BJJ and Keto

(Julian Webber) #1

Yes, it can be done!

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a form of submission grappling that is extremely addictive to those that take the plunge. I’ve been practising on and off for twelve years, and have often had a forced hiatus due to inflammation of the forearms, similar to tennis or golfers elbow.

This year I have managed this injury in conjunction with Keto and have found it much less severe. I attribute this to the reduction to systemic inflammation that comes with Keto.

I’m also a practitioner of IF, and really enjoy rolling in a fasted state.

Is there anyone else out there dabbling with BJJ and Keto?


I have done BJJ for the past year, have had to take some time of due to injuries ( wrist, shoulder and knee) and work, nevertheless hope to get back to it FAST!!

Your on to something about faster recovery from injuries with keto, also fish oil! Is awesome for inflammation :blush:


(Joel Abdul) #3

Sweet. Yeah, I play Judo a couple days a week. Glad you brought this up. I’m always curious what others find out as far as nutrition.

I IF as well. Usually on Judo days I try to get in more calories, but to be honest, not sure if it matters much. Next week debate if I should try a 24 hour fast on/24 hour fast off. It would mean my Wednesday/Judo day would also be a fast day.

We have a Sensei on Weds that absolutely crushes us…I love it. Lol

What do you do for nutrition? Do you try to incorporate more carbs or protein on traing days?

(Julian Webber) #4

I was really inspired by the ‘Carnivore’ episode, and for the last month have been really tightening down the carbs. I aim to eat zero, but this isn’t really practical.

So, I’ll usually train at 6am. Supplement throughout the day with salt water and black coffee, and IF until four or five in the afternoon, by then I’m ravenous. Fatty meat or cheese to break the fast, with ‘dinner’ about 7pm.

No carbing up, no pretrainer nor creatine. Just whole food. I need to drop about 15kg by late April for a tournament, so I’m going pretty hard on the diet side.

(Julian Webber) #5

Yep, fish oil for sure. I take one that is higher in DHEA. And I’ve gotten into salting my water with pink salt. We’re mid summer here in Australia, and I’m finding that smashing the electrolytes really helps.

(Joel Abdul) #6

@SkyCaptain cool bro! Good luck and keep me posted on your progress. I’m doing the same, I’ve really lowered my carbs. A complete opposite from making sure I had at least 80-100g before hard training days the my old way of thinking.

What brand of fish oil do you take?

(Julian Webber) #7

I don’t have it with me now, but I’m pretty sure it’s the Blackmores 4xDHEA supplement. It’s not too bad, relatively affordable and tastes like nothing.

I take potassium citrate as well. I heard on an early podcast that this salt promoted the kidneys to release uric acid, and hence to reduce he risk of four and kidney stones.

(Erin Macfarland ) #8

Submission grappling…sounds like a rated R post. :joy:

(Erin Macfarland ) #9

I’m a runner and lift weights and do experience a drop in my explosive power after fasting until later in the day. If I do a workout after noon or so, I have a decrease in performance and start to get pretty hungry. I am very lean though so my appetite is much higher than someone who has some body fat. Men can also get away with a lot more than women too, as far as workouts while fasted.

(Joel Abdul) #10

@Emacfarland thanks for your insight. I hear that as well. Lately I’ve been doing 2 24 hour fast a week, and my energy is amazing on those days. But…I usually pick the 2 days where I don’t have much going on except work (maybe light cardio).

Judo on Wednesday is at 6pm. So I would be breaking my fast prior. Usually I eat around 4pm but know way would I try to consume 2000+ cal to make up for an all day feeding window.

Idk, we’ll see. I’ll post my thoughts and if it was a fail or success here after.

(Julian Webber) #11

Cool Bro, please do.

(Malcolm Groves) #12

I train Hapkido 3 times a week, always either on an IF day and sometimes during extended fasts. On IF days I eat after training. During an extended fast, no meal after class obviously. Been training fasted for more than a year.

Only really problem I had was early on I would get “brownouts”, moments of low energy during training. They would pass after a few minutes. Eventually figured it out from a post from @richard that there is an upper limit on how much energy you can pull out of a fat cell at any point of time, and as your body fat goes down, you start to hit the total limit of energy you can access. I started having a bit of butter just before class and no issues since.

I went to a few BJJ classes at an old mate’s school in Auckland on a recent work trip. Lots of fun.


(Julian Webber) #13

Thanks Malcolm, very informative. I haven’t reached the ‘brown-out’ stages yet, as I’ve still got substantial reservoirs of fat and I’m probably not rolling as hard as I should.

I must admit, I think you’ve just given me a benchmark to aim at for my training.


(Joel Abdul) #14

That would make sense. Glycogen being a “higher octane” fuel vs fat being a slower burn.

I guess that has always been my worry. But the past year has been full of experimentation that has thrown all my previous thinking out the window.

Thanks @Malcolm for your insight. It’s definitely encouraging.

(Malcolm Groves) #15

Just a further note, the brownouts wouldn’t last long. usually came during sparing or something else high intensity. I’d usually just find something a little less intense to do for a 5 minutes or so and then I’d come good.

Let me know how you get on, we’re all learning on this.



This is an old thread, but I wasn’t able to find one on boxing. I have been in ketosis for about three weeks now and have been boxing for a few years. I’ve noticed that my energy levels drop surprisingly quickly during high intensity sessions. It’ll take a few minutes to recover but my energy is definitely not where it was before. I will try having some butter before workouts, but I have been feeling absolutely drained during workouts. My main question is this: should I expect increased energy while boxing (i.e., high intensity activity) once I am fat-adapted? Or is this simply something I will have to deal with?

Also, any other tricks to combat the onset of fatigue?

Thanks so much!

(Julian Webber) #17

Hey Joshua,

I’m short, I experienced the same thing. I started my pretraining regime by adding pink salt to my water, and this helped a lot. I’ve had a few BJJ comps lately, my last I had four bouts in a row, and I was completely gassed.

I’d like to think that it wasn’t keto, rather just poor cardio. But I can’t be sure.

Good luck.


Thanks, Julian.

That’s helpful advice. I’ve been taking in salt every few hours or so just to keep the sodium up with all the water loss and all that. That’s certainly helped with the fatigue, generally, but I’ve been experiencing some major fatigue while working out; I’ve only felt this way in the past when I was sick. What surprises me is how quickly I gas out during short bursts of energy. In my case, it seems that it cannot be anything other than the keto diet as that’s the only thing that has changed in the last few weeks. I’m hoping that this will change as I become fat-adapted, but looking at what some others have said online it seems that high-intensity activity with short bursts will be a regular problem with being in ketosis.

I’ve read that ingesting 15-30g of carbs 30 min before and after high-intensity workouts might help. I might try eating some blueberries before my workout tomorrow. I usually otherwise workout in a fasted state (with the exception of coffee with coconut oil). I’ll give an update as to how that goes tomorrow!

(Julian Webber) #19

Thanks Josh,

Please keep me posted. I’d be very interested in what you try and how it works.



Have you heard of metabolic flexibility? Mike Nelson talks about it in this podcast episode of Barbell Shrugged. The idea is that one should be able to change from one fuel source to another with relative ease/flexibility depending on the activity at hand. So for aerobic/endurance activities one will ideally shift to fat burning mode, while also being able to switch to glycogen burning mode when the activity shifts up a couple of gears. Most of the stuff I’ve read on it has to do with reducing carbs in order to make better use of fat as a source of fuel for aerobic activity, but Nelson discusses the need for carbs for sports that involve short bursts of intense activity.

I also found the blog of this guy, Peter Attia, who discusses the occasional use of carbs for athletic training while remaining, for the most part, in a state of nutritional ketosis.

You might already know of all this, or maybe this has been posted somewhere else in the forum, but I thought it was helpful.