Have you ever looked at your BJJ idol and asked yourself “how did they do it”. Well I believe we all do this from time to time. In society we tend to idolize champions as being “gifted” or “lucky”. In reality these people did not just stumble into success by accident. The champions of any sport work for it and dedicate themselves to it and BJJ is no exception.
The first thing any great BJJ champion does is of course train. And I don’t mean they train every few days or “when their body feels ready”. These are the people who are always in class and sometimes are even in multiple classes per day. These are the students who are always staying to roll and drill moves and in many cases are the last ones off the mats.
The next thing great BJJ champions do is eat right. Jiu-Jitsu is a rough sport and the only way to truly be able to recover and maintain a healthy weight for competitions is to have a set diet. I’m not saying that you can’t have a little treat here and there, but you have to eat right most the time. By eating right I mean this in a very vague way. Every athlete has a different body that reacts differently to different foods. In general any champion probably eats a lot of natural foods like fruit and vegetables and maintains a solid protein intake. Many champions also take advantage of supplements such as BCAA’s, Amino Acids , Protein, fat burners etc.
The next thing champions do every day (and this may sound funny) is sleep. I know this sounds a bit ridiculous, but it’s so true. Your body does most of its recovering during the night while we sleep. However sleep can be a double edged sword for athletes. We need to sleep more than just a few hours a night otherwise we never get quality rest (REM sleep), but champions also can’t sleep too much. When you begin to sleep more you lose vital hours that could be spent training, watching instructional videos or just studying the art in general. Arnold Schwarzenegger was an advocate of the 6 hour sleep cycle, which I too am fond of, but in the end you have to figure out what works for your own body.
I would like to end this brief article by talking about one final thing champions do every day. Champions don’t quit ! Many times we feel down after a hard day at the gym or after a bad competition especially at white belt, but upper belts lose motivation sometimes as well. Champions however use these as opportunities to grow and learn about themselves. They use it to improve their technique and create a new plan of attack. They don’t quit! They come back stronger!
“Every failure is a step to success. Every detection of what is false directs us towards what is true: every trial exhausts some tempting form of error. ” – William Whewell
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