From the Mind of Babalu… Nutrition for BJJ, Life, and My Story

BJJ and Nutrition go hand and hand.  I will be the first to tell you that I never really paid too much attention to what I ate.  As a matter of fact, there was one point in my life where by medical standards I was considered obese.  About 7 years ago I weighed in around 270 lbs with a whooping 28% body fat!  I mean I’m a big guy, have always been a big guy but 28% body fat??  Depending on which publication you look at an ideal weight for my height of about 6 ft 4 in. is anywhere between 180 lbs-220 lbs and a male with 18-24% body fat is considered average so I knew my fat butt had some work to do.


Now before you go thinking man that guy was a lazy turd and ate like crap all his life let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I was never lazy… yes I did eat like crap before, but I was extremely active my entire life.  I played competitive basketball for about 20 years of my life.  From the time I was 5 until one dark day ( get to that in a minute) basketball was my life.  I had small college offers and played on a few men select traveling teams, so lets just say I wasn’t a slouch.  One night was just like any other night I was playing in a league in downtown Houston.  At the time I was about 205-210 lbs  and had been playing really well.  The game was at the end and our team was down by a couple of points with about a min left.   To make a long story short that night I was rushed to the hospital with my femur dislocated from my hip socket.  After a short stay in the hospital and my femur relocated to where it belonged, I was told that my hip had dislocated 2 times.  When I slipped and hit the court it dislocated when I ran into the back of my opponent knocking me back, it went back into place and dislocated again.  So I was diagnosed with a hip dislocation and nerve damage done to the femoral and sciatic nerve I believe.  The nerve damage caused me to lose all feeling in my foot and my doctors didn’t know if I would ever be able to use it again.  Which in turn ended my basketball career.  As the months went by my recovery was slow and sometimes very painful.  I couldn’t run and jump like I did my entire life, shot I could barely walk, so I did what every other male in his early 20’s did… I partied like a rockstar! LOL My bad eating habits continued and I put on weight like you wouldn’t believe.  After about 5-6 months I slowly started to regain movement and feeling in my foot and slowly but surely it all came back to as close to normal as possible.  Now I was fat, out of shape completely and didn’t know what to do with myself.  I knew I couldn’t play basketball at the level that I once did, even though I tried I was never the same player again.  About a year and a half after my injury I started training MMA.


I loved it… I was learning new things, and was feeling great about myself.  I even lost 20 lbs, but I still knew nothing about Nutrition.  So I basically hit a plateau at 250 lbs. until Prof. Draculino came to town.  I signed up the first day and within a month had broken that plateau, but my Nutrition for BJJ still had not changed.  Two years ago I decided compete in a tournament in Austin, TX.  I was a blue belt and had been for about a year then.  I weighed like 230 lbs. and competed in the division with the biggest guys at the tournament.  Needless to say I was still a tubby!  Not only where they big guys but they were also skilled big guys which is a bad combination.  I lost my first match that day, to the eventual champion.  I remember thinking to myself once he had passed my guard and was laying in side control “wow, I can’t even freaking move!!!” and when he mounted me it was one of worst feelings in the world.  After that day I knew I had to change my nutrition and diet because I wasn’t meant to be competing with that monster!


So it started, my nutrition for BJJ or life in general wasn’t something I had knowledge on.  I had to go to an expert.  If I wanted to lose weight correctly and be competitive in BJJ I had to acquire the knowledge.  So I did… I can thank Mr. VH Shelton for getting me started with some great workouts and a diet guideline to follow.  If you need a strength and conditioning guy in the Houston area check him out.  The guy is amazing and knows his stuff!  Once I got going, I researched and researched everything I could get my hands on about nutrition, caloric intake, maco nutrients etc…I even studied strength and conditioning cause I was motivated!!!  Nutrition for BJJ for me is now is easy.  There is no fad about it.  If you put good lean proteins in your body, chicken, lean beef, eggs etc… get your carbs from good sources like whole grains and vegetables, drink lots of water, and limit your fats your already winning!!  If you do this for every meal then that is a great start.


Of course I don’t want to get scientific with this stuff because a licensed Nutritionist I am not, but if you want to lose weight then all you need to do is create a calorie deficit in your diet.  You can start by reducing your caloric intake by 500 calories a day.  500?? Why?  Apparently 1 pound equals 3500 calories, so 500 calories X 7 days = 3500 calories.  So without even changing your exercise habits or anything you can easily lose 1 lbs a week just by taking this one small step.  So now think of this without going into percentages, macos and all that scientific stuff, just for an example if you cut your caloric intake 500 calories a day and you do some kind of activity throughout the week that you burn lets say another 3500 calories a week, then you are losing 2 lbs a week!  Simple right?


Wanting to strive to be better at BJJ has given me better Nutrition for BJJ and Life.  I know that its not easy and this post doesn’t have the end all be all answers that you maybe seeking but its a start at least.  I am happy to say that my Nutrition for BJJ and life journey hasn’t ended either.  As of this morning 4/14/11 I am 213 lbs and about 13% body fat.  Since I am not competing anytime soon, I can still have a cheat day or meal every now and then with in reason and don’t have to be extremely strict at the moment but I am maintaining where I am.  Throughout my week my meals are pretty clean and I follow my own rules of lean proteins, good carb sources and limit my fats.  Also don’t forget to check out my friends over at, these meals are what I have been eating for breakfast and lunch for about a month now every day and I couldn’t be happier!


If you have any questions please ask in the comment sections.   I will do my best to help you find the answer if I don’t know it myself.  Everyone needs help sometimes getting over that hump and I will help out anyone I can.  Nutrition, BJJ, and Strength and Conditioning are all a passion of mine, and I enjoying sharing knowledge and learning things from people who have something to share.

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