Some sports, like BJJ, demands a lot of physical and mental vigor and in order to really enhance your skills, your body requires energy. If you want to be a professional athlete, then learning about nutrition is crucial.
BJJ is not a sport where it is expected that you will have the perfectly formed body to show off your abs. However, you need to be eating a diet that will promote endurance, strength and help your body to recover properly. Below we will outline the things that as a BJJ athlete you should be eating and also the reasons why maintaining a healthy diet is important for you as especially as an athlete.
BJJ and the importance of diet
BJJ is a great way to get fit but if you are not eating a nutritious diet then it could be that you are not actually gaining the benefits associated with it; a little like being in possession of a Neosurf voucher and not using it! In fact, you could be doing some harmful things to your health. Eating well and healthy will enhance your performance when you train and also in competitions.
Most athletes are very focused on their fitness routines and perhaps don’t pay enough attention to their nutrition. Jui-jitsu training is very demanding on your body and your body needs the correct foods in order for fulfil this need. Even small changes in your diet can really make a difference to how you feel and perform as an athlete.
Making changes to your diet
To be a champion you must eat like a champion. By making even small changes to your diet can make a huge difference to your performance level.
If you are practicing BJJ then you should definitely give up sugar. Eating a lot of sugar is not good for the body and is one of the main causes of inflammation. Sugar has an affect on the hormones that control weight; the hormone Leptin controls weight. Eating a lot of sugar may interfere with how leptin does its job and may cause weight problems.
Sugar is basically bad for BJJ athletes causing digestive problems, high cholesterol and a whole range of other problems like cramps and tiredness.
Reduce the amount of dairy in your diet
Dairy foods have high levels of saturated fats. It is a widely held belief that milk provides the body with the calcium it needs for strong bones. However, many researchers today do not agree with this and argue that the best source of calcium is to be found in green vegetables. You don’t have to give up dairy completely but you should definitely avoid products that are processed.
Cut out any processed foods
Processed foods have very little nutritional value and will leave you hungry. By eating junk food your body is not getting the nutrients that your body requires. A lot of energy is needed to digest processed foods and you will likely often feel tired. If you begin to cut out processed foods from your diet and exchange it with a better, clean diet you will see your performance improve.
Eat smaller meals
Large meals are more difficult for your body to digest; they take a lot of energy. Smaller portions are much easier for your body to digest. Eating large meals will make you tired, cause bloating and overburden your digestive system.
Foods that should be part of your diet
There are some foods that are very important if you are a BJJ athlete.
The importance of Protein
It is important as an athlete that within an hour after a training session you should consume some protein. Protein helps to repair any muscle damage. Because BJJ athletes regularly workout rigorously they need more protein than the average person. It is suggested that if you are training 5 days a week you should be consuming around 2 grams of protein per kilo of your body weight.
A diet high in protein will satisfy your hunger and by replacing some carbs with protein you will likely lose some unwanted weight as well. Increasing your protein will help to build strength and help to preserve bone health. BJJ athletes do suffer from injuries and a high protein diet will help your body recover from injury.
The main source of energy to your body comes from carbs. A BJJ athlete needs enough carbs in their diet in order to perform well.
The more energy you use during training the more carbs you need. Carbs help with digestion and keep your cholesterol levels in check. Carbs are full of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and therefore need to be part of your diet. As a BJJ athlete carbs will help to increase your muscle potential, without them you will not perform as well.
Include vitamins and minerals in your diet
These are important for BJJ athletes. Because jui-jitsu practitioners put their bodies under more stress than most people, they may be more likely to experience deficiencies.
For instance, Vitamin D is good for your immune system and as athletes you may be exposed to more germs while working out. Vitamin B is another important vitamin as it is involved with helping new cells to grow and also speeds up the body’s metabolism. Other important ones are Omega-3, particularly important for the health of your joints and mobility. Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant and can help with sleep and Zinc which helps in repairing any damage muscles that often happens during training.
Include good fats
BJJ athletes need polyunsaturated fats in their diet. During high intensity training the body needs fats as a source of energy in the same way that it needs carbs. Carbs supply immediate energy while fats provide a slower and more gradual supply of energy. These good fats can be found in fish, avocado, peanut butter, eggs and nuts.
Fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables are crucial for every BJJ athlete. They play a big part in ensuring hydration and making sure you get all your minerals. A lack of fruits and vegetables will impact the body negatively, causing muscle loss and problems with the immune system.
Because BJJ athletes are always at risk for infections, it is vital to include vegetables into the diet as they are a rich source of antioxidants and can boost the immune system.
True, eating healthy food may not at first seem very exciting, but as you begin to see how your body responds to nutritious food, rather than junk food, you will be motivated to continue.