Thursday, 13 February 2014

Nutrition and Supplementation For the Jiu-Jitsu Athlete (By Nick Aboe)

This is a post by Nick Aboe, who kindly agreed to do a guest blog for me, so for that I thank him kindly. Nick has just recently started his own blog (which can be found here) so go and check him out! In the next few days a post will also be published on Nick's blog written by me, so I'll keep you posted. I hope you guys enjoy and here is his article:
The human body that we live in, and practice jiu-jitsu in, is a complex and amazing biological machine. I'm sure you've heard the tired old phrase 'you are what you eat'. Interpreted broadly, this can be translated into 'you get out what you put in'. If you put in crap, you'll get crap on the other end. How you feel walking around during your regular day to day, and how you perform on the mat is a direct reflection of how you are treating your body. Whether it be food, drink, vitamins, or a variety of other supplements, paying attention to what you put in is super important for any athlete.  When I started BJJ, I instantly fell in love. I wanted to do anything and everything I could do to get better, and perform better. Naturally I began to adjust my diet and treatment of my body to be geared for jiu-jitsu specifically. There are many variables to account for, but it doesn't have to be confusing or complex. I like to keep it simple, and effective. In this article I will outline a basic guide to giving your body what it needs to perform optimally on, and off the mat.
Your body is somewhere around 60-65% water, which is more than half....duh.  Just to perform it's basic functions, it requires a couple liters of clean H2O per 24 hours.  Try to drink water super frequently.  First thing in the morning, dump at least 8oz down your gullet, just to get going.  Drink coffee or tea or whatever you do in the morning, but water must be in there.  As a rule of thumb, if your thirsty then you are already dehydrated.  You should be urinating clear, and often.  It can be sort of inconvenient, but it's healthy and normal to pee once an hour.
Unprocessed, untainted, and uncooked fruit and vegetables are terrific sources of essential vitamins and minerals and should be a big part of everyone's diet.  These should be a part of every meal throughout your day.  The greener the better, the riper the better.  Eating salads with a good mix of vegetables is the easiest way I've found, I hate just eating carrot sticks or cauliflower just by itself.  If you can't get real vegetables in you for one of your meals, you can drink juices like V8 or similar products....just watch out for sodium and sugar content.  Fruits are easy, because they taste awesome.  I will usually do a banana every morning with breakfast, and before training.  Additionally, I toss fresh or frozen banana, blueberry, mango, raspberry, apples or whichever I choose into the blender with my protein shake.  You should be eating fruits and vegetables with most meals, and as snacks.

Lot's of people overdo and mess up with protein.  Keep in mind what the goal here is....fueling the machine.  Your body does need protein, and athletes tend to need a good bit more, but BJJ players are not bodybuilders.  Don't be pounding down scoops of whey every 2 hours, you don't need that
much.  Besides farting like a monster, whey protein or any other engineered supplement shouldn't be used very often.  I will however drink a nutrient rich protein shake with banana after strength workouts.  Your protein sources should be from natural foods like animal protein (meat) or maybe some dairy, eggs or cheeses, greek yogurt.  I don't do dairy often at all, so I eat a lot of beans because they are a great protein source, but also for carbs and nutrients.  Lean meats like chicken, tuna, and turkey are awesome.  Protein should be about 40% of your daily diet.

Your body NEEDS fats, and they should be 20% of your daily diet.  There are a few different types, and they are Saturated, Mono-unsaturated, Poly-unsaturated  and Trans fats. Saturated are found mostly in animal products such as meat, cheese, milk, butter, cream and eggs.  The Mono and Poly are found in nuts, oils, etc and contain beneficial omega-3 and omega-6, and other essential fatty acids.
Carbs are our bodies main energy source, and calories from carbohydrates are used by the body before proteins, or fats.  Balancing your carbs with your protein and fat consumption rounds out your diet as a whole, and should be given just as much attention as the other things you eat.  Personally I don't eat a whole lot of bread, mostly because it's usually processed and refined, and contains gluten.  White flour food products I try to stay away from in general.  Your carb sources should be natural, clean, and not fatty.  Some examples are brown rice, rolled oats, potatoes, and beans.  Bananas and other fruits also contain healthy carbs, and fiber.  Organic granola is awesome, and there are also a large variety of organic corn meal cereals with lots of healthy flax seeds, buckwheat flour and stuff like that.
Eating healthy is a discipline, and it can be hard to do sometimes.  It's SUPER easy to eat badly, with soooo many temptations out there.  Pizza is amazing, but LOADED with fat and calories that you probably don't need.  Cake tastes incredible, and so do candies like snickers and reese's, and exercising will power 24/7 is a tall order.  Give yourself a cheat day once a week where you allow yourself to enjoy something sweet or salty that may not necessarily be awesome for your body.  One day out of the week, if you are being diligent all the other days should not affect you.  Studies have also shown that days like this can provide a needed break from the normal routine and replenish will power.  Also, it can add a sense of novelty once it is over and you get back to being disciplined with your diet.  I like to think that after a week of training my body and eating super clean that I've earned an evening where I can eat pizza and ice cream, and it tastes that much better!  Your human, not a robot.  Give yourself a break and have a cheeseburger once in a while.
Try and balance your diet at 40, 40, 20.  This is 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fats, making sure to include plenty of vegetables and fruits.  Keep it simple!!  Eating clean, natural, balanced, and consistent will give you an edge on and off the mat.  As a general rule, if it rots, it's good for you.  I try and avoid anything that is processed, comes in a box, and has a long shelf life.  That type of food tends to be bad for you, loaded with sodium, sugar, and bad fats.  Be sure to consume at least as many calories as you are going to burn during training or workouts, and be super conscious of everything you put into your mouth.  You will be surprised how well you feel, perform, and recover when you eat the way nature intended.
Breakfast : Hemp Protein, 1 ounce almonds, 1 cup raw rolled oats, 1 cup blueberries, 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk
Snack : 1 apple, 1 tbsp peanut butter
Lunch : 1 can chunk light or solid white albacore tuna with low-calorie mayo, broccoli crowns, 1 cup wild rice
Snack : Small garden salad with light low-calorie dressing
Dinner : 1 grilled chicken breast, 1 cup black eyed peas, steamed or raw carrot, small serving of linguine pasta.

So, what's the goal body optimization for BJJ right?  I'm not an expert, and I haven't tried everything out there, I can only give my opinion based on my own experiences.  There are LOADS of supplements out there.  I try to get most all of what my body needs from natural food sources, but some things are good to take in pill or powder form.  One supplement that I use regularly is a whey protein powder.  I will sometimes blend up a shake in the morning for breakfast with fresh fruit, or I will drink a protein shake post-strength workout.  That is the ONLY supplement I use besides a multi-vitamin.  In the past, I've taken a bone and joint formula, but never noticed a difference so I stopped taking it.  I am going to be switching from whey to hemp protein, and I'll be doing a review of the product and it's effects.  Another supplement I'm going to be taking and reviewing for my blog, is Alpha Brain from ONNIT labs.  The following is how ONNIT describes their Alpha Brain product.......
"The idea behind Alpha BRAIN was to create a fully-balanced nootropic. Our Alpha GPC and Huperzia Serrata contain nutrients that help your body turn up acetylcholine levels full throttle, while other ingredients assist in elevating neurological components vital to remaining calm, focused, and mentally driven. Our Vinpocetine can help the body deliver oxygen and nutrients to the brain, and the combination of neuro-specific antioxidants, led by our proprietary AC-11®, assists your system in clearing away mental fog and free radicals. The result for our thousands of satisfied customers is an extraordinary combination of lucid dreams, mental drive, focus, and mental acuity."
Sounds awesome and I can't wait to try it.
So like I said, I'm not an expert or a professional, this is just my advice and my opinion so feel free to do things however you like.  Don't hesitate to contact me with questions or comments.  Thanks and I hope this has served you.
Nick from SUPERJITS!


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