Picture this: it’s competition day and you’re as hyped as you can be. Your training has been absolutely on point for the last few months, and you’re a much more technical and stronger Jiujiteiro than you’ve ever been. Your mindset is right and you have your eyes set on victory… The first place is yours for the taking.
But alas, as you make your way to the mats, your stomach starts brewing up. You’re feeling sick and you want to puke… But it’s not due to the adrenaline, no; it’s because you didn’t eat properly beforehand!
Let’s make sure that this doesn’t happen (again). Here are some rock-solid tips on what (not) to eat before your BJJ competition.
WHAT’S THE GOAL?
Okay, let’s first make sure that you’re understanding the goal of pre-competition nutrition. Basically, your goal is to provide your body with the nutrients and energy which will enable it to sustain the high-intensity and high-pressure activity that it’ll undergo in competition. What you eat before the slap-and-bump takes place will determine if you’ll have enough energy to persist through the inevitable fatigue and sweat… Or if you’ll crash from being too fatigued, dehydrated and with stomach pains due to hunger.
So, for starters, make sure that you have a quality meal before competition, at least two hours prior. Because, if you eat it in too narrow of a time window, your problem won’t be that of „not enough“; but of too much too soon. You’ll feel sick just as our protagonist in the introduction – so make sure that there’s some time in-between your meal and the first roll of the day.
WHAT (NOT) TO EAT BEFORE COMPETITION
With the reasons out of the way, let’s see what you should and shouldn’t eat before going to compete.
First of all, making sure that your energy levels are on point actually starts a couple of days before competition. You need to be carb loading; eating high, complex carbohydrate meals a couple of days in a row so as to make sure that your glycogen stores are full. So, eat some pasta, whole wheat bread, potatoes, brown rice…
And the simple carbs – you can eat them a bit before competition, even an hour or so beforehand; you won’t get (easily) sick because of them. However, also make sure that you don’t overdo these simple carbs too much, especially the fast sugar foods. If you overdo it, you’re likely to suffer from the infamous sugar crash; which happens when your blood sugar rapidly spikes and then drops rapidly as well.
It’s also very important that you don’t eat too much of high fat and high protein foods before competition. What you can do is that you can eat just a little bit of protein, some time prior to competing; perhaps get an egg or two, some milk or cottage cheese for high-quality picks – and combine it with carbs for the best possible result. This will keep your stomach full and your energy proper.
If you eat too much fat and protein, however – through foods like peanut butter and regular cheese, for example – you’ll be slower than you’d like to be. The reason behind is that protein and fat take a long time to be processed by the stomach.
And also, don’t forget to drink enough water! Dehydration is a silent saboteur; so make sure to prevent its intentions by having a bottle of water near and by making sure that you’ve been regularly drinking it beforehand.
Visit our article on hydration to figure out just how much water is enough for you.
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