Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter Cascao Vital. He runs Cascao Evolution BJJ out of Las Vegas nv.
Crossfit is it’s own demanding sport, requiring a person to be well versed in strength, speed, and endurance in a countless variety of variations and events. A nice amount of grapplers are finding their way over to the crossfit world for that athletic edge on the mats, but often times adding something as intense as crossfit can hurt your Jiu-Jitsu efforts if proper planning and precautions are not taken.
The first mistake to avoid is the simple notion of overtraining. Your body can only handle so much intensity and volume in a week. No matter what the variety of training stress you put yourself through, once you pass your body’s limit, you enter the overtraining state. Once your there, the body’s ability to recover diminishes, energy levels drop, sleeping patterns get hindered and sports performance falls. The solution is to watch total work volume in the week. The average person is pretty solid with five workouts a week, so if you train BJJ three times a week, that leaves two sessions left for crossfit. Your main training priority (bjj) should be the largest amount of workouts for you in the week. Experiment and find your personal level of training volume that works for you, because it may be higher or lower then the average.
Another pitfall many athletes succumb to is too much intensity. Crossfit is known for going all out and really pushing your body to the limits. This not only puts stress on the musculature system, but also to the central nervous system. Speed, strength and explosion workloads really tax the central nervous system hard, so keeping a cap on how many high intensity training sessions a week is smart. Once the central nervous system is fried, your motor skills and reaction times drop real fast and that makes certain training sessions ineffective and injury prone.
So once volume and intensity are kept in check, nutrition has to come into play. You need enough fuel (calories) and proteins to maintain both training disciplines. If you’re going for performance enhancement and not weight loss, then you should not be in a caloric deficit. You need to replenish your energy stores fully and eat enough protein to repair and build your broken muscle fibers. Fail to do this and you raise the risk of becoming over trained even with moderate levels of training volume and intensity. Also remember that the level of hydration is going to be much higher then someone who just casually trains in the gym, so drink plenty of water.
Also, when you get closer to competition and the BJJ training ramps up with volume and intensity, that’s when your volume and intensity at crossfit need to drop. A lot of people don’t realize that most collegiate football teams really only work on intense strength training in the offseason. Once the season actually starts, it’s maintenance work in the gym and volume and intensity on the field. Same should hold true for your grappling. The month of your competition, maintenance work in the gym, intensity and volume on the mat.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a lifestyle and a passion for many of us. Adding something like crossfit into the regime not only can help you with the athletic side of things, but can also be something that makes you more durable while also diversifying your time and interests. Follow these fundamental guidelines and you will reap the benefits. Keep volume and intensity in check and eat enough calories and protein with plenty of hydration and remember to experiment with what works best for you. Now go train, osss.