Why Do You Need Carbs as an Active BJJ Athlete?

Why Do You Need Carbs as an Active BJJ Athlete

Carbs are a substantial asset for BJJ athletes, especially for those who seek to enhance their strength. To become an active BJJ athlete, you must add carbs to the top of your diet list. The energy that carbs provide you is imminent in your training sessions.

Carbs increase your ability to perform better at BJJ. You become more skilled and efficient in your game.

1. Importance of Diet For BJJ

Diet is an important factor for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It provides energy to the practitioners so that they can function better for longer periods of time. Well not only energy, but it also induces strength in the fighters. Quality nutrition is the first step towards BJJ.

BJJ is not only a combat sport that instructs submission techniques. Rather it is a way of living. It makes the practitioners understand that their body is a sacred temple and that they have to take care of it. Having a proper and nutritious diet is the first step toward becoming an excellent grappler.

There is a famous saying that you become what you eat. So in that regard, you must choose your diet carefully. The diet must contain nutrient bioavailability. And what food is best for nutrient bioavailability? Of course, Carbs.

2. Carbs: Important for BJJ Athletes

Carbs are essential for BJJ athletes. They provide energy that stays for a long time and does not deplete easily. The metabolic rate of the practitioner enhances and functions way better compared to when carbs are not a major part of his diet.

Carbohydrates are sugar molecules and are less effective to improve your BJJ game. Carbs are part of macronutrients. They are responsible for sustaining your energy during high-intensity BJJ training.

Carbs also consist of fibers and starches. These fibers and starches help you to keep yourself safe from injuries that are most likely a part of BJJ. It also maintains your bowel health. Basically, the starch present in carbs is responsible for storing energy in your body.

You must intake 2 to 3 grams of carbs for each kilogram of your weight. Larger amounts can result in the accumulation of fats in your body.

The following table shows the right amount of grams of carbs that are essential per pound of body weight.

Product Serving Size Grams of Carbs
Dried Mango 3 oz 28 g
Banana 7 oz 31 g
Raisins 2.5 oz 34 g
Pretzels 20 pieces 22 g
Fig Bar 1 oz 20 g
Granola Bar 2 bar pack 29 g
Applesauce 4 oz 14 g
Toast 1 slice 14 g
Sports Drink 8 oz 14 g
Crackers 5 crackers 10 g

3. Why are Carbs Treated as Demons?

It can be often seen that most practitioners refrain from carbs. It is not a lie that carbs are called demons as they are easy to digest and the energy stays in your body for an extended period of time. The only drawback is that it makes you feel hungry sooner. And most fighters think that proteins are necessary for BJJ compared to carbs.

There is no doubt in it that proteins are necessary but it does not shadow the importance of carbs. Lipids are the building blocks of carbohydrates which are essential for building the structural material of cell membranes. Now, this results in a healthy body for a BJJ fighter.

Carbs are not the direct source of lipids but they do contain some amount of it. It is seen that carbs help in gaining weight. But not all practitioners want to gain weight, they rather pay attention to strength. In that case, they avoid carbs. But what if there is a way of using carbs and an option not to gain weight, won’t you avail it?

Adding carbs to your diet does not necessarily result in weight gain. If you keep the number of carbs in check, then what is the need to worry? You can go on a carb diet before your workout and see the results for yourself.

4. Pre-Workout Diet For BJJ

2 to 3 Hours Before Workout Serving Size Grams of Carbs
Baked Potato 1 58 g
Fresh Fruit (chopped apple) 1 cup 19 g
Fruit Smoothie 12 fl oz 47 g
Whole Grain Cereal / 1% Low Fat Milk Cereal: 1 cup
Millk: ½ cup
Cereal: 47 g
Milk: 8 g
Food Bar (Oatmeal Raisin Walnut) 1 bar 43 g
Pancakes / Waffles 2 pancakes 20 g
Flavored Greek Yogurt 1 cup 27 g
Instant Oatmeal / Low Fat Milk Oatmeal: 1 cup
Milk: ½ cup
Oatmeal: 26 g
Milk: 8 g
Whole Grain Bagel with Peanut Butter 1 Bagel
2 tbsp peanut butter
Bagel: 47 g
Peanut Butter: 8 g

In every diet plan for BJJ, pre-workout and post-workout diets are the most highlighted ones. It is because of the importance they both hold in a practitioner's athletic performance.

Eating before your workout is the best time for your body to work on the nutrients and supplements that you had. During BJJ training, your metabolic rate works the fastest. And most importantly your muscles need fuel to rely on. Carbs work as fuel for your muscles and do not let them tire easily.

The timing of the pre-workout diet also matters. You must take carbs at least 60 to 90 minutes before your training session. It gives your body enough time for better functioning.

5. Post-Workout Diet For BJJ

2 Hours After Workout Serving Size Grams of Carbohydrates
Spaghetti with meat sauce  2 to 3 cups 75 - 100 g
Pasta / Vegetables / Chicken  Pasta: 1 cup
Vegetables: 1 cup
Chicken: 4 oz
Pasta: 60 g
Vegetables: 6 g
Chicken: 0 g
Grilled chicken / White rice / Grapes  Chicken: 3 oz
Rice: 6 oz
Fruit: 1 cup
Chicken: 0 g
Rice: 44.4 g
Fruit: 25 g
Oatmeal raisin walnut snack bar / Sports drink  Bar: 1
Drink: 8 oz
Bar: 43 g
Drink: 14 g
High protein milk shake  12 fl oz 40 g
Turkey sandwich / Baby carrots  Mayo: 1 tbsp
Turkey: 1 slice
Bread: 2 slices
Carrot: 7
Bread: 12 g
Carrots: 3 g
Mayo: 0 g
Turkey:0 g
Tuna sandwich / Nonfat mayo  Tuna: 2 oz drained
Bread: 2 slices
Mayo: 1 tbsp
Tuna: 0 g
Bread: 24 g
Mayo: 0 g
Trail mix with nuts / Raisins  ⅓ cup 20 g

After a high-intensity training session, your body needs to restore the energy that got lost. You must make carbs a necessary part of your pre and post-workout diet. It will aid you in replenishing the lost electrolytes and energy. You can go for fruit yogurt or a cereal bar after your intense BJJ workout.

6. Why are Carbs Necessary for Active BJJ Athletes?

Carbs act as the building blocks for practitioners' strength and endurance. The human body is always in need of glucose as it is extremely necessary for the brain and nervous system. And so is the body of a BJJ practitioner. They have to keep their body and mind strong for learning and applying BJJ techniques.

Carbs are the best source of energy for any intense physical activity. And we all know that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a physically demanding combat sport.

6.1. A Major Source of Energy

Among all food nutrients, carbs are the only one that is portrayed negatively. That is why many practitioners consume way too less carbs and experience weakness and energy depletion. In reality, carbs are accountable for the great supply of energy.

Carbs are the first one among other nutrients that arm the athletic body with immediate energy. This energy later helps you to perform actions in your training sessions. We all know that BJJ is a strenuous sport. Rolling and sparring sessions involve intense workouts and grappling with your fellow practitioners.

It is an incorrect assumption that carbs are unhealthy for active BJJ athletes. But actually, carbs are a major source of energy. Carbs are also responsible for stabilizing your blood sugar level. Not to mention that your performance as an athlete also magnifies.

6.2. Increased Athletic Performance

When you can manage your energy levels and train effectively, your athletic performance is augmented. The more intense the training, the more efficient and excellent a fighter can become. Increased levels of energy mean that you can grapple for an extended period of time without getting fatigued.

You must also focus on your pre and post-workout diets to gain the athletic speed and performance of your choice.

The extra carbs are stored in your body as glycogen. During training when you feel tired, this glycogen converts into energy and boosts your energy levels as well as your metabolism.

6.3. Boosts Metabolism

Carbs provide energy which is essential for optimal metabolism. It boosts your metabolic rate and increases your functioning rate. If you want to become an active BJJ fighter, you need to add carbs to your dietary supplements. Increased metabolic rate means that you will not gain weight, as you thought you would after adding carbs to your list.

A high metabolism means that your body burns calories even when you are not working out. It keeps your body healthy and you do not get ill easily.

6.4. Enhanced Brain Functioning

Your brain is always in need of energy. As carbs are the first ones to break down and convert into energy, the brain gets its energy from them. More appropriately, the brain gets energy in the form of glucose. When your brain has enough energy, it makes your own functioning ten times more efficient.

That enhanced brain functioning eventually enables you to train hard and consistently to become a great all-around BJJ athlete. Carbs are a necessity for your brain. If you do not get enough carbs, it is most likely that you will find difficulty in concentrating on your BJJ game.

Depriving the brain of its food will result in loss of memory.

6.5. Muscular Efficiency

As mentioned earlier, carbs are your body's go-to source when it comes to energy. The same happens with your muscles. The pre-workout diet works as an energy booster for your muscles. Carbs present in that diet store energy in your body and muscles.

And during BJJ training sessions, your muscles are actively involved. At the end of the training session, you can see that your muscles did not get fatigued. And even if they get tired the post-workout diet, which includes carbs, is enough to replenish energy levels.

6.6. Massive Energy for Longer Periods

The energy that carbs build not only is massive but also stays for a long period of time. It is seen that most fighters get tired after only training 2 to 3 times a week. On the other hand, there are some BJJ athletes who train 5 to 6 times a week but still do not get tired easily. It solely depends on your energy levels. Being an active BJJ fighter, you have to take care of your vivacity. Thus, carbs help you to attain energy levels and then not let them drop down.

6.7. Works as a Fuel on High-Intensity Days

Your BJJ training sessions are most intense. It is a rare opportunity that they are less intense. Especially on high-intensity days when you are battling against your fellow athletes, you need strength and power. On those days, carbs act as fuel for your body and keep you driven.

6.8. Mental Strength

BJJ is mainly called a physical sport but that does not hide the fact that your mental abilities have to be strong for it. You need to remember techniques. When those techniques add to your muscle memory, that is when you don’t need to think of what techniques to apply. You just go for the fight, follow your instinct and emerge victorious.

6.9. Great For Aerobic and Anaerobic Activity

BJJ is a sport that is both aerobic and anaerobic. It is anaerobic when practitioners are performing high-intensity workouts with short-duration exercises. Aerobic conditioning occurs when the intensity of workouts is not too high with a longer duration of exercises.

Carbs are the only nutrient that is best for aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, actually, it acts as a propellant.

7. Drawbacks of not Adding Carbs

Carbs are essential for BJJ. Many practitioners think of carbs as unfit for their BJJ diet so they do not include them. As a result, they face some difficulties. Following are some of the drawbacks you can face if you do not add carbs to your BJJ diet.

7.1. Loss of Electrolytes

Restriction of carbs can result in the loss of electrolytes from your body. There is a drastic change in sodium in your body and your liver is affected. Following are the electrolytes that carbs take care of.

Electrolyte Amount Per Day Source
Sodium 5 g Salt,bone broth
Potassium 4.7 g Avocado, fish,beef
Magnesium 420 - 600 mg Low-carb nuts,leafy vegetable
Calcium 1 g Dairy,cruciferous vegetables

7.2. Glycogen Deficiency

Glycogen deficiency results due to a problem in carbohydrate metabolism. When your body does not have enough carbs for metabolism, your muscles lose their strength and shape. When a practitioner's body is low on energy, it converts glycogen into energy and uses it.

But in the case of glycogen deficiency, there is no extra energy in your body. If you work with low energy, you can not only get tired easily, but you will also suffer the loss of muscle memory.

7.3. Greater Risk of Injuries

When your body muscles are weak and can not endure high-intensity training, you are more prone to injuries. A greater risk of injury means that your immune system is not that strong just because you left carbs in order to keep yourself trimmed.

It is a myth that carbs are bad for your health. Carbs are not your enemies so do not treat them like one.

8. FAQs

8.1. Can We Add Protein with Carbs For BJJ?

Proteins can be added with carbs as they are also a great source of energy for BJJ practitioners. Proteins take time to break down and also result in removing sugar cravings that are often a result of carbs intake.

8.2. Are Carbs Hard to Digest?

Carbs are not hard to digest. Carbs are the first nutrients to break down and provide energy to your body immediately. On high-intensity days, carbs must be the most preferred energy source.

9. Conclusion

Carbs are the easiest source of energy for an active BJJ practitioner. You don’t need to work too hard to get the energy that you need as a grappler. Rather you must seek the most obvious source of energy - carbs. They provide a bulk of energy which you are direly in need of.

Related Readings

Reading next

Tim Spriggs - BJJ World Champion and Guillotine Expert
Rener Gracie - Co-Founder of Gracie University and an American Entrepreneur

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.