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Attention All 'Unathletic' White Belts!!

bjj mindset nutrition s&c

You may have been drawn to jiujitsu because you want to learn self-defence. 


Or you've listened to too many episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience or the Jocko Podcast.


Either way, BJJ is a fantastic way of staying active and 'getting into shape'.


Suppose you've just started training jiujitsu and consider yourself 'unathletic'. In that case, chances are you've realized how vital physical attributes are in this sport.


In this article, I will outline a three-step system for quickly improving your physical attributes in jiujitsu.


Let's get started.


Step 1: Train Jiu Jitsu Consistently 

There is no substitute for BJJ.


The whole purpose of this article is to help you become more athletic and physically capable on the mats.


But what's the point if you're not training?!


The minimum number of BJJ sessions per week is 2, but realistically, I recommend training closer to 3 to 5 times per week.


This is non-negotiable.


Rework your schedule, move things around, and make the appropriate sacrifices.


Only once you've committed should you move on to step 2.


Step 2: Follow a Jiu Jitsu Specific Strength Program

Strength is always an advantage in BJJ.


Strength training for jiujitsu has two primary benefits.

  1. It improves your performance on the mats.
  2. It significantly reduces your risk of injury.


The minimum is 2 strength sessions per week (but optimally 3).


But why not more? If strength training is so good, why not train 5 or 6 weekly strength sessions?


Adding more than 3 strength sessions per week on top of your BJJ training risks a "negative interference effect" with your grappling.


This is when your lifting starts to negatively impact your ability to perform on the mats. Worse, there will be too much training stimulus, and you won't recover adequately. This will put you in a state of "non-functioning overreaching."


Getting 'BJJ Strong' will always be an advantage, reducing your risk of injury and improving your athleticism. To get started, download my free BJJ Strength Program or take my free fitness quiz here


Step 3: Focus on Your Nutrition

If you consider yourself "unathletic", then chances are you're either overweight or skinny fat.


Let's fix that.


Managing your weight on the scales is less important than managing your body composition. 


Body composition refers to the percentage of muscle and fat in your body.


Ideally, we maximize your muscle mass and reduce your body fat. 


The "elite" body fat range for combat sports athletes is around 8-12%. I recommend aiming for below 15%.


To assess your body fat percentage, you can:

  • Make a visual approximation 
  • Skin Fold Test (requires a professional and callipers)
  • Get a BIA Scan (InBody Scan, for example) 
  • DEXA Scan (more expensive)


To lose body fat, you must eat in a calorie deficit (eat fewer calories than you're burning). This means increasing the total number of calories burned or reducing the total calories consumed. We are going to do both. 


Focus on eating high-quality whole foods, plenty of protein and carbohydrates, and skip junk food, alcohol, and sodas. 


By "cleaning up" your diet, focusing on eating quality whole foods and eating to your hunger cues, you will start to lose fat.


I'm not saying you have to count your calories or exclusively eat boiled chicken and steamed broccoli. Start to make minor improvements now, and you'll see massive results over time.


Better nutrition practises will have immediate and long-term positive impacts on:

  • Recovery
  • Longevity
  • Mental Health
  • Performance on the mats
  • Your body composition (lose fat, increase muscle)


Watch this video to learn more about levelling your nutrition for BJJ. 


Important Note: BJJ guys often undereat, which affects their performance, recovery, sleep, and body composition. If this is you, eat more, not less. 


What about Supplements?

Supplements are the icing on the proverbial cake. 


If you want to take supplements, here's what I recommend:

  • Creatine Monohydrate (5g per day)
  • Protein Powder (WPI or WPC) 
  • Vitamin D3 + K2
  • Magnesium 


To dive deeper into supplements for BJJ, check out the Jiu Jitsu Supplement Database.


Your Roadmap to Athletic Performance

The three-step system outlined in this article is designed to attack the 'lowest hanging fruit' in your journey to become athletic for BJJ. 


Once you've implemented all 3 steps, it's time to address other areas of your performance.


Other areas of BJJ performance include:


If you're serious about improving your performance and reducing your risk of injury, check out BJJ Strong Online.

Get Stronger, Faster and more Powerful on the mats, while reducing your risk of injury. Take my FREE Fitness Quiz here.

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