INTERVIEWS — 28 March 2014
Pre-competition Nutrition for BJJ

Today we will be covering pre­competition nutrition for BJJ. Check out the video for the basics and read on below for more details and extra knowledge. Be sure to check out the unusual trick towards the end of this post.

Pre-competition and Pre-weigh-in

No long term dehydration

Instead of dehydration, leading up to competition, focus on super­hydration. Between high­school and college, I spent eight wrestling seasons making weight on a weekly basis. Although I got better at it with experience, the process remained largely the same: begin cutting food intake around Wednesday. On top of that, with each workout, I’d be sure to lose 4­7 pounds of water weight. The key, then, was to replace less water than I lost. This was a weekly struggle and by mid­day Friday, the dehydration would take its toll.

Cutting weight incorrectly can greatly effect how well you perform on the mats

Cutting weight incorrectly can greatly effect how well you perform on the mats

Spending a large portion of the week dehydrated takes a toll on your body and your mental well­ being. Luckly, there’s a more refined apporach out there and man, do I wish I’d know more about it in when I was wrestling in college. This approach is called super­hydration, also known as water loading. The process relies on drinking a ton of water to put your body into flushing mode. Super­hydaration lowers aldosterone secretion, a hormone that regulates water­retention.

In other words, you will pee and sweat a ton.

Do this the about a week and a half leading up to your competition, and don’t start your cut until a day out. Don’t slowly starve your body of water. Get it ready for the weight­cut via super­hydration and drop the weight quickly.

With this approach you will have to trust in the science (because your weight might be higher than you’re used to) and be willing to put the work in to complete your cut the last day before weigh­ins.

 

Pre-Competition, but Post-Weigh-In Nutrition

Arguably more important than your weight cutting program is how you recover from your cut and prepare for the competition.  The science tells us that dehydration is the #1 limiting factor in athletic performance, rehydration has to happen quick and right.

Start with body temperature water and electrolyte replacement beverages like Rapid Rehydration or Pedyalite. Be sure to sip at least every 15 minutes to achieve maximum liquid replacement.

But it’s not just about hydration, you have to have carbs.

Post­weigh­in nutrition is a study in macronutrient kinetics ­ how quickly your body absorbs nutrients. What this means is, [like with pre­practice nutrition for bjj] (add link), no fat, fiber or meats after weigh­ins. They’ll slow down the absorption in your gut, leading to two issues:

1. You don’t get the nutrients you need

2. The heavy food sitting in your gut will slow you down come competition time

Your best bet will be to ingest liquid carbs and liquid proteins after weigh­ins. In 2 hours, you can get 2 meals in:

1. Liquid meal: protein shake + fast digesting carbs.

2. Solid meal (30 min later): pb&j sandwich with a banana

Final Trick

Warm foods and liquids cause vasodilation ­ the widening of blood vessels. Meaning blood travels quicker and nutrients absorbs quicker. I haven’t played with this one myself, but the recommendation comes to me from a trustworthy source. One way of executing the trick: add a hot tea to your post weight­in rehydration. The hot tea causes vasodilation and helps your body absorb your post weigh­in nutrients quicker.

In order to be at top competing level we need to both be sound of body and mind. Check out this product by flow athletics to help get you in the zone!

Dan Faggella

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