Ten Essential Supplements for Jiu-Jitsu Fighters

Ever since I began my training in the martial arts I’ve been looking for ways to help my body heal faster, become stronger and perform at its best. This has led me to study strength training, conditioning and in particular, nutrition & supplementation. In this article I discuss which supplements for jiu-jitsu I take.

Why should I take supplements?

A Jiu-jitsoka puts his body through much more stress than the average individual and is more likely to have deficiencies. We all know of the physical benefits of our training but sometimes we neglect to assess the physical costs. I’ve said it before – Jiu-Jitsu is hard on the body. The amount of vitamins and minerals lost through perspiration and the general taxation on our systems means that we need far more nutrition than the average individual to replenish our reserves and contribute to the repair and growth of our bodies’ tissues.

Where do I get them from?

I get all my stuff from iherb.com because they have good prices and the fastest delivery times. They are not as flashy as some of their competitors, but they are highly professional and efficient. They also deliver worldwide and their shipping rates are very low.

Just one thing – if you do decide to purchase anything from them I’d really appreciate it if you’d put in the following coupon code: OLA389 when you order. You’ll get an instant $5 discount and it’ll also earn me a small commission which I can put towards the running costs of the Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood website.

Which ones should I take?

Below I have listed the 10 products which I have found give me the biggest bang for my buck. Most of them have been researched and documented as effective. Although it’s impossible to be completely objective, I have found them to work well for me and take many of them on a daily basis.

1. Creatine

If you train hard you need to be on creatine. Not only will it help you build muscle, it’ll also protect your heart. Forget all the negative opinions you hear about it – it’s one of the safest, most effective and well-researched supplements on the market. Basically, creatine allows your muscles to contract harder, and for longer. It’s pretty obvious that even a small increase in the contractile force of your muscles might be the difference between finishing an opponent with a choke or being able to crank out the last few reps in your conditioningroutine.

There are several types of creatine available, including monohydrate and ethyl esther. I find monohydrate works just fine – and I use this product because I found capsules are easier to take than powdered versions.

Using supplements has helped me maintain low body fat throughout my jiu-jitsu career

2. Omega-3’s

Research has shown that diets rich in Omega-3 fats are associated with superior heart, brain and circulatory health – all systems which you need functioning optimally for for decent performance on the mat. I’ve noticed that it has a generalized anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which is beneficial for the jiu-jitsoka in hard training. I also find fish oil helps keep my joints and skin in good shape.

Keep in mind that a lot of low grade Omega-3 supplements can be rancid or contain pcb’s, so always research the product you intend to purchase. I’ve used several good brands over the years and this is the best one I’ve found.

3. Vitamin C

This is truly a super nutrient – large doses have been shown to improve immune function and certain studies claim it even reduces the effects of stress. As I mentioned before, bjj training breaks down the body a lot. Vitamin C can help with the repair of the tissues damaged during training which can alleviate the symptoms of overtraining.

I use this product because it includes several bioflavinoids that are shown to help with absorption.

4. Vitamin D3

When you’re sick it means you can’t train. Dojo mats and training partners expose you to far higher amounts of germs and bacteria than the average person ever experiences, so it’s vital that your immune system is as strong as it can be. Vitamin D3 is plays a major role in keeping your immune system healthy. Researchers are continually reporting that low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with one disease after another. Most of us (especially those of us that don’t get enough natural sunlight on our skin) are deficient.

You can easily solve this by taking one of these capsules per day.

5. Green Foods

“Green Foods” is a general term which refers to products that are made from extracts of algae, fruit, vegetables and other plants. They serve to alkalize, energize and nourish the body’s cells along with balancing the body’s pH level eliminate toxins such as heavy metals, which can weaken our tissues and lead to disease over time. The phyto-nutrients found in green foods are full of anti-oxidants and plant-based vitamins and minerals. They help to detoxify and cleanse the body

Using this supplement is the nutritional equivalent of eating many servings of fruits and vegetables that you otherwise might not be able to fit into your diet:

6. B-Vitamins

B-Vitamins do a wide range of important things in your body, from helping your cells grow properly to metabolising fat, carbs and protein into energy. I notice a marked improvement in my energy levels when I’m taking a good B-Complex supplements, which comes in handy when I’m training hard.

The B-vitamins, like Vitamin C, are water-soluble, and are not stored in the body. This means that they are required daily to ensure the body maintains healthy levels. Because an insufficiency in one B vitamin typically means a deficiency in another, it is vital the B vitamins be taken together.

This is the B-Complex product I’ve had the most success with.

7. Digestive Enzymes

Health starts and ends in the gut. If you are not processing your food properly you can run the risk of being malnourished. Adding digestive enzymes to your meals helps you break down and process your food much more effectively, allowing you to absorb as many of the nutrients as possible. Since I’ve added enzymes to my diet, I’ve lost fat, improved my digestion and just experienced an overall feeling of well-being.

This product has a good mixture or ingredients and is well-priced too.

8. Green Tea Extract

Green Tea is one of the best fat-burners I’ve found – it’s perfect for the guy who wants to drop a few pounds so that he can be a bit more agile on the mat. Also, a recentstudy showed that the antioxidants in green tea can offset the oxidative stress induced by strenuous workouts (i.e. jiu-jitsu). This means quicker recovery from physical exertion and diminished free-radical damage incurred during training.

This product is decaffeinated so it comes without any of the ‘jittery feeling’ that ephedra-based thermogenics and regular green tea supplements can cause.

9. Hyaluronic Acid

You guys all know how tough rolling can be on the joints. There were times when my fingers and knees ached so much I thought I was going to have to quit the sport. Then I found Hyaluronic Acid. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are good for your joints, but I have found this to be a FAR more effective supplement for the health of my connective tissue. Hyaluronic Acid is a key component of cartilage and synovial fluid – this means it’s not only can it help repair your joints, but that it also keeps then working smoothly. Highly recommended.

10. Nootropics

Ever have trouble remembering your techniques? A Nootropic supplement might help. Also referred to as ‘smart drugs’ or ‘memory enhancers’, nootropics work by altering the availability of the brain’s supply of neurochemicals (neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones), by improving the brain’s oxygen supply or stimulating nerve growth. This can result in clearer thinking and better memory.

I use this product because it provides a good combination of several effective nootropics combined with an energising pre-training formula

I hope you enjoyed the article.  If you do get decide to get some supplements, please let me know what benefits you notice in your health and your jiu-jitsu performance.

If you enjoyed this article you’ll love my new book, ‘The Black Belt Blueprint‘ – a compilation of all the best articles on the site plus all-new material, packaged to form a comprehensive guide to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Black Belt Blueprint

 

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Comments

  1. Pedro Fonseca says

    Hi There Nick,

    As always thanks for the advice, I just have one question, you mention that you felt benefits in connective tissue performance with Hyaluronic Acid, does that include tendons and ligaments?
    I’m a heavy guy (97 Kg around 213 lbs) although with a lot of fat and still out of shape after 10 years of being lazy I have a little bit of strength, but I think my tendons are particularly weak, I’ve been getting lesions very easily.
    Thanks for the time to read this.

    • says

      It’s my understanding that HA affects all aspects of connective tissue, including tendons and ligaments, but I would suggest you research it further. One thing I know for certain is that my joints have never felt better.

  2. says

    One supplement that is good for jiu jitsu fighters is arginine. I have been taking it at night now on nights that I train and I always wake up feeling great in the morning. A dosage of 10g or more before you go to sleep has shown to increase growth hormone production. It definitely helps me recover from training sessions twice as fast, I suggest it to anyone doing any sort of combat sport.

  3. George says

    Anybody know about this 6 amino acid combination… it is a hexapeptide that is supposed to help your body release growth hormone.
    GHRP-6 …just curious if anyone has tried it?

  4. says

    This is an ultimate selling and marketing point for these companies.

    Are you working for the companies that supply this stuff? Don’t know what to believe these days.

    Caveman diet, all natural does me fine..

    • says

      No I’m not working for these companies. As I clearly stated in the article, I receive a small commission from iherb.com when someone purchases from the site using my code.

      I believe in supplementation and have seen benefits from my own experiences with it. Over the years I have spent a great deal of time and money creating and maintaining jiujitsubrotherhood.com and I don’t see a problem with me earning a small income from an informative article. Thanks for reading.

  5. Mike says

    Thanks for the tips, Nicolas.
    Do you take all of the supplements, 1x per day, or some just on days you train? Can you provide a breakdown of the frequency you take each one? Thanks!

  6. says

    Hey, I’ve been doing a ton of research on supplements and nootropics that will help me improve my BJJ game. This is a great list.

    Theanine, one of the nutrients in green tea, is especially interesting, not just for its anti-oxidative effects, but for the nootropic effects it has as well. Did a pretty extensive write-up on it here – http://wp.me/p2fVMu-W

  7. says

    Hi Nick

    My question for you is if protein, in general, helps you recover from hard training (and allow you to train harder and longer). If so, what kind of protein do you recommend I should take?

    Thanks.
    Antonio

    • says

      Hey buddy, yes I do, I cycle all supplements. I can’t pretend I use a scientific method – I just go by instinct. For example, if something runs out then I might take a week or two before ordering some more.

  8. Nick Sapsead says

    Hey Nic,
    Wondering what sort of dosage you take of Creatine and at what intervals. Most bottles say pre and post workout but I have friends to take the full amount prior to a work out (gym workout that is).

    Do you take it before a class, how long before, etc.

    Thanks in advance,
    Nick

    • says

      Hey buddy, I just take the standard dosage of 5 grams (a teaspoon) in a big glass of water when I wake up in the morning. I don’t think you need more that. The pills are even easier to take.

      • Nick Sapsead says

        Thanks, I will look to get some in the near future I think. Appreciate the feedback, sorry for my delay in responding.

  9. says

    Hello Nic,

    Thank you for this great article! I needed some additional considerations and guidance to take my joints further or faster than the power of yoga alone can heal me up. Also I listen to that film by Stuart Cooper Films on youtube “Spirit of Jui Jitsu” every day, very motivational for a new white belt. I have just taken the opportunity (rather aggressively) to go from part time for fun instructor to full time 3 classes a day mon-fri! Yoga and calisthenics are amazing and I wouldn’t have thought I’d be rolling with and able to pick up 200lb plus guys, as a 185 5′ 7” guy myself. I have recovered and been hurt so many times over, but yoga brings me back so much faster than sitting it out. However with all my classes now and BJJ, my joints (especially with joint hyper mobility) need some extra help. This article is going to be a great base for research in what works for me, as I currently operate on just multi vitamins and no other supplements.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and advice, I can relate as my gift to teach has also been rekindled!

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