One of the major issues in all the competitors and players that I train. Eating more is hard since no one can roll on an full stomach for obvious reasons. Those who roll many times a day are left with this big dilemma. The intense nature of BJJ requires more calories for recovery so how can we manage to deal with this problem. Instead of just eating when you can, make a plan or a schedule. You know when you roll and workout, leave at least 90 minutes to 2 hours to digest. If you have a hard time including meals, add post workout shakes, easy calories right there. You know your schedule, work around it, just don’t eat only when you have time. Serious athletes plan in advance. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Those who only can attend the night classes are the ones stuck with this issue. Adrenaline levels are high even though they are home and trying to relax after class. Problem is the mind is not stopping, it’s still rolling and analyzing the rolls. The good rolls and especially the bad ones, revisiting what went wrong and the possible counters. Those with big ego’s are on their phones or Ipads searching youtube for counters to not let it happen again.
If you complain of sleep issues, this is it. Just put away technology and chill. If the mind can’t rest, the body follows that state of mind. Let go of those rolls and learn from them. Leave the ego at the door. On top of that, the blue light from the screens you are watching have the ability to crush your rest and regeneration cycle a.k.a. restful sleep. Sleep better roll better.
I often hear it. If you are using too much strength, your technique sucks. I completely agree. However, forgetting the fact that strong muscles also means strong bones/tendons/ligaments can be the difference between a tap and a snap. Also, when you get good at it, put two equally skilled rollers against each other, the stronger opponent has an edge without any doubt.
To gain strength, aim at being strong in a functional matter. The focus should be put on major lifts. We have in the strength and conditioning world what we call predictor lifts. Those lifts tell us where you are strength wise with lifts that relate the most to the sport involved. In this case, overhead press (for shoulder integrity and strength), deadlifts (for posterior chain strength and functionality) and pullups (for grips and pulling strength). Get strong in those lifts and you will see great improvement in your game.
Gain muscle mass
When we talk about gaining lean mass, bjj guys be like ”I can’t get to big, it will slow down my game”. Can’t be further from the truth. First and foremost, YOU CANNOT GAIN LEAN MASS FAST! You won’t wake up the next morning like ‘’what the fuck happened’’. No one became a monster over night. Especially in BJJ since no one eats near enough the amount of calories they need to sustain the hours of training, where gaining mass generally means taking in more calories than you can burn. So gaining mass (as well as strength) needs a lot more than a few hours of lifting weights.
For brazilian jiujitsu, or any contact sports of that matter, Hypertrophy should be seen as injury prevention first. Muscles act as a cushion, somewhat of a safety cushion around the joints. Especially the shoulder and back and is necessary for strength gains and vice versa. In BJJ, stronger joints will help you stay on the mats longer. Don’t let preventable injuries stop your progress.
No! Rest is not when your dead. If you aim at rolling for a while, or get your black belt one day, rest is your friend, in fact, it should be your best friend. The aim is to maximize rest. Like tip number 2, if you maximize your sleep quality, you are on the right track. You are better off sleeping a good 6-8 hours of unbroken sleep than a broken 10 or 12 hours.
Another question that comes often is how many sessions or rolls a week? Some can roll everyday and feel great, others have to roll 3 times a week and drill on none rolling days. Have a plan! You don’t have to roll every day to better your game, drilling is as, if not more important. Those drills have to become a automatism and there is no better way than by putting in the work and repetitions. Like Bruce Lee said best; I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
Use your time efficiently by having a plan.
Chill, play, have fun, don’t take it too seriously. Tap if you have to. It’s a learning experience first and then you get better by learning about yourself, your sparring partners and life in general. Once you let the techniques sink in, you learn faster, apply better and become a better rolling partner. The brother/sisterhood needs great minds, no ego, just great people learning about this great sport that is Brasilian Jiujitsu.