Okay, let’s be honest. How many times have you heard, “I train all the time so I can eat what I want” or “BJJ keeps me from being overweight”? It’s okay, you don’t have to be that honest about how many times. Let’s bear in mind that there is a difference from those who practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) for weight loss and train sometimes vs. those who are a BJJ athlete.
Being a BJJ athlete requires discipline off and on the mat. From learning about the basics of BJJ, to self defense, and even on what goes into their mouth. On the mat, we know what goes down. Off the mat, it’s about making sure to utilize a proper nutritional program to make sure that you’re bringing your best. Remember, it’s key for pre and post training (not just one or the other).
The BJJ Diet
What does a BJJ nutritional program look like?
A BJJ nutritional program focuses on what matters. Basically – think protein, superfoods, whole foods, and lots and lots of water.
Hydration is so much more than satisfying thirst, especially for those who practice BJJ. According to a sports dietitian at the University of Michigan, being properly hydrated “delays fatigue, maintains muscle focus, regulates body temperature, and improves the ability to recover”. You know your body best; it is recommended, however, that you drink 7-12 ounces of water within a 30 minute window of training and 8 ounces every 20 minutes of a workout, with the addition of carbs and electrolytes for those longer training days.
There’s a reason why everyone is trying to increase the protein value of anything and everything – especially for BJJ practitioners. When training, proteins in your muscle get broken up or damaged. Therefore, your body needs to consume 1 gram of protein per pound you weigh in order to promote strength and muscle health.
Nutrient Dense Foods
Nutrient dense foods are another YES on the list for BJJ athletes. This includes fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, seeds, and lean meats. The food you feed your body is so important to your training.
A pre-workout meal gives you the energy that you need to train at an optimal level. In the simplest of terms, when you eat properly before a workout, you’re able to store energy that helps you maintain during your actual workout. You are protecting that hard-earned muscle and encouraging muscle growth! The key is in the timing. Make sure to eat about 2 hours prior to training.
Oatmeal & Fruit
This high-carb meal is the perfect way to energize your body prior to training.
Greek Yogurt & Fruit
This meal provides quick digesting carbs to fuel your workout along with some protein to prevent some of that muscle breakdown.
Mix in your favorite protein powder, milk of choice, a banana, and a dash of something sweet. This is a quick and easy way to get your protein in.
Brown Rice with Veggies & Lean Protein
Vegan, vegetarian, or meat eater – you can still make this mix work for you. Keep an eye on the portions of each that fit your goal.
Veggie omelette with Cottage Cheese
Protein packed and filled with quality carbs to roll with you while you roll.
Post-workout meals are all about locking in those gains and recovery. It’s time to help restore the glycogen storage and support your muscles with protein synthesis – healthy fats and protein. Make sure to have your post-training meal within 20 minutes.
Grilled Chicken with Vegetables
Could it get any more classic or be more of a staple?
Salmon with Sweet Potato
Protein with that sweet potato to help in that sweet recovery filled with a high glycemic index.
Pasta with Veggies & Chicken
You’ll be hitting all your carbs, healthy fats, and protein in one.
It’s a hype for a reason. Get those carbs and protein in a fluffy pancake to start the restoring chain of events that your body needs.
Quinoa with Eggs & Avo
Training in the morning or at night? Doesn’t matter! Make breakfast for anytime that has your stomach and gains in mind.
Smoothies and taco salads are also good favorites to include in your BJJ lifestyle. It’s always best to gauge how certain foods feed your body best and go from there when creating the ultimate BJJ meal, whether it is pre or post! Remember that working hard on the mats also means working hard on your pre and post meals, too.
About The Author The Boxing Club (TBC) is more than just boxing. TBC is a leader within the combat arts and fitness world. We have immense pride in having the best fighters and coaches in the industry - from Boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, MMA, HIIT, Strength Training, Spin, Pilates, Yoga and more.