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The Intermittent Changes that Will Better Your BJJ and Life

The Intermittent Changes that Will Better Your BJJ and Life


If you have been training BJJ for even a week, you know challenging it can be, but also how rewarding physically and mentally.  It is an amazing martial art and sport that introduces you to a wide variety of new friends who are on the same journey as you.  Quickly, you will probably have discovered that it's so much more than just an activity that you do 2-3 times a week.  You find yourself thinking about techniques at work or at school and thinking of new ways to inject the sport into your life.

Soon you will begin to see that BJJ can be more of a lifestyle that helps shape your diet and other life choices.  If you are like many of us, you can always make improvements to your diet and physical fitness.  The diet and fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise because it is such a common quest that most people see as something they can improve on.

One of the reasons that the industry is so large is because consumers are always looking for the latest and the easiest ways in which to get into better shape.  And with the amount of time it takes to get good at jiu jitsu, the more time we can devote to the mats and the less we time we need to spend agonizing over our diet and supplemental fitness programs the better.

One of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu's most popular instructors, competitors and personalities out there today is Professor Tom DeBlass.  A black belt, representing Team Renzo Gracie, under Ricardo Almeida, Tom DeBlass is a long-time competitor who has fought on a wide-variety of stages, from the UFC and Bellator to the highly regarding ADCC stage.  He is also a much sought after instructor and motivational speaker who spends much of his free time helping students of BJJ and others all over the world through a variety of social media platforms.

As a busy athlete and entrepreneur he advocates the simplest approach to anything he does.  When it is time to train, he trains hard and in short bursts, incorporating a flexible, easy to follow system of heavy weight training peppered intermittently through his day and week.  Similarly, he is a huge proponent of intermittent fasting as a dietary or nutritional approach.  In this approach, he will maintain a cyclical approach to his eating overall where he will cease eating at a specified time each evening and not reconvene eating for another specified time.  In this way, he maximizes the value of his caloric intake and also gives his body time to regenerate and properly regulate his energy levels.  This helps keep his overall calories in check and the various fat burning forces working at peak levels.

Let's look at a few simple 'intermittent' changes that you can pepper into your day that will not only get you in the best shape of your life, but will also improve your BJJ consequentially.  One of the keys to the success of Tom DeBlass is that his over-arching rule of thumb is to keep things as simple as possible.  When it is time to train BJJ, he trains hard for an hour straight with almost no rest.  Done.  Hard, but simple.  When it is time to weight train, he advocates short, intense 15-20 minute sessions.  Done.  Not easy, but not complicated.  Take a look at some of his approaches and see what you can begin applying today.


Insert Intermittent Workouts into your Busy Day

You would be hard pressed to have a busier schedule than Tom DeBlass.  First and foremost, he is a husband and father of two young children.  Anyone with children, especially two young children can attest to the time and energy it takes to keep life in control.  Add to this the fact that Tom owns and is head instructor at Ocean County Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Forked River, NJ which has recently grown to nearly 400 students.  In addition, Tom has a growing affiliation of BJJ schools around the world, each with hundreds of the students at their locations.  He also conducts dozens of seminars a year at schools around the globe.  And by the way, he is also still competing at the highest level, having just helped lead the Team Renzo Gracie members in a magnificent ADCC campaign.

If anyone doesn't have time for marathon training sessions, it's Tom.  For everyone, he recommends short, intense workouts injected into your busy day.  Many of his BJJ sessions are relatively short, one hour bursts of intense training.  His supplemental training sessions might be short 15-20 minutes of work with a single 45lb weight plate, or some simple body weight conditioning exercises like burpees or pushups.  By injecting intermittent workouts into your day, you are able to fit them into your busy schedule at a time that is convenient.  You are more motivated, knowing that your workout is going to be short.  You are also able to work out more intensely as you don't have to spend 2-3 hours in the gym.  

 Don't forget Intermittent Hydration

The first thing Tom asks anyone who seeks out his guidance from a nutrition perspective is how much water are they drinking?  And if they are not drinking at least a gallon of water, that is his first dietary recommendation.  He has shared in a variety of interviews that by adding more water to your diet you not only hydrate yourself, but you also flush toxins out of your body, keep yourself feeling full and help spike the work of your metabolism.

DeBlass has reported that most of the people he recommends drinking at least a gallon of water per day to can achieve upwards of a 10lbs weight loss in a few weeks, with just that one 'intermittent' change.  If you take nothing from this article, start there.  It is the simple easy changes that require very little effort that will go a long way to keeping you on the mats and in better shape.


 Intermittent Weight Training

There has always been a great deal of debate about the value of weight training for BJJ and for weight loss, but in Tom's experience short, intense weight training sessions are essential for both weight loss and success on the mats.  

To clarify, many exercise proponents advocate long sessions of cardio-style exercise like running or perhaps exercise machines like ellipticals for weight loss.  Though these can provide improvements in one's cardio, a jiu jitsu practitioner and someone looking to lose weight, but also look at the overall time investment necessary and what can help them reach their goals the most efficiently.  For weight loss, no one can argue that a cardio-based exercise can burn a great deal of calories, but science has shown that short, intense and heavy weight training sessions can actually burn more calories over the course of a day, then the cardio sessions.  So whereas 15-20 minutes of running may burn more calories during that session than a weight training session might during the session, the metabolic impact of the weight training session over the course of the day is much much greater.

In short, we burn the bulk of our exercise calories when running during the run, whereas we burn far more calories AFTER a weight training session than DURING that session.  Therefore that short weight session has a much better impact on weight loss.  Not to mention, we are gaining strength and other anaerobic benefits that are much more useful in a BJJ match when we are in a position to be moving ourselves and other bodies around the mats.

The ideal training program would have a balance of BJJ, weight training, and purely cardio exercises, but the reality is that if you have a busy lifestyle, it's often difficult to cover all of those bases properly.  So if you only have time for 2 out of the 3, Tom DeBlass would advocate BJJ (of course) and also short, heavy, intermittent weight training sessions.

 For another look at how taking a look at your nutritional philosophy and methods can help improve your training of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, check out this previous article by BJJ Fanatics on the topic here!

 In the video below, Tom sits down with fellow world champion and high level BJJ athlete and entrepreneur Bernardo Faria to discuss some of these same ideas about diet and fitness, along with others.


If you're ready to trade in your "Dad Bod" or you've always wondered if there was an easy-to-follow nutritional and exercise plan that will get you in the best shape in your life, without endless hours in the gym or trying to survive on lettuce and water, then look no more.  BJJ Fanatics has brought one of the most respected BJJ martial artists, teachers and school owners, Tom DeBlass in to share the simple to follow secrets that have him in the best shape of his life at age 35!  Check out "Ripped in 12 Weeks" available here where Tom will share all of his nutritional and fitness secrets in an easy to follow format, complete with guidebooks and recipes.


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