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July Health Tips: 5 Tips for BJJ Nutrition Basics

July Health Tips: 5 Tips for BJJ Nutrition Basics

No fads or extreme diets here…just sound nutrition principles that help our athletes stay healthy, make weight and perform at their best.

By: Corey Beasley

“Coach, I need to make weight…what should I eat?”

This seems to be a common question among wrestlers, jiu jitsu players and mma fighters these days.  People scrambling last minute to make weight and hoping that their plan pays off.

I’ve heard it all…low carb, no carb, high protein, low fat, fasting, starving, paleo and more.

With all of the options and opinions, its no wonder why so many coaches and athletes are confused.

When our athletes are preparing for competition, we prefer to keep things simple. 

No fads or extreme diets here…just sound nutrition principles that help our athletes stay healthy, make weight and perform at their best.

Need to make weight? Here are 5 Basic Principles to Follow:

1.  Drink Water

Our bodies are roughly 70% water.  These days, things like coffee, energy drinks, juice, alcohol, soda, etc is the majority of what we consume.  Not only is this adding tons of sugar and chemicals into our body, but it is also leaving us dehydrated.  Dehydrations can affect our energy levels, performance and leave us vulnerable to injury. 

Bottom line:  Drink more water.  Carry a gallon jug or keep it available, so you can sip a little water all day long.

2.  Eat MORE Vegetables

Grandma was right!  We need to eat our vegetables.  They provide valuable antioxidants, phytochemicals, enzymes, fiber and other things that help our body recover, fight off disease, get rid of waste, digest our foods and more. 

Bottomline:  Veggies fill us up, help us recover and don’t add a lot of calories.  They are the perfect filler food when you a cutting weight.  Add a bag of spinach to your day and I bet you’ll be happy with the results.

3. Quality Protein at Every Meal

When we train, our bodies get broken down. Eating quality proteins like organic/free range eggs, chicken, grass fed beef, wild fish and other wild game, gives our body the building blocks it needs to repair damaged muscle fibers and recover between workouts. 

Bottom line:  Eat a bit of protein at every meal.

4. Don’t Forget the FAT

For years, FAT was the enemy.  Food companies fooled us all and the whole “No Fat” plan led us down the wrong path.  The truth is, that naturally naturally occurring fats are actually really good for us.  Avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, coconuts and the oils from these plants help our bodies in many ways.  They can help hormone production, keep us feeling full and provide a natural anti-inflammatory response in our bodies.

Bottom line:  Naturally occurring fats are good for us, but processed fats that occur is most packaged foods are the enemy.  Add a little healthy fat to each meal and you will thank me later.

5. Carbs are NOT Always the Enemy

No carb diets are the enemy of most athletes.  Carbohydrates allow our brains and muscles to function.  Without carbs, our thoughts can get foggy, reaction time reduces and our muscles do not have the fuel to perform.  The mistake most people make is that they ingest WAY too many carbohydrates, from poor sources, at the wrong times.

Fruits, grains and root vegetables are nature’s way of providing us with carbohydrates.  Cookies, pastries, breads, juices, crackers, chips and other carb filled treats are the enemy. 

Bottom line:  Eat the majority of your ‘good’ carbohydrates after your workouts and avoid carbohydrates from low quality sources.

For the majority of athletes that have implemented to principles above, they leaned out, felt great and performed at their best. Sure, people are individual and might need to tweak certain aspects of their nutrition, but these basics are a great foundation.

Ideally, these would become daily habits and you would walk around, within a few lbs of your competition weight. The big problem is that most guys bloat up, binge and gain too much weight after a fight or competition. 

A Few More Helpful Tips:

  • If it’s in the house, you will eat it – Throw away the distractions. 
  • Shop and Prepare foods ahead of time
  • Carry a cooler, so you have healthy options with you
  • Keep a simple log of what you eat and when
  • Track your progress – weigh in once per week and/or get your body fat checked regularly.

We’ve all heard of guys starving themselves, cutting water weight and making themselves miserable.  Worse yet, some miss weight and even end up in the hospital. This can be avoided by implementing some basic nutritional principles, sticking to them and giving your body the fuel it needs to perform. 

While, it’s not always easy, improving your eating habits will have a dramatic affect on your body composition, energy levels and performance on the mat or in the cage.  If it’s important to you, you will get started and slowly improve over time. 

Posted in: Health Tips

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