Common Jiu-Jitsu Fitness Mistakes

To Get Lean Strength Train

A common mistake I see beginning students make is to try and start a new exercise regimen and a diet at the same time. Most of the time, depending on the approach, they experience low energy, cravings and ultimately a crash. They fall off the diet for a few days or weeks, begin to feel better and then step on the scale in a couple of months only to find they gained weight. The cycle continues into obesity.

Eating is a reflection of your inner and outer life. It determines the type of athlete you are now and will determine much of your future improvements. Often eating is wrapped around family rituals and long ingrained habits.

You already know how to lose weight, but being aware is different from knowing and much easier than understanding.

“to know, but not to do is not to know at all.”

Incremental change is key to long-term success. You don’t become a member of the Lardassian Nation over night and not without great effort. There is no magic or science that will make you  get fit without some real effort. At some point you have to take action and get moving.

The basic formula is {calories taken in}-{{calories burned}-{calories required}=a positive or negative number which reflects weight loss or gain.

The type of calorie consumed makes a big difference in how it is burned. Why are you fat? You eat too much for your current body weight and metabolism. You eat the wrong foods—your exercise program if you have one at all is ineffective.

Where to start?

  1. start with strength training. Adding muscle will help you in many areas of your life, and it will in the long run help you stay trim. The rate at which you burn calories just staying alive (metabolic rate) is largely determined by your total amount of muscle mass. If you have more muscle you will burn more calories just sitting on the coach.
  2. Avoid excessive cardio. Cardio alone as a long term weight loss strategy is a mistake. It does burn calories quickly, but it comes with many drawbacks. The main drawback is that it does not build muscle and in many cases it burns muscle. While maintaining a good cardio routine will help you lose weight and then maintain weight, during periods when cardio activities are limited unless you decrease your eating you will begin to gain weight almost immediately. For most people changing their eating habits quickly enough during an injury time is very difficult. For most people, especially runners they will get an injury and put on 10 or more pounds in just a couple of months because their burn rate was dependent on the activity and not their resting metabolic rate.
  3. Make small incremental changes to your diet every 2 weeks. Over the long term, DIEting will hurt your metabolism and make you fatter. The #1 issue with dieting is that it is not sustainable and eventually you will go back to the habits that made you happy. Caloric restriction sends a signal to your body that it should store fat. If you want to lose weight start eating 4 meals a day and keep your calories very steady. If you diet hard your metabolism will slow down and as your old eating habits increases your calorie intact back to pre-diet levels you will begin to gain weight. Your old calorie intake combined with a slower metabolism = weight gain.
  4. Limit your weight loss to 3-4 pounds a week. You see some of the contestants on the biggest loser make dramatic weight losses. Sometimes as high as 10 or more pounds. They are extreme cases. If you weigh 400+ pounds losing 8-10 pounds is not the same as someone who weighs 200 pounds losing 6-8 pounds. In general 3-4 pounds is very sustainable and your body can adjust to it easily without being thrown into starvation mode.

So, get moving on some strength training today!

Good training to you,


Tap More and Improve Your Jiu-Jitsu

Tap More to Improve

Chances are you need to tap more. If you are going weeks or even months without tapping, it is time to get outside of your comfort zone.  Part of Jiu-Jitsu is being brave and constantly dealing with what is uncomfortable and unfamiliar. If you continue to stick with your “safe” game it will be much more difficult for you to progress to the next level. Make it a priority to seek out partners who are better than you; start from the bottom, get into risky positions. Let the roll take turns that are out of your comfort zone just to see where you end up. The more you fail and get tapped the more you will learn and improve.

With partners at your own level or below, let yourself get put into bad positions more often. If you are working with someone you can tap easy, add a challenge to the match. Mentally limit yourself to only one submission such as their left arm or arm bar from left side knee on stomach, etc. Pick a submission you know well and practice the entrances to it. By removing all of the other submissions, you now have a difficult puzzle to solve even if your opponent is a beginner. Your plan is only as good as the 1st few moments of the match until your opponent does not follow your plan.

Even for accomplished players, maneuvering your partner into the right position and setting up the exact submission you planned will not be easy. You will find yourself thinking more in strategic terms than just opportunistic terms—setting up the next series in order to lead them into position(s) you need for your planned submission. Concentrate on controlling the positions and don’t force it. Every match has a natural rhythm and your goal is to direct it like an orchestra. You cannot exert exact control on it but you can influence the tempo.

I don’t advise you tell your partner what you are doing because they may feel insulted or just not believe you. Unless you submit them 2-3 times with the same sequence. You can keep your training thoughts to yourself and still have an interesting and challenging roll. It just takes some forethought.

Tap more to improve.

I would love to hear how it works out for you. Drop me a note at

Good training to you,

Top 10 Signs you are a Member of the Jiu-Jitsu Nation

10. Your wife/girl friend kept you from choking the guy in front of you at a live MMA Show who kept yelling, “Stop trying to screw each other on the mat and stand up and fight like men!”

9. You day dreamed about ambushing your boss with a rear naked choke and then convincing him he just fainted and you were there to help.

8. You have spent a significant amount of time explaining why you have bruise hand prints on both biceps.

7. You turn the channel whenever boxing comes on because you know you can kick the crap out of any boxer.

6.   People at work stopped asking you why you have a black eye/swollen nose/chipped tooth and/or cauliflower ear.

5.  You have actually laughed with a guy telling a story about how he was accidentally choked out and wet himself.

4.  You can’t understand what your wife/girl friend is talking about when she says you STINK after No-Gi class in July

3. You fervently believe Fight Club and 300 are the two greatest movies of all time and anyone who claims they don’t like them is subject to deportation to—Canada.

2.  You have had one of your best friends kick the crap out of you and then thanked him for a “good roll.”

1. You don’t believe wearing a Tap Out T-Shirt and fight shorts makes you a fighter.