How to achieve success in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Being successful in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, isn’t just about what you do in the gym or how you perform on the mat.
Just like with every athlete in any sport, what you do before you even come to the competition can affect the results. To be able to walk the walk instead of just talking about it, living a successful lifestyle like a top-level athlete in BJJ isn’t just what you do in the gym—it’s what you do everywhere, in the kitchen, after workouts, and even in the bedroom (your sleep!).
To help you restore balance in your life and get the most out of your BJJ training, here are a few guidelines to follow to help you reset your lifestyle:
1. Get Your Nutrition Right
What you put in—you get out.
With a physical sport like BJJ, nutrition is a HUGE part of achieving success, feeling strong, and being able to give your best at every training—especially during post and pre-workout.
Here are a few tips to get right with your BJJ-centered nutrition:
- Try to avoid sugar. Start reading labels and reducing the number of foods you are consuming that have added sugar or all those names you can’t even pronounce. Sugar in your diet can be a major detriment to your nutrition
- Hydrate as much as possible. I cannot stress enough how much plain, unsweetened, and unflavored water can make such a difference. You need to re-hydrate your body from all the training you’ve been doing.
- Keep a balanced plate of food—the more color, the better. You need to start implementing more veggies and fruits in your diet! Find (healthy) ways to make recipes as creative as possible so it doesn’t get difficult to eat your fruits and veggies.
- Make post-meals a priority. Your recovery begins right after your last training. The harder you train, the better your nutrition needs to be after your training. You need to put carbs and protein (as well as a ton of water) back into your system. Just because you’ve trained really hard, it doesn’t mean you can “treat” yourself afterward.
- Find a nutrition plan that works for you. Everyone is different, so don’t think that what works for someone else’s body will work for you. You should be ready to experiment until you get it right (or consult a nutritionist for a personalized plan).
2. Commit to a Training Plan
Whether you’re working with a gym coach or not, committing to an organized and balanced training plan can definitely help you build the strength and conditioning you need to become a great athlete.
For BJJ, it’s all about balance—with your nutrition and with your training. You should be covering all different kinds of aspect in BJJ, like total body strength, grip strength, endurance, work capacity, and basic aerobic conditioning.
Whether you’re going to be specifically training for certain skills or if you need to develop your overall fitness, make some S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals and stick to them until you reach them!
3. Rest is Also Important
As I mentioned before, what you do right after a workout, nutrition-wise, can make a huge difference in your recovery and in your preparation for the next workout.
Along those same lines, rest and recovery are also extremely important. Although everyone is different, you should be aiming for that solid eight hours of sleep so you can be physically and mentally rested.
Resting also takes active planning. When you are coming up with a training schedule, make sure you purposely add a rest day in there, too.
Resting isn’t all about sleeping, either. There are active recovery strategies and tips that you should implement into those Resting Periods so that you can fully recover for your next training.
To fully get your rest, you should try to:
- Limit the use of blue light devices (like your phone or tablet) 1-2 hours before bed.
- Implement meditation or breathing exercises before you go to sleep.
- Keep the room and bed at a comfortable temperature.
- Implement some active recovery like with foam rolling and a self-massage.
- Reduce your caffeine intake in general.
4. Your Training Environment Should Reflect Your #GOALS
Finding the right training environment or BJJ gym can make a huge difference in your athletic success. If you are surrounded by like-minded, goal-oriented athletes and trainers, their attitudes can help propel you forward.
Finding the right gym with the proper equipment you need to succeed can be difficult (and a bit pricey). However, here are a few tips to help you choose the right BJJ gym for you.
1. Focus on location. Especially if you’re a beginner looking to just try BJJ out, you’ll most likely want to keep going if your gym isn’t a long way away from your home. The commute alone—if a long one—can be a huge deciding factor.
2. Look for their opening hours. Everyone’s got to work, right? Perhaps you have kids, too, and you need to accompany them to their own BJJ practice or soccer games. Look for a gym where it has opening hours, classes, and a schedule that fits yours.
3. Take a look at the members and how they interact. BJJ is a great opportunity to join a community of humble athletes looking to help one another get better. BJJ finds its core in a level of humility in a friendly training environment. If your gym is just full of bullies and big-headed jerks, it won’t help you improve—and won’t be a whole lot of fun.
4. Check the instructor’s background. You’ll be learning from him or her—so inform yourself about them as much as possible before you consent to be under their instruction. It can really make a difference if you do your research beforehand and ask around.
5. Look for a mixture. If you don’t want to limit yourself to only one style, having a gym that offers variety in styles such as wrestling and Judo will help you become better off in being a well-rounded JiuJiteiro.
5. Find Your Balance: Life Outside of Training
Getting burned out—even for an amateur—is definitely a thing.
You want to find a training schedule and rhythm where you still are able to have balance in your life.
Although BJJ can help you expand both your social network and social skills, it still takes up a lot of your time that you could be spending with family or other friends.
Finding that perfect balance between having a social life and training, as well as training hard and not succumbing to injuries, is crucial if you want to succeed. Not only will you be learning a ton of social skills, overcoming your fears, and mastering who YOU are through BJJ, you can also help you find that balance in life again.
I hope this article has helped give you some guidance in helping transform your day-to-day schedule into a successful JuiJiteiro.