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Ideas On Carbohydrates For The Jiu Jitsu Athlete

Ideas On Carbohydrates For The Jiu Jitsu Athlete


Exploring Carbs for the Jiu Jitsu Athlete...

One of my favorite quotes from the movie and book, of the same title, Fight Club is the following: “Fight club gets to be your reason for going to the gym and keeping your hair cut short and cutting your nails”. In my mind, this is the idea that one thing can permeate every aspect of your life. I often find this as true with Jiu Jitsu. Jiu Jitsu becomes the reason to drink a little less because you have an early morning training session. Jiu Jitsu is the reason you take up Yoga or running or strength training on the days you can’t possibly make it to the gym. Jiu Jitsu becomes the reason why you pay closer attention to your diet.

Diet, is a key component of peak human performance. On a certain level, it does not make sense to sacrifice your body in training then profane that sacrifice with garbage foods.

For most of my adult live, carbs have played a large discussion in the diet picture. Initially, it was with the Atkins diet. A fundamental principal of the Atkins diet is to avoid all carbs, caffeine and sugar. For a lot of people this diet was highly effective but had a few key weaknesses. First, without providing another energy source besides carbs, exercise is extremely difficult. Second, having even a small amount of sugar, carbs or caffeine would remove your ability to lose weight for several days. These factors made the diet extremely difficult to adopt in the long run.

There have been several more evolutions of diets that focus on carbs. The Keto Diet is a recent one that has gained much popularity. Like Atkins, you avoid most carbs. However you replace carbs with nutritious fats as a source of energy. Jocko Willink, former navy Seal and Jiu Jitsu black belt,  is a big proponent of this diet.

Another approach is to match your carb intake to your actively level. Many would argue that for someone with an actively lifestyle 50 carbs daily and zero processed sugar is a good level to lose weight.

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Tom Deblass, who needs no introduction, is an advocate of substituting simple carbs with complex carbs and high fiber carbs. He is also a big proponent of intermittent fasting; the practice of eating all your meals with in a certain time window.

George Lockhart , another nutritional expert,  has been around the MMA community for a long time. His websites lists working with more than 20% of the current UFC roster, including 11 current or former World Champions. A little know fighter, named Conor McGregor, is among his clients. One of his approaches to carbs is, “"If you jog, your body's primary source of fuel is fat. But if you've been lifting, your main source of energy comes from carbohydrates. Aerobic activity such as jogging or walking will tap into your body's fat stores. When you increase the intensity of your training (in HIIT or pumping iron at the gym) this is more of an anaerobic activity. For this, carbs are the main fuel. Your muscles will need to stock up on glycogen (carbs) after an intense lifting session.”

By no means is this a complete summary of any of these diets. Both Deblass and Lockhart have a knowledge on nutrition and carbs that is extremely comprehensive. This is only meant to be an extremely brief excerpt. All of these diets focus on other nutritional components besides carbs. Carbs are just highlighted in this article.

Jiu Jitsu opens your eyes to the reality that our bodies are capable of so much more than we ever thought. As mentioned, diet is a key component of this peak human performance. While Jiu Jitsu gyms are a great place to get pointers on diet. I would encourage everyone to dive deeper. There are experts like Deblass and Lockhart who have garnered a sophisticated understanding of food as it relates to human performance.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Please consult your doctor before any changes to your diet.

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