How To Eat Better For Jiu-Jitsu

A big part of the GB Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle is following a nutritious diet of clean, natural foods to maximize our performance and recovery on the mats.
This week GB Blog talks with Prof. Pshemek – a Gracie Barra black belt who trains out of GB HQ in Irvine and a certified personal fitness trainer.
Prof. Pshemek has helped hundreds of fitness clients reach their goals and has extensive knowledge of nutrition for best performance.
GB: There is a lot of conflicting information out there on how to eat healthy (ex. Mostly plant-based diet vs. Keto diet). Can you share your philosophy on how to eat better to maximize energy and recovery for Jiu-Jitsu?
Prof. Pshemek: My philosophy on healthy eating is a well-balanced diet. That means healthy carbs combined with animal-based proteins and fresh veggies with fruits.
By healthy carbs I mean organic potatoes, brown or wild rice, and quinoa. My favorite source of animal protein is eggs, wild fish including halibut, salmon, cod, and Chilean Seabass, poultry including chicken and turkey and red meat including grass-fed beef and pork.
When it comes to veggies I love onions with heavy greens like spinach, broccoli, arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.
I am not too crazy about fruits although I eat bananas, apples, oranges, and all berries.
Let’s not forget about one of the most important ingredients in any diet probiotics, yogurt, sauerkraut, half-sour cucumbers, and kefir.
As far as the main debate between animal-based diet and plant-based diet I’d definitely lean more towards animal-based diets: Paleo, Keto, and even Carnivore diet.
As you can see I stay away from sugar, wheat-based products like bread, pastries, and processed carbs. I forgot to mention about cheese, I think feta cheese and cottage cheese is ok. Aged cheese like Swiss in small amounts is ok.
To summarize my intro I think animal-based products are much more nutritionally dense and much more readily bioavailable for a BJJ athlete than plant-based products. I am not a big fan of vegetarian or vegan diets at all.
GB: Most jiu-jitsu students know that they should eat better, but sometimes have a difficult time sticking to their plan.
Do you have any practical tips (ex. Preparing meals in advance, convenient food choices) that will help people eat healthier?
Prof. Pshemek: Preparing your own food is the best way to eat healthy on daily basis.
I think this is a big part of being dedicated to your goals.
Paleo breakfast: 3 slices of bacon scrambled with 3 eggs with added mushrooms, onions, and spinach. I like to sauté rather than frying, use fat from the bacon, and maybe a bit of ghee if needed. Have some black coffee and two glasses of water and you are good to hit the day.
Lunch: chicken breast with brown rice with arugula, onion, and sauerkraut with olive oil on top. That has to be prepared a day before.
Dinner: Steak with salad and one glass of wine for guys over 50 lol…
Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day.
GB: Can you give us a specific example of what a nutritious meal might look like for a hard training jiu-jitsu athlete? Why is this meal is a good choice?
Prof. Pshemek: The most nutritious meal for BJJ athlete would be a piece of wild fish with some healthy carbs ( quinoa, brown rice, or organic potatoes) and greens ( broccoli, spinach arugula, or kale )
GB: What is your best advice for a competitor who may be looking to lose a few kilos to make weight for a BJJ tournament in 4 to 6 weeks’ time?
Prof. Pshemek: If you compete and want to lose a few pounds your diet plan must be adjusted.
1. Start with portion size and control.
2. Decrease carbs and sugars.
3. Monitor levels of energy during rolling time. If you feel weak or tired you need to increase carbs providing your protein intake is correct 0.8g per kilo of body weight.
4. The day before the competition and on the day of the actual competition use a little bit more salt on your meals to prevent loss of minerals nutrients.
If you are interested in learning more about Prof. Pshemek’s approach to fitness and nutrition for Jiu-Jitsu, check out his website or contact through email