What to Eat Before BJJ Training Session

What to Eat Before BJJ Training Session

1. Nutrient Based Diet

The whole nutrient-based diet includes the combination of all food types

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains,
  • Proteins
  • Dairy
  • Fat
  • Starchy Food

Each person needs to add portions from all these food types to balance the daily calories intake. For each person, there is a different daily intake of calories depending on their gender, age, height, weight, exercise, and health status.

So, calories mean how much of any food substance gives us the energy to work and perform in our lives. The calorie or energy deficit has many adverse effects on our body as they can make us extremely tired all day, sleepy, irritated, depressed, weaken muscles/bones, and lowering immunity. The American Dietetic Association provided guidelines in 2020 that

  • Women  calories in-take ( 2000)
  •  Men calories in-take (  2500-3000 )

Our bodies used almost 20% of our calories for giving energy to our brains and 80% of our calories are used by our body the whole day. Most people used the calories deficit method to lose weight by taking fewer calories from average and doing physical activity to burn more. But eating less food or eating the same type of food doesn’t work effectively or it is not healthy too.

Hence, we need to understand the importance of adding portion sizes for each natural food type in daily meals.

Our daily meals must be in portions including the portions of fruits, vegetables, grains, wheat, rice, milk, meat, chicken, and nuts. Along with these, we also need to keep balance in taking minerals, vitamins, calcium, and iron.

The consumption of unhealthy, processed, fatty, and oil food items leads to

  • High level of cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Uric Acid
  • Diabetes
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Blood Pressure
  • Osteoporosis

If we need to feel energetic and productive in our daily activities, we need to take care of our diet as our first priority.

2. Importance of a Healthy Diet for Sports Athletes

Although, no one can ignore the importance and need for perfect health with a whole set of nutrients. But still, sportspeople, bodybuilders, and athletes need to take care of their nutritional diet and food chart more than anyone.

Usually, the calories intake for the men athletes is almost 6000-6500 whereas women athletes must take 4000-4500 calories per day. Of course, this is more than the diet of any normal person with less physical exercise.

Firstly, an active athlete needs high-process whole foods to provide maximum energy and power to perform the whole day. It includes

  • Eggs, Meat, vegetables, whole grain bread

Secondly, he needs micronutrients to strengthen his bones, organ functioning, digestion, and balance the level of electrolytes in the body. It includes

  • Green herbs, nuts, seeds, spices, seaweeds

Thirdly, he also needs to set the proper time for suitable eating for better results in having expected performance, building muscles, and metabolism.

Fourthly, he requires to fuel up his body during workouts to prevent the sudden fading out. It must be in limited quantity taking just few calories. It includes

  • Energy bars, drinks, gels, nut chocolate, or chewing gums


Lastly, but most important for any athlete is the proper and balanced intake of supplements essential for the full functioning of physical organs, strengthening muscles, and bones, proving oxygen to lungs, enhancing red blood cells, boosting the brain’s activity, and making him more immune. It includes

  • Calcium, Vitamins, Iron

3. Nutritional Value for BJJ Athletes

We all are familiar that BJJ Athletes used extensive muscles and body movements during one hour of training on the mats. This high level of cardio exercise made their body level of glucose, extremely low feeling extremely dehydrated with excessive sweating.

So, thus it is highly recommended for BJJ Athletes to maintain a proper chart of diet to count their calories and nutrients with selecting the right food at the right times. They must install any Mobile App for it to be in the flow for effective training, eating, and maintaining weight.

Before starting it, proper meal planning, preparation, and consumption is important that what type of nutrients you need and when.

The daily depends on the type of hard training you do. It is also important to understand that our body does not get powerful and stronger during training but it gets healed after it. Hence, we need to fulfil bodily needs of nutrition before and after the training sessions by scheduling our daily needs by adding about 1/4 protein, 1/2 fruits vegetables before the workout, and the remaining 1/4 carbohydrates during intense training.

3.1. Daily Balanced Diet Schedule


Total Calories Proteins Carbohydrates Fat
5000-6000 per day 400 g ( 1600 cal) 750 g ( 3000 cal) 100 g ( 1500 cal)


Each day, a BJJ fighter burns almost 800- 900 calories per hour during training. So, he needs to be very careful about his eating habits with proper water consumption.

A balanced daily diet must be a combination of all these.

Lean proteins (fish, eggs, nuts & seeds/Meat_
Carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, green herbs)
Fruits (Apple, banana)
Healthy fats (healthy oils, fish oil, avocados)

3.2. Daily Meal’s Timetable


Breakfast ( 6-7am) Lunch  (1pm) Dinner ( 7-8 pm)
Size 7 Eggs x4 Chicken Breast (100g cooked) Grilled Sirloin Steak (100g cooked)
Multigrain Toast x2 Jasmine Rice (250g cooked) Russett Potato Mashed (300g)
Apple/Banana Avocado (50g)  
Snack (Post-workout) Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1 Tbsp)  
Cereal (62g, 2 servings) Snack  
Low Fat Milk (400ml) Canned Tuna (120g)  
Protein Powder (1 scoop)    
Pineapple (100g)    
Total macros Protein = 188 g
Carbohydrates = 368 g
Fat = 86 g

3.3. List of Necessary Supplements


Fruits/Veggies dark berries, dark leafy greens, beets, red grapefruit, avocado 0.75 g/lb day for average people; 1 g/lb ( Per Day)
Omega 3 Fish Oil 5-15 g daily)
Vitamin D Sun/Tablet 2000-4000 IU daily
Creatine -- 3-5 grams per day
Caffeine Green Tea/Coffee 50-100 mg, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of coffee ( 1 hour before training)
Electrolytes Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium  
Essential Amino Acids (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine)  
Citrulline   6-8 grams.

List of Necessary Supplements

Photo credit: @riliongracie

One of the most popular diet plan, you find while searching on internet is the Gracie Diet which encourages to have fast metabolism and natural digestion by taking organic food to avoid any chemical reactions and acidity.

  • The food items in Group A can be taken together and can be taken with one food item from group B.
  • The food items in group C can be taken together and or with the food item of Group B.
  • Foods from group B do not combine with each other.
  • Foods from group D can only be consumed separately.
  • Banana and milk are not included in any of the groups since they have chemical combinations of their own.


Recommended Meals In-between Gap
3-4 per day 4-5 hours

4. Balanced Water intake


The Water helps the BJJ Athletes in giving whole day body energy, supporting muscles, lowering body temperatures and making them less tired and hungry. Basically, water is the complete therapy for all body organs. It also helps them to have better mental concentration on the training mat.

It is necessary for all BJJ coaches to teach their athletes about the magic of proper hydration. As the training sessions are full of people and room temperatures become high with more humidity. In such a case, sweating doesn’t get a chance to dry by itself and thus body starts losing the water more quickly.

The recommended water intake before the training is about 4 or 5 liters before coming on the mat, then 3 litres during practice. In addition, Athletes must add electrolytes to their water to maintain the level of minerals in their bodies.

Simply, don’t undermine the worth of hydration as it deficiency in body can cause reduction in red blood cells, weaker muscles, dropping level of testosterone, heat abortion, slow digestion, Kidney failure, heatstroke, or even heart attack.

5. Eating Plan before and after the Training


The timings to consume the calories and macronutrients at right time with the right amount really matters before and after the training. So, a BJJ athlete could not afford any type of over-eating, especially before the grappling.

Each food has a different nutritional value and a body effect. So, every diet plan necessarily does not work for every athlete in the same way. Then, the diet for the training day is slightly different from the rest day.

We all know that fats are hard to digest than carbs and proteins. So, it must not be part of the pre-work diet but can be taken after the workout.

Pre Workout Diet
Time ( Meals)
2 hours ( Prior to Workout)
  • chicken, fish/turkey
  • Salad
  • Quinoa or sweet potato (carbohydrates)  
Not Allowed Milk/Junk
Post-Workout Diet
Time Food Nutrients
Within 45 Minutes ( After Workout)
  1. Oatmeal ( with fruits/nuts)
  1. Banana (1) can be taken as a whole or added to oatmeal. 
Fiber, Potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Antioxidents
  1. Chia seed ( 1 spoon) with water or added to oatmeal
Fiber, proteins, Omega 3
  1. Blue Berries/Raspberries ( Smoothie)
Vitamin C-K
  1. Spinach ( Green Smoothie)
Iron, Potassium, Vitamin A, C,K
  1. Taro Root ( Purple Root Vegetable)
Vitamin C,B6,E
  1. Acai ( Purple Berry)
Rich in antioxidants
Within 30 minutes after Recovery Food (Retaining level of glucose) Fruit/Sports Drink


So, now you can plan your daily pre and post-workout diet by adding one or two food items according to the needed calories.

food items according to the needed calories

Photo credit: @kyuzogym

6. Coffee and Caffeine Consumption


Even though it is a misconception that intake of coffee and caffeine is not healthy, BJJ athletes must use it to enhance their performance, brain functioning, memory, mental focus, and concentration. Caffeine contains some quantity of adrenaline which is very beneficial for the heart and lungs.

One must use a cup of coffee or herbal tea before coming to the mat, but one thing to consider is that it must be taken in moderation. It may also help in losing weight by making metabolism and digestion faster when taken in the morning and evening. However, it must not take at night, as it could affect the sleeping patterns.

Eventually, it has many benefits if used in a moderate quality. Its heavy amount can cause depression, anxiety, sleep disorder, stress, and addiction.

So, always try to consume only 400 mg a day. It is also not for everyone, so try to be responsive to your bodily needs and add them to your daily diet.

7. Breakfast Foods to Avoid

Breakfast is one of the most important meals to work all day with full energy. In markets, there are many options available for healthy breakfast like cereals, oats, flavored yogurts, and white bread.  But all are full of sugar, fats, and carbs which are not effective in weight loss and physical training.

7.1. Lunch and Dinner Foods to Avoid

Pasta, processed soup cans, and meat are the popular choices for lunch and dinner for many. But all these food items are high in oil, sugar, and calories. If you take too much pasta or processed cans, then might increase your blood sugar, salt, and cholesterol. So, taking any type of processed food with higher preservatives and sodium is not well suited for BJJ fighters during any meal.

Although, you need proteins but not packed processed meat, as it is high in salt and nitrates. So, you need to be extra cautious while calculating your daily proteins intake and can choose from the lean mean (lean chicken-turkey, eggs, seeds, nuts.) the use of whole-grain bread is a better choice than using white bread as it is refined and proteins with a lot of calories.

You must also avoid every type of fast food including sandwiches, burgers, pizza, steaks, or fried chicken as these are high in calories and make you feel super lazy.

7.2. Snacks/Drinks

Add the natural snacks like cheese, apple, banana, almonds or other nuts that are quite healthy while you are feeling low but low carbs food or food with fats must not be taken as it is not healthy like processed food.

Water, coffee, and herbal tea are great sources of energy for BJJ athletes to perform all day, but they must avoid sugary drinks, shakes, and alcohol.

As well, most BJJ fighters take energy drinks before starting their training. It is useful only for giving energy for a limited time while containing a high amount of caffeine and sugar substances. So, you need to be careful about at what time and in how much quantity, you are taking in, as excessive intake can add extra calories and sugar to your body and may affect your sleep pattern too. Timing of energy drink consumption is critical since they often contain a concentrated amount of caffeine alongside a high load of sugar. Both of these substances can be harmful when consumed excessively, and can also negatively impact sleep quality if it is taken before night-time.

7.3. Avoiding Alcohol

The BJJ fighters and athletes are not proposed to consume alcohol. It will affect your physical strength, mental focus, and nutrient value. It also decreases the functioning of our brain, affects our mental skills, and delays our response time. So, if an athlete takes just one drink, he could not able to give complete attention to his training on the mat. Along with these adverse effects, light to heavy alcohol drinks can add up to 170 to 350 calories to your daily diet which can simply ruin your calories count table.

By saying no to alcohol. You can easily able to retain the strength and flexibility in your bones and muscles. So, if you ever add any quantity of alcohol to your diet, then you may not able to restore your muscle’s injury quickly as it gradually decreases its vitality. Therefore, it must be avoided in all cases for not having dehydration, muscle injury, and sickness.

8. Final Advice

It is much evident that an active BJJ player cannot complete his training effectively without having a proper diet. As the poor diet results in more fatigue, limited stamina, and no weight cut with no muscle gain.   So, to improve your overall health, body composition, and better game performance, it is advisable to have complete knowledge about the nutritional value of each food type, setting an appropriate diet plan in accordance with your BMI, resources, daily routine, and physical health. Although, sometimes it becomes difficult to follow the strict diet and timetable for training. Most of the time, you may feel down or frustrated with all this. But still, remember, the 3Ps (persistence, patience, and perseverance made everything possible.

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