Can You Lose Weight With BJJ?

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When I started my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey more than two years ago, I could not imagine that it would take me where I am today, that it would help me get rid of obesity for good, pack on some much-needed muscle, and increase my cardiovascular endurance. I never knew I could become so powerful, so humble, and so proud of myself.

At 5 ft 9 in and over 225lbs of mostly fat and a bit of muscle, I struggled to keep up with the challenges of everyday life, and every time I told myself that I was finally going to lose weight, I would fail due to the lack of discipline and guidance. Today, sitting at a healthy 190lbs and strong as a bull, I want to share with you my tips and insights that might help you reach your goals. Let’s dive in.

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How BJJ changes the mind, body, and soul

I’m not going to lie, it was not an easy journey. Nor was it, I soon found out, supposed to be. The first time I stepped onto the mat, a complete beginner, surrounded by dudes and girls all wearing their heavy Gis, I couldn’t help but feel self-conscious, even overwhelmed by the urge to run away as fast as possible.

Immediately, I had found out that there is nothing to run away from but myself. I’ll never forget my first training session and the way the collection of fearsome, friendly fighters welcomed me into their ranks, determined to mold me into the man I am today.

It was not long after, that I started viewing the world through a prism of confidence, selfless dedication, and perseverance. Soon, I was hooked, my personality forever changed for the better. But that was just the beginning.

A workout to die for

Literally, I thought I was going to die. Not because someone put me in a deadlock, but because the rigorous bodyweight cardio training before and after the main workout was something I had never tried before, something my body never expected.

Struggling for air, my head spinning and my heart bursting out of my chest, I always picked myself up and carried on, for my teammates, for me, to make them proud, to surpass my yesterday self. And it worked. Immediately after taking up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, I started to notice my body changing and adapting to the grueling challenges that faced me – it was going to become stronger, or it was going to fall apart.

Within the first month of training, I lost 15lbs. Granted, half of it was pure water weight, but it was progress nonetheless. And that was just the beginning, with time my body started to burn fat rapidly, and I soon realized that I would benefit greatly by supplementing my BJJ training with other forms of exercise and a concrete diet plan.

My tips on maximizing progress

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was the catalyst that changed my life for the better, but to say that it was solely responsible for my transformation would be folly. The training sessions were so effective at burning excess fat from my body that I soon realized that I had to start eating again and eating a lot in order to avoid losing too much weight altogether.

Likewise, with most of my fat stores gone, sitting at a low 170lbs, I realized that I would benefit greatly by hitting the gym once in a while and beefing up a bit. It took a year of training and healthy eating for me to get to a solid 15% body fat and gain about 15lbs of muscle. During this time, I’ve gotten better at the trade, gaining strength and becoming increasingly immersed in the grappling world. For the first time in my life, I was happy with my reflection in the mirror.

BJJ has helped me change my life, become a stronger man, and a better human being. I love the weight and strength I carry myself with, and I love the sense of camaraderie I share with my fellow students. Needless to say, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is my life now, and I recommend anyone starting their transformation journey to take up this timeless martial art.

Peter is a fitness and health writer at The Beard Mag and Essential Men’s Clinic blog from UK & NZ.
Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

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