What’s your BJJ Diet like? If you truly want to excel on the mats, you should already know by now that your complete lifestyle needs to be al about Jiu-Jitsu, this includes nutrition as well. Actually, the role that a BJJ diet plays is second only to training Jiu-Jitsu itself. Nothing else, from recovery to strength and conditioning, doesn’t come even close to the importance nutrition has. To that extent, people usually focus on an impossible task when they look to tailor their nutrition. Even with the help of “nutritionists”, it’s very hard to find the working formula for you.
The common thing for most grappling diet plans was mainly formed bodybuilding until about a decade ago. Today, ti’s MMA fighters and their weight cutting systems that grapplers look up to. Unfortunately, none of them really help. The first mistake is not knowing what you can actually achieve. the magic bullet everyone is looking for is to build some muscle and strip off all fat at the same time. Well, you can’t. There’s absolutely no way that you can take a building down and start rebuilding it at the same time. What your BJJ diet should be all about is building muscle. Yeah, you read that right.
The best person in the world of nutrition, for BJJ, MMA, or any sport is George Lockhart. He is the undisputed, undefeated nutrition champion of the world. With a roster of over 100 UFC fighters getting one-on-one time with him is next to impossible. Yet, if you get your hands on his “Nutrition And Weight Management System” you’ll be set for life. The amazing bundle of three DVDs and an E-book is everything you need to build the perfect BJJ physique.
The Optimal BJJ Physique
One thing many people fail to truly understand is how strong they need to be for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The thing with strength is that it comes in many forms. Without getting overly technical, let’s just say that fro Jiu-Jitsu, all you need is to be strong enough for your weight class. And, in all honesty, strength without muscle is just not going to happen. So, the logical conclusion is that you need to make sure you have the most muscle possible for your weight class.
One thing to consider is the strength to weight ratio. Strength is a very relative thing. the ultimate goal is to be stronger than anyone in your weight division. An unattainable goal is to look to be the strongest in the absolute division (unless you’re an ultra-heavyweight). In order to be the strongest version of yourself, you’ll need to ensure you have maximum functional muscle and as little fat as possible. This means most of your weight is going to be from muscle, which, in turn, means you can be incredibly strong for your weight.
You also have to factor in our weight cuts. regardless of how lean you are, you’re still going to have to drop a few pounds to get into your weight class. While your BJJ diet should be all about getting you muscular, remember that the last 3-4 weeks before a competition are going to be about cutting excess weight, most of it water weight. And, you are going to lose some muscle, so be ready for that oo. the trick here is, that even if you lose some muscle, you’ll keep your strength gains, provided you train right.
BJJ Diet guidelines
Let’s go over some key points of a BJJ diet. The first thing to do is focus on what kind of food you eat. That means nutritionally dense, real, as unprocessed as possible food. Unless you get this point right, nothing else you do is going to have an impact. Next, what you don’t eat is just as important as what you eat. nd, the first thing to go is sugar! Cut the sugar and all the processed stuff (yup, that means no bacon too) and focus on real foods.
Now that food selection is covered, we can look into the specifics of a solid BJJ diet plan. First, you’ll need everything. You’ll need fat, you’ll need carbs, and of course, you’ll need protein. In that sense, while you do need to keep protein high, there’s no need for bodybuilding-like levels. just try and eat protein with your three main meals and you’ll be fine. you’ll be amazed at how much muscle you can build with relatively little protein compared to what supplement companies swear upon.
Before we get into the specific food that’ll get you more muscular, let’s clear up one final myth. You don’t need to go keto, nor completely exclude fat sources from your diet. Your body needs the carbs to build muscle and the fat to regulate hormones that help build muscle. The one thing to remember is not to combine high fat and high carb content in one meal. Have most of your carbs and sugar right after training, and make sure your last meal of the day is only protein and fat. During other meals, keep either fat or carbs lower and you’ll be more than fine.
By now it should be clear that for BJJ you need to be leaning towards a muscle-building nutrition plan. Furthermore, your BJJ diet should be all about functional muscle, not just puffing up. AS you get more muscle, your metabolism raises and you need more food to just retain your muscle. If you really dial your nutrition in and limit fat gain, you’ll end up looking more jacked as you get more muscular.
The final thing to realize is that you won’t be able to build muscle at the rate you’re seeing on the internet. If you manage to put on 5 pounds of muscle in six months, then you’re doing amazing! Those are realistic expectations, for real athletes that focus on eating real food! What you’re also going to get is some real results in competitions.
The staple of any muscle-building diet starts with eggs, of course. Eggs are one of the best food you can eat on any diet really. They’re one of the foods that you can eat both when you’re gaining weight, and when you’re cutting before a tournament. Eggs are extremely rich in protein, they’re cheap and they’re also a great fat source. They improve heart health and help control cholesterol. Plus, they’re delicious as hell and you can combine them with virtually anything!
Meat is where you need to be careful. For starters, if it is processed it doesn’t have a spot in your BJJ diet. Furthermore, if it’s red meat, it has to be beef and it has to be as lean as possible. Limiting it to once a week is probably your best bet. With chicken, stick to breasts of the skinless and boneless variety. And go for fish. A lot of fish. Chicken and turkey breast and fish are lean meats that give you the best bang for your buck. Plus, they’re budget-friendly and very easy to prepare in a variety of delicious ways!
With cheese, you’re going to want to be really careful. it is extremely easy to jack up fat content through the roof when eating cheese. While cottage cheese, that’s high n protein and low in fat is the to choice, it’s by no means an exclusive choice. You can still leat your cheddar, Monterey Jack, or any other natural variety, as long as you’re careful of the carb and fat mixing rule.
One of the staples of healthy diets today is nuts. However, what most people don’t realize is that nuts do not mix with everything. Plus, they’re really high in calories and it’s really easy to overdo them. While you want those calories when on a muscle-building BJJ diet, you still need to be careful. Do not exceed one serving of nuts per day. Speaking of which, that serving can come from any nut variety or nut butter for that matter. To be honest, staying away from peanuts and peanut butter is a good idea. Stick to cashew/almond butter.
Nuts offer lots of healthy fats, protein, and a host of crucial minerals that grapplers need. Plus, they’re really satiating and are very easy to take with you everywhere for a snack.
With vegetables, the take is that everything is good. Well, not really. If you want to build muscle, you need to understand what kind of vegetables you need first, second and third. First up are your leafy greens. If it has a dark green color, you need to eat as much as you can (not want) of it. Spinach, kale, broccoli, spirulina, you name it. You should have as much as possible for them.
Secondly, high protein vegetables need to be a large part of your BJJ diet too. That means peans, chickpeas, peas, green beans, and other legumes. They’re the perfect way to compliment egg and meat protein. As you can see, you can get more than enough protein in a day out of real foods only.
Finally, you’ve got your starches. Potatoes, beets, yams, sweet potatoes are all great, but you need to exercise caution. If you’re having any of the above, make sure you’re not including grains in the same meal as well. Additionally, make sure your protein source is a lean one, and that the only fats included in the meal are those you need to cook the food.
Finally, a word on supplements. If you’re really deadset on taking them, make sure you’re staying away from gainers, fat burners, pre-workout stuff, and all similar products. The very basics are all you need to supplement a good BJJ diet. Some protein, some creatine, a bottle of multivitamins, and a bottle of fish oil. That’s all you actually need. Anything else means you’ll only get very expensive urine.