What does it take to win? Over the past year I have been training & dedicating my life to jiu jitsu. I have thought about it over & over again, what was I missing to become the best? About a week ago, my wife & I were sitting at dinner and talking when she let me in on what I was missing to reach my goals. She had mentioned that I was preparing myself right, I was training hard & dedicating myself to my goal but was not eating right or fueling my body properly. She went on to tell me that elite athletes or champions do not allow themselves to eat the way I eat. She then quoted what GSP (George St. Pierre) had stated on his UFC Prime Time show. Something like, “If you want your body to preform like an F1 race car you must fuel it with the best gas, because if not, it will break down.”
Here is what I am doing right, during my jiu jitsu off season, I still train daily. My week involves multiple jiu jitsu trainings including strength training with a specialist. I only train jiu jitsu once a day; this allows my body the proper amount of time to recover & to stay healthy. Also, in my off season I use a lot of other activities to keep me healthy like rock climbing, running, and playing golf, which allow my body to train in different ways.
I normally begin to prepare for a tournament about 2 months in advance. This allows me the right amount of time to change up my diet, lose any extra weight and prepare mentally & physically. I also begin adding more jiu jitsu trainings per day, and begin to work out on my own with daily runs, weight lifting, and TRX training. During the week, I also allow time for strength & conditioning trainings twice a week. Little did I know, I was wasting all the hard work my coaches & wife have put into helping me reach my goals because I was eating poorly.
So what am I doing wrong? My nutrition is totally wrong for someone who wants to become World Champion or who wants to be considered an elite athlete. Throughout my off seasons, I don’t pay much attention to my calorie or nutritional intake. This becomes particularly apparent when I step on the scale & find myself at 15-20 pounds over my fight weight only 3 weeks after my tournament. If I paid more careful attention to what I was consuming, this would not happen. I have learned that cutting weight or dieting ads a great deal of stress to both mind & body. Many people do not realize that this can & will leave you unfocused for your tournament matches.
To all you jiu jitsu competitors or combat athletes out there, I highly recommend paying close attention to your nutrition at all times, even during the off season. You can put in time at the gym or on the mats but without proper nutrition, you are only hurting yourself & lessening your chances to reach your goals. And of course, nutrition is not only important for us athletes but everyone out there.