Ketosis and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

2013-12-19 20.20.57

Took a 2+ hour train ride from Milan to Venice today and I passed part of the time by listening to podcasts.  Episode 209 from Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution caught my attention because he talked about his experience with BJJ and ketosis.  It said things along the lines of:

  • He tried a ketosis experiment for 12 weeks
  • Discovered he could chug along just fine in BJJ, but when he needed explosiveness, it just wasn’t there for him
  • He wasn’t as tired at the end of training sessions, but just couldn’t tap into the next level when he needed.

This was sort of similar to my experience in that I felt like I could flow train and do drills just fine, but when it came down to live training, going at max strength, I was just too gassed.

Since competition is something I want to explore in the future, I don’t think going keto would be optimal.  It may be good during the training period… but for the week leading up to the competition and the competition itself, it looks like having full glycogen stores will be needed.

8 Responses to Ketosis and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

  1. mike says:

    Figure out a way to measure and quantify it. Robb’s comments sound so “subjective”. Although my weight loss has been nearly nill on the first session of Carb Nite, I did notice something. Once a week a do a one set to failure workout with my trainer, very intense, very short. 5-8 reps max, large combo movements. Normally I am feeling wiped out and nearly hypoglycemic when it’s over. The last two workouts while eating ultra low carb, I leave there refreshed??? It’s crazy the difference I feel. By the way, if Robb said it you have to say “jitz” or “jitz type gig”.

  2. Dale says:

    I wonder if Phinney has anything to say about “explosiveness” in his exploration of VLC performance. I recall his test subjects were doing biking (so more of an endurance effort and less explosive energy required)?

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      I’ve read both art of low carb books… And everything in there was about running and biking.

      No mention of powerlifting… Weightlifting… Basketball, mma, etc

    • mike says:

      I believe Volek, Phinney, Attia and others have proven that for endurance sports, burning fat is king. Some are also using Superstarch which is an extremely slow releasing carb that does not cause insulin and blood sugar to rise. A recent Western States 100 miler was won by a low carber as well.

      Peter Attia and others have experimented with the performance issues. There is a video of Attia doing tire rolls during his workout on youtube. He seems to do ok, even while being ketotic. I believe his performance took a 5% hit in the top end, which he was satisfied with. He considered the trade off worth it.

      Muscle glycogen is used very sparingly once keto adapted. However, if your a sprinter or performaing a, explosive sport, you will need to use carbs. Of course, that does not mean you need to eat carbs 24/7. You time the release by eating the day before or the day of. Keifer actually mentioned even drinking soda, for some activities. Stating its just a combination of fructose and glucose that’s needed.

  3. Mike says:

    Train low race high. Training low carb develops your fat burning capacity. Throwing in some starch the night before an event, and glucose the day of, can give you a boost in intensity when it counts.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Yes. I believe this to be the most optimal way to do things and is what I’m trying to practice.

      • Jeremiah says:

        I like this idea. I’ve been keto for a few months and I love it for the most part. I train bjj 4-5 days a week and at 34 years old, it can take a toll on me. I found the diet has helped me sleep, kept my energy steady and my weight has been consistent to where I’d like it. I have a competition coming up next month and I had been thinking about this subject. I’m going to try the high starch dinner and glucose in the morning before a comp training to see how I feel…Thanks for the article and stimulating the conversation!

        • BJJ Caveman says:

          Thats a great plan. Train low, compete high.

          Train low carb, build up the fat burning machinery, then a day or two before the competition, throw down a bunch of carbs to replenish your glycogen stores. That way when you compete you’ll have access to glycogen for the more explosive elements and fat for the more grind it out endurance components!

          Best of luck. Dominate the competition.

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