If you want to reach peak performance in your Jiu-Jitsu, you will need to not only train like a champion, you will also have to eat like a champion. That means NO JUNK FOOD. Junk food can sometimes taste good, but is really it worth it?
A lot of BJJ athletes will tell you that eating junk food doesn’t slow them down because they have genetics and admittedly, there have been MMA and BJJ fighters who have been less than serious with their diet. However, it should be said that the actual cases of people with genetics to allow them to eat junk food is very small and even they will start to feel side effects once they start to age. Even if the body allows you to eat junk food and still remain lean and with good energy, switching to a clean diet will still improve your Jiu-Jitsu performance and body composition considerably.
Effects of eating junk food include but are not limited to :
- Lower anabolic hormone levels (caused by the increased body fat)
- Increased body fat (caused by the high number of calories , unhealthy fats and large amounts of sugar)
- Food cravings (junk food causes a mental addiction)
- Energy crashes (due to the body not having a steady supply of energy from foods with a low glycemic index)
- Feeling of weakness (caused by the huge amount of energy used by the body to digest the junk food).
The Valente bros with GM Helio Gracie
Now that we’ve looked at what not to do, let’s look at what to do. If you make the following changes to your diet, you will feel lighter, faster, stronger and will last longer :
1. Remove soda and other products that contain sugar.
2. Eat simple carbohydrates or foods with a high glycemic index only after training.
Examples: fruits, honey, white rice, Bread, French baguette, Cereal, Bran Flakes, Doughnut, French fries, Popcorn, plain, cooked in microwave, Potato (baked).
3. Add super foods to your diet
Examples: quinoa, goji berries, broccoli. They are called super foods because they have a lot of nutrients , including vitamins and minerals.
4. Eat complex carbohydrates or foods with a low glycemic index in the morning, before training and after.
This will ensure your body has a steady supply of energy . They should be eaten 1 hour and a half before training for optimal effect, thus ensuring your body does not suffer a energy crash that would otherwise happen with simple carbohydrates.
Examples of low GI foods: Oatmeal, oat bran, muesli Pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots. Apple, Avocado, Baked beans, Banana, Beans, Bread, Carrots, Cashews, Cauliflower, Celery, Cereal, All-Bran, Cherries…
5. Eat meat and fish for the protein content (and healthy fats in case of the fish) , especially after training.
6. Add eggs to your diet, including the yolk, which is rich in healthy fats.
7. Drink plenty of water.
8. Supplement with vitamins.
If your goal is to lose weight, you will have to:
1. Slowly reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat to almost 0 ;
2. Keep eating protein (especially before and after training in order to avoid burning muscle mass) and healthy fats to keep an optimal hormonal level.
3. Have a carbohydrate loading day or two per week in which you eat as many carbohydrates as you want in order to replenish glycogen levels in the muscle.
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