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Anton Emery 06-24-2008 10:16 PM

Eating and grappling/MMA
I am wondering what peoples' diets are like here who do a good deal of BJJ/grappling or MMA. I have been eating pretty much unmeasured Paleo for the last month or so, with occasional cheats on the weekends. My grappling performance really has not been so good lately, though it could be a variety of factors.

From my understanding grappling/MMA largely uses the glycotic energy system, though the ATP and oxidative systems are also used to some extent. So do we need more carbs than someone who is strictly O-lifting or Crossfitting? Should they be only Paleo approved carbs like sweet potatoes?

I seem to have no energy on the mat lately, and i think i need to start logging my diet so i can figure out what is going on. Part of it could be because i am not rolling as much as i used to. Lately its been 2 maybe 3 times a week as opposed to 4-5 times. I have been doing Crossfit 3 times a week in addition to grappling. I have plenty of energy for the Crossfit workouts, but for me i think at least for grappling no amount of conditioning replaces being on the mat.

Anyways, i would be interested to hear what others have to say about their eating. Strict Paleo, Zone, or buffet free for all?


michael craddock 06-25-2008 05:03 AM

I hear you bro... I started eating a Keto diet back in Jan, and had no problem training Muay Thai, but BJJ destroyed me...I have found what works best for me(at least for now) is Paleo with a few weekend cheats. Last night for example I rolled but had 8oz coconut milk, an apple and a small chicken breast 1.5 hours prior. I had plenty of gas in my tank(coconut milk has an insane amount of calories) only thing was it was over 100 degrees were we train so the heat fatigued us quick(my gi must've weighed 30 lbs when I left). I hope this help I have struggled with the right combination of foods for training, guess just try and see what happens, get it dialed in though before a tournament/ or fight.

Mark Bennett 06-25-2008 05:18 AM

Hi Anton,

I train a lot of BJJ and some MMA and have found that I just don't get enough energy from Strict Paleo or similar (even ramping up the fat and adding sweet potatoes etc). I have recently added some organic oats to my diet about 1 hour after training and have seen a major improvement in recovery and performance. I believe that it's about getting the balance right between health and performance. Are the oats the best food for my health? In my opinion no, but they certainly help with my performance, and performance certainly does not equate to health. A trade off if you like. Others may tell you that they can roll 7 days a week just fine on paleo/zone etc but we are all individuals so you will need to experiment some to find what works best for you. Black Box if you like. You also need to consider other factors i.e. overtraining etc as grappling just takes so much out of you in my opinion.

Hope this helps.


Derek Simonds 06-25-2008 09:24 AM

I have been on a strict zone diet prepping for a tourney. I posted in my log this morning that I am just exhausted. I have however already hit my target weight with 18 days to go. Before you start adding in CHO have you tried upping the fat intake. That is what I am going to tinker with over the next couple of days.

The biggest thing that I have done pre-grappling to change my performance is to start sipping a Gatorade (loaded with sugar and CHO I know, sometimes I drink a G2 depending on how I feel) at 4:00 PM on the days I train in the evenings. That has helped me enormously make it through 2 classes and grappling. It has been quite hot here in FL so I am totally with you on the sweat deal.

Immediately after training I stop at a 7/11 and grab a 16 OZ chocolate milk and a zone bar. I will eat and drink those along with a 32 oz water on the drive home. Once I am home I will eat an additional meal depending on the way I feel.

Hope this helps. I don't know what part of the country you are in but working out in the heat will sap all the energy out of you no matter what you ate or how often you have trained, especially if it has just recently gotten very hot.

Anton Emery 06-25-2008 11:24 AM

I am in Oregon but am from Florida, so i can understand how hot it gets there for you, especially with the gi.

Thanks for the info everyone. I may look at adding in some more whole, unprocessed carbs to my diet.


Chuck Kechter 06-25-2008 11:26 AM

Definitely journal your food... You might be surprised what, and how much you are, or aren't ingesting.

And, anecdotally, not one of the athletes I train/work with has done well on a ketogenic "diet," especially during more intense grappling cycles.

Mike ODonnell 06-25-2008 11:39 AM

Take a day or two off from training and go eat pizza and beer....it may be just what the body needs....and I'm serious too...

Anton Emery 06-25-2008 03:14 PM

mmm, pizza and beer. That might just be on the menu for tonight.


Mike ODonnell 06-25-2008 05:48 PM


Originally Posted by Anton Emery (Post 33324)
mmm, pizza and beer. That might just be on the menu for tonight.

Hell....I'll join you....

Eat meat, fat, veggies, fruits and other whole foods 80% of the time....keep up some exercise daily.....get sleep daily....reduce stress....and then eat whatever life has to offer the other 20%....soon you will just be able to listen to you body and it will tell you what it needs.....

Sounds like a good life long plan for performance, health and sanity....

Yael Grauer 06-25-2008 10:22 PM

Anton, when's the last time you took a rest week? Just wondering.

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