bjj for weight loss
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Losing weight is a major reason many people start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But is good BJJ for weight loss?

The answer is yes. BJJ can be an excellent method to help you reach your weight loss goals.

In this article, we break down the top ways to maximize the fat burning effects of BJJ.

Weight loss 101: how to lose weight with BJJ

Losing weight is mathematically simple. You need to eat fewer calories than you burn.

While there are many ways to achieve this, including methods such as the Paleo diet, keto, fasting, and good old calorie counting, the process is always the same: your body will burn stored fat if you eat fewer calories than you burn in a given time period.

The hard numbers are as follows: burning a pound of fat requires you a 3,500 calorie deficit. As such, if you are in a 500 calorie deficit every day, you would burn a full pound of fat each week.

You have two sides of the equation. You can eat less, or you can burn more. In general, increasing physical activity combined with a moderate caloric restriction is the most effective way to lose weight.

Attacking both sides of the equation allow you to maximize your overall caloric deficit.

BJJ primarily targets the ‘burn more’ side of the equation, which can put you in a caloric deficit on its own, depending on how much you naturally tend to eat.

How many calories does BJJ burn?

The calorie burn of BJJ depends on the intensity of your training and the duration. The harder you drill or roll, the more calories you burn. The same goes for training for longer periods or shorter periods.

An average 1.5 hour class including warmups, drilling, and live rolling will burn between 500 and 1,000 calories, depending on the previously mentioned factors.

Tips to maximize your weight loss in BJJ

The following tips can help you maximize your overall weight loss through BJJ training.

Increase the intensity of your drilling

Many BJJ classes do not involve drilling with any intensity. Of course, this is needed as you are learning technique.

However, once you have a few paths solidified such as a takedown, guard pass, side control transition, and submission, you can drill it back and forth with a partner at a more realistic pace.

This will increase the amount of calories you burn while also improving your technique, but not increase your injury risk compared to an all-out competition roll.

Eat protein after training

Increasing your protein consumption is key to avoiding muscle loss when you are in a caloric deficit. Adding a high protein meal after BJJ training, or even just a protein shake, is a good way to get more protein and satiate your hunger after some hard training. This extra protein will help you avoid muscle loss and keep you full, thus allowing you to stay in your deficit.

Don’t eat more to compensate for BJJ

Its tempting to overeat after practice.

You finish some hard training, and you feel you deserve a big, rich meal as a reward.

While there is nothing wrong with eating a feast here and there, if your goal is weight loss, avoid the temptation to eat massive amounts of food after practice.

Remember, you probably only burned between 500 and 1,000 calories during training, so eating a 2,000 calorie meal automatically cancels all of that out.

Add weight training to your routine

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Weight training can help boost your fat loss.

Adding some weight training to your BJJ routine can help you gain some muscle, burn more calories, and keep you active off the mats.

The extra muscle will also help you burn more calories naturally throughout the day.

Sign up for a competition

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Signing up for a tournament gives you a concrete weight loss goal and deadline. Source: @pavicichportraits

This may be the most controversial tip on our list, and it is certainly subjective.

Nevertheless, signing up for a competition and committing to a weight class that’s lighter than you currently walk around gives you an external weight loss goal as well as a deadline for actually reaching your goals.

Losing weight with BJJ: the bottom line

Regardless of your personal reasons for losing weight, BJJ is a great way to get you closer to your weight loss goals.

The above tips can help you maximize your weight loss with BJJ.

Just remember, no matter what you have to eat less than you burn!

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Jordan is a BJJ purple belt, strength and fitness coach, and freelance writer. He trains BJJ at 10th Planet Tucson. When not rolling or lifting weights, he can be found writing, training clients, or aggressively foam rolling. Follow Jordan on Instagram @jiujitsu.lifts