As you continue understanding Brazilian jiu jitsu and implementing classes into your regular schedule, you may consider your next step to further enhance your training experience and get the most out of each practice – both in and out of the gym. Here are some tips to push your nutrition to the next level.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
One of the best things you can do for your body is to hydrate – with water. Water regulates your body temperature and helps transport nutrients within your body to give you energy and keep you healthy. If not properly hydrated, your body cannot perform at its highest level. You may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, etc. Jiu jitsu is a high-intensity sport and requires a lot from your body. Thus, you should give it the proper hydration to get you through a full class. You also will naturally sweat a lot during practice, so you want to ensure you rehydrate afterward as well. Also, products such as Gatorade, Body Armor, and Celsius advertise quick rehydration, electrolyte renewal and energy, the best option is still water. Sometimes understanding what is best for us gets difficult! The best way to cut straight to the “meat and potatoes” is to let other experts do the heavy lifting for us. I have included a link to the Food and Drug Administration for additional information regarding interpretation of nutrition labels. Sometimes that is where we have to start. Check it out FDA Resources!
- Lots of Protein
Fto your diet will also help with burning fat and maintaining energy. Some of the best protein options are chicken, fish, eggs, almonds, and low-fat dairy. You can also replace a meal with a protein shake, but remember to find something high in whey protein and low in sugar. There are many supplemental products out there to help with protein intake and other athlete-based necessities, but it is important to do your own research to find the best option for you and your body.
- Avoid Empty Calories
Processed foods and foods high in sugar are often considered ‘empty calories,’ meaning the body can use them for some energy, but very few nutrients and minerals are needed for keeping you strong and healthy. Any leftover calories are stored in the form of fat and lead to weight gain. While it is nearly impossible to cut sugar from your diet, cutting artificial sugars is a good way to start. Limiting your intake of soda, candy, desserts, and other high-sugar products will help you maintain your energy and your weight. Instead, increase your intake of protein and fruits, and vegetables. Many fruits have natural sugars that are better for you, in moderation. You hear people reference ‘leafy greens’ a lot and this includes spinach, arugula, kale, brussel sprouts, lettuce, and more. These vegetables are nutrient powerhouses and are simple to incorporate into your diet. In fact, if you put spinach in your protein shake, it offers many health benefits, without changing the taste – you just have to get past the green color.
- Try Your Hand at Meal Prepping
Life gets busy, no question. And when things are busy, it’s easier to grab an unhealthy snack or drive-thru fast food for dinner. So by having your meals prepared in advance, you have an automatic meal ready to go. Some people do it all themselves, or they hire someone to do it for them, but either option will leave you with a simple plan for your breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all of the above for any athlete, protein is important for muscle growth and body tissue repair. In jiu jitsu, you do a lot of pushing, pulling, holding, lifting, and other movements that are somewhat unorthodox compared to your everyday life. Many nutritionists suggest you consume between 1.2 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Adding protein