensity Training

High-intensity training is performed while on the warrior diet. It is because the eating duration of the warrior diet is 20 hours which means that the fighter has increased levels of energy. And performing high-intensity exercises will not cause fatigue.

It burns the non-essential fats in the practitioner’s body. It boosts the cardiovascular fitness of the fighter. The workouts involved in high-intensity training are harder not longer.

Tabata Training

It is a strenuous exercise involving 4 minutes of intense exercises with only a 10-second rest period.

  • During the first 20 seconds, the BJJ practitioner exercises intensely utilizing 80-90% of his power and then rests for 10 seconds.
  • The same exercises are repeated for 20 seconds and the rest period is also the same, 10 seconds.
  • Doing these exercises for 8 minutes within 4 minutes completes one Tabata.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is a combination of six or more than six exercises that are performed for shorter rest periods. One circuit is completed when all of the exercises are performed. Multiple circuits can be completed in one training session.

Circuit training consists of push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, squats, and lunges. They are also helpful in strength training. These exercises engage the core muscles of the fighter and fire the glutes in his body.


Powerlifting exercises include weight lifting exercises. To perform these exercises the fighter must have enough energy and body strength. That is why leangains is the most efficient fasting method for weight lifting days. It increases the muscle mass and strength of the fighter. The energy lost during these exercises can be replenished in the eating periods as they last for 8 hours.

Many BJJ fighters adopt lean gains fasting to develop muscle mass. It also reduces the risk of injury in the fighter. The athletic ability of the fighter is also enhanced.

5.3. Cardio Training

Cardio training increases the heart rate and blood circulation in the fighter’s body. During fasting, BJJ fighters perform cardio training to increase their breathing rate. Eventually, it leads to the greater production of hemoglobin and myoglobin in the fighter’s blood. These exercises are also called body conditioning exercises.

Cardio training involves aerobic and anaerobic training. Aerobic training allows the practitioner to breathe more oxygen so that it reaches the muscles leading his body to burn fat. Anaerobic training is the one in which the oxygen intake of the fighter is reduced rather he gains energy from carbohydrates in his body, which are the reserves of sugar in the fighter's body.

BJJ fighters also go for LISS and HIIT workouts. LISS (Low-Intensity Steady-State Cardio) includes any cardiovascular activity at a constant intensity for a fixed time. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Cardio) involves high intensity of cardio exercises.

5.4. Low-Intensity Exercises

During high fasting period days such as in Eat Stop Eat fasting, the fighter’s body becomes a little weak so he can't perform high conditioning exercises. To match his normal BJJ training routine, he performs low-intensity exercises. These exercises do not exhaust the fighter and he can continue performing these exercises till switching to other fasting methods.


Swimming is a part of BJJ strength training. During fasting, BJJ practitioners skip high-intensity training as it can be dangerous for them so they adopt low-intensity exercises which benefit them. Swimming helps the BJJ practitioners to increase flexibility and reduce body pain which often happens as the result of high or intensity exercises.

It aids in the muscular development of the fighter. It is also very beneficial for mental health. It increases metabolism. While fasting, a BJJ fighter can burn a maximum 3500 calories in 30 minutes with only swimming. It has a relieving effect on the joints of the practitioners which can be injured during rolling or sparring if these measures are not incorporated.


While fasting, cycling is one of the best workouts for BJJ training. It strengthens the leg muscles of the fighter which eventually helps him to execute successful submissions and also defend against them. It teaches the fighter how to gain control of his own body.

It results in the perfect coordination of the fighting techniques. It does not induce fatigue in the fighter and he can continue to cross-train with cycling on days with more increased fasting period. Mental toughness and a boost in the fighter’s stamina can also be gained from cycling while fasting.

6. Benefits of Fasting Whilst BJJ Training

6.1. Weight Loss

BJJ workouts require energy from every body muscle. As the fighter’s body remains in continuous motion, it causes the fat to shred. That leads to weight loss in the fighter. BJJ is not about the size of the fighter rather it focuses on the strength of the fighter. A strong fighter is guaranteed to win against a bigger fighter with less strength.

Performing BJJ training while fasting increases the catecholamines (stress hormones) that are responsible for increased fat oxidation.

6.2. Improved Insulin Sensitivity

High levels of insulin sensitivity in the fighter allow the body cells to reduce the sugar level in the practitioner’s blood by utilizing the blood glucose levels. When a fighter performs workouts with an empty stomach, he is more likely to use the stored energy in his body. This stored energy is in the form of glucose and carbohydrates. It protects the fighter from chronic diseases such as diabetes.

6.3. Boost in Human Growth Hormone

Human body is capable of producing Human Growth Hormones (HGH) and so is the fighter’s body. BJJ training while fasting helps in the natural production of HGH. It regulates the endocrine system of the fighter which aids the fighter’s body in HGH production.

HGH is responsible for increasing muscle mass and energy backup in the body.

6.4. Brain & Heart Health

BJJ Training can be sometimes hectic for the practitioners. While fasting, the practitioner is exposed to low-intensity training workouts such as swimming, jogging, and cycling. They are a source of recreation for the practitioner. Fasting is not only beneficial for the heart of the fighter as his cardiovascular fitness increases but also for his brain as his memory power is boosted.

6.5. Lower Inflammation

BJJ training while fasting refers to the lower risk of injury or muscle cramps. As BJJ training is physically very demanding for the grappler’s body, fasting helps to improve recovery from injuries.

7. FAQs

7.1. Is Fasting Not Appropriate For BJJ?

Fasting is essential for BJJ. It helps the BJJ practitioner to gain muscle mass and strength. It must be continued with high and low-intensity training. Prolonged periods of fasting while BJJ training can be harmful to the practitioner's body and BJJ training.

8. Conclusion

BJJ training is extremely physical. The fighter is involved in exercises with longer and shorter intervals of time which cause fatigue and sometimes injuries. Fasting aids the practitioner in overcoming these problems and benefits him by maintaining a balanced ratio of carbohydrates and sugar levels.

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