Nutrition Tips Jiu Jitsu

How to Eat Before & After Jiu Jitsu

It Matters How You Eat Before and After Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

If there’s one thing I see a LOT between my time on the mat and coaching jiu-jitsu – it’s people having wack nutrition that causes them to leave performance AND gains on the table.

Of course, you gotta be eating enough calories over the course of the day.

But dialing in how you eat before, during, and after training can help you:

  • have more energy during workouts
  • improve focus and reaction time
  • speed up recovery from workouts
  • gain and maintain muscle mass
  • stay hydrated, so you can smash on the mat and also not cramp up

How To Eat – Before Jiu-Jitsu

1-3 Hours Before Training:

  • higher carb (~0.25g/lb bodyweight)
  • moderate protein (~25-40 grams)
  • try to limit fat & fiber
  • Fluids and electrolytes (if you sweat a lot)
  • If you eat a bigger meal – try to give yourself more time before going to class

Carbs: will help provide energy for training, especially high-intensity sparring.

Ex: rice, potatoes, bagels, bread, pasta, fruit

Protein: will help build and preserve muscle mass during training, as well as support your recovery between sessions.

Ex: chicken, lean beef, eggs, turkey, shrimp

Water: don’t be a crusty cactus. Get in a minimum of ~15-20oz of water so you don’t cramp yourself into a submission.

Electrolytes: this is optional and will vary based on how much you sweat, but consider getting in ~250-1000mg sodium.

  • I like LMNT or Liquid IV brand electrolytes. (Liquid IV has carbs too)

Food Ideas Before Jiu-Jitsu:

  • Chicken + rice
  • Lean steak + potatoes
  • Ground turkey or beef + pasta
  • Greek yogurt, oatmeal, fruit, honey
  • Fruit smoothie with protein powder
  • Sandwich or bagel with deli meat
  • Protein shake + cereal or granola
  • Protein bar + any fruit

What To Eat – During Jiu-Jitsu

During Training:

  • lots of fluids and electrolytes
  • For sessions over 90 minutes, you could eat easy-to-digest carbs and some protein for a quick energy boost

Water + Electrolytes: 15-20oz per hour of training with 250-1000mg sodium to replace lost electrolytes.

Carbs: as needed, but I recommend 25-45g per hour. Ex: applesauce, fruit squeeze packs, fresh fruit, crackers, cereal, cereal bars, rice cakes, gummy candy, or carb powders like dextrose or cyclic dextrin.

Protein: 10-15g per hour of training over 90 minutes. Ex: protein powder mixed with water, pre-made protein shakes, protein bars.

What To Eat – After Jiu-Jitsu

After Training: sometimes you won’t feel hungry. Spend a little time cooling down and rehydrating and your appetite should return.

When you feel comfortable eating, aim for:

  • a big meal to support recovery
  • lots of protein and carbs
  • fats (avocado, olive oil, fattier meats, etc)
  • fiber from fruits and vegetables

Gonna be more than 2 hours before you can eat?

  • have a protein shake or protein bar
  • bonus points if you can get in some carbs

After Jiu-Jitsu Meal Ideas:

  • Eggs, chicken sausage, bagel, berries
  • Pork tenderloin, potatoes, EVOO, broccoli
  • Steak, stirfry noodles, stirfry veggies
  • Grilled shrimp, rice, avocado, bell peppers

Need More Help?

Hola, I’m Alex Maclin!

I’m a Nutrition Coach, Jiu-Jitsu (and DuoLingo) Addict, Weightlifter, and Video Game Connoisseur.

I love working with fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes, weightlifters, and anyone who wants to get stronger and feel/perform their best.

Follow Me: @alexqmaclin
Reach out at:

My team and I provide 1:1 nutrition coaching. Apply for a free nutrition consultation with us.

LCK and Bryan from Paragon Training Methods

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