Irime’s Training Log: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competition Training (Fourth week report)
My Rocky-style preparation for my first ever competition in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is ongoing! So far I am four weeks in.
The division that suits me the best due to my height and build is light weight, under 64 kg. However, at the moment I signed up, I was a little over 64 kg. Hence, the issue of weight had to be dealt with.
The thing is, unlike MMA fighters, one cannot just strip down and dehydrate oneself to the extreme in order to shed 4-5 kgs in a very short time window to make weight before the fight. This is due to two reasons:
- In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions, the weigh ins are done wearing the gi (uniform), which means you have to leave a 2-3 kg allowance before the limit to actually make the required weight.
- The weight ins are usually done moments before the fight, so showing up like a dehydrated (but ripped!) ghost when you are about to engage in the most physically demanding task you’ll ever face is pretty much suicide.
This meant that I had to get my weight down to about 60 kg in order to make weight with the gi on, while also having some room to eat something light and drink in moderation before my fights without worrying too much.
As of today, I am happy to report that I managed to reach my goal! I am now 60 kg stripped to my underwear and under 64 kg wearing the gi. Awesome.
Today is the very last day of the cut and I strategically chose tomorrow as the time for ending it because it is my birthday! I want to eat some cake, tacos and a well-deserved celebratory margarita. Therefore, diet wise my competition plan goes like this:
After my strategically planned birthday carb up, my mission will be to get back into ketosis* (which I will accelerate by doing a carb fast and keeping intense physical activity) and then focus on recovery and maintenance until the competition, monitoring my weigh to make sure I don’t bounce back.
I am currently training four times per week, each session is 90 minutes long, with about 5-7 consecutive rounds of sparring. I never sit a round out. At the end of each class I always make sure to do at least 15 min of Yoga to help recovery – it really makes the difference between waking up the next morning feeling a little beat up, and waking up feeling like you got hit by a truck!
I also go to open mat on the weekend, to catch a couple of hours of more relaxed sparring, ask some questions to my training partners and get some extra-training time in.
Finally, I was lucky to have a couple of opportunities to improve my knowledge leading to the competition. Firstly, I attended a seminar by Karel “Silver Fox” Pravec, where he taught us the secrets of a killer guillotine choke.
Later this month, I will have the opportunity to join the HILTI Rolling Camp with Pedro Duarte. More techniques, huge variety of training partners to choose from and lots of fun!
Strength and conditioning
On top of the BJJ training, I have been doing strength and conditioning sessions, three times per week, consisting of:
- Two calisthenics sessions, where I do bodyweight exercises like different kinds of push-ups, rows, dips, supported chin ups, hanging leg raises, pistol squats, etc.
- One session of weight training using kettlebells, using the workout for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu suggested in the book The Russian Kettlebell Challenge, which I modified and adapted in the following way:
To let my body recover, I always try to schedule one full rest day where I don't train at all, or do very light physical activity.
So far, so good... Now there's only a couple weeks left to make the most out of my training before competition day! Wish me luck...
*Disclaimer: I have been on a ketogenic diet long term, so my body was already adapted to it before the competition prep started. I would advise against starting a keto diet, or any marked carbohydrate restriction, right at the start of training camp!