BJJ and Keto


Okay, I was intending on doing a workout after lunch so as to not be in a fasted state. I ended up fasting through lunch and working out in a fasted state anyway. I did an hour and a half workout (spending most of the time with my heart rate falling within the anaerobic range of 152-171BPM). I had about three heaping handfuls of blueberries (~40g of carbs) right before working out. I was still pretty tired during the workout, but it was a more normal tired than the sort of keto-fatigue I’ve been experiencing the last few weeks, which is a hopeful sign. I’m going to keep doing blueberries pre-workout for high intensity stuff… I also had enough energy to go and do some lawn work afterwards. I’m feeling pretty good right now.

In terms of being in nutritional ketosis, I blew a 0.14 BAC on my cheap breathalyzer (which tests for acetone and has so far seemed pretty accurate—they say anything above 0.04 BAC is roughly equivalent to being in ketosis) in the morning, 0.11 BAC right before my workout (before I ate the blueberries) and post-workout I’m still at 0.11 BAC. So the scoops of blueberries didn’t really affect my being in ketosis. I’ll check again in a bit.

I still haven’t had lunch so I’ll have to do that soon. Or maybe just wait until dinner.

I’ll try to update as I go along with more on the pre-workout carbs. I’m wondering if post-workout carbs would help at all. For now, I’m just going to stick with the pre-workout carbs.

(Julian Webber) #22

Hey Josh,

I haven’t heard of metabolic flexibility, but I’ve got my ‘sceptical hippo eyes’ to that. Alternatively, Peter Attia is a genius. I’ve read a lot of his stuff and listened to his on a few podcasts. He does some good work.


Skeptical hippo eyes sounds about right. Haha.

The info on Attia’s blog seems to be somewhat more substantive. I’ll have to check out other things by him. Thanks!

(Julian Webber) #24

Hey Josh,

Apologies for the late post, life etc… as if in an answer to this thread, Joe Rogan Experience Ep 994 with Dom De Agistino covers everything we’ve been talking about and more. Well worth the listen. The URL is below:


Hey Julian,

Just saw this reply. I will check out the podcast.

I have been meaning to add that the fatigue I experienced earlier is not as apparent lately. I wonder if the fatigue had more to do with keto flu and a lack of electrolytes than anything else.

I wear a heart rate monitor when I work on the heavy bag (12-15 rounds) and I have noticed that my heart rate for the past few weeks has been significantly higher than it used to be. I am not sure what to make of that. E.g., my workouts used to range about ~45% in the anaerobic zone ~25% in the aerobic and the remaining 30% below aerobic. Recently, I’ve been spending a lot more time closer to my V02 max (a range I would previously only hit when I absolutely pushed myself to exhaustion). So, for example, today my heart range was as follows: 35% in my V02 max range, 25% in the anaerobic range, 20% in the aerobic, and the remaining 20% of the workout below that. So the intensity of my workouts have increased significantly even though I don’t necessarily feel like I’m exerting myself much more than I used to. I’m wondering if this means that my heart has to work extra hard for some reason? I don’t really understand, to be honest.

Anyway, if you have any insights, I’d be interested to hear. (Relatedly, my HRV score has been a lot lower lately, though it has been slowly rising post keto flu.)

Edit: I am listening to the Podcast. I’m a little over six weeks in so this all sounds about right. Thanks for recommending this, it’s exactly on what I was hoping to learn more about.


Great thread. I’ve taken classes twice a week in a form of mixed martial arts for about a year, and been on keto for about 7 months. The weight loss (240 pounds down to 210 so far) has definitely helped me in almost every way. My endurance has improved, striking and kicking are less tiring, and rolling is easier. Of course, I can’t pin people by just laying on them as much anymore. : /

I tried a class two days into a fast once a couple of months ago, and was miserable. The “brownout” @Malcolm mentioned seems familiar.

Overall though, I’ve never had a problem with energy or stamina related to keto. Both seem improved.


I just got some creatine monohydrate to see if it will help with performance based on what d’Agostino recommended. I’ve never taken creatine before and am not sure about the whole loading phase thing. I will probably do a week of 20g/day and then 3g a day after that.

(Carpe salata!) #28

A very interesting fact I got from the 2kd podcast was about RQ. Energy requires oxygen but fat burning only requires 75% of the oxygen that carb burning does.


Just an update: I don’t know if it’s me being fat-adapted (I’m sure that’s part of it—I’m 8 weeks in), but I have been experiencing very little to no fatigue while working out. I have also been taking creatine and that seems to have helped a lot. I was traveling for a few days but got back two days ago. I did a workout yesterday and I don’t remember feeling this good working out in a long time.

I’ve been loading creatine for the last week or so (~20g/day) and I wonder if that is behind this. I haven’t really put on much water weight (if any) with the creatine supplementation. I suppose I’ll know if it was the creatine if and when I cycle off of it, but so far I’m feeling a lot better even better than pre-keto. I was beginning to feel better before supplementing with creatine, but still experienced some fatigue. Yesterday I had zero fatigue and felt great.

Anyway, just an update. Creatine is great.

(CharleyD) #30

Hey whaddya know, the search function works! I was just about to start a new thread asking around for feeding strategies for martial artists, especially glycolytic ones.

I did taekwondo from 1990 through 1998 and then started back at the beginning of 2017 when I also started keto. So I can attest that muscle memory is a thing! Our school also provides a BJJ class once a week and I’ve avoided entertaining that with my back issues (L5 laminectomy and significant scar tissue buildup) I’m feeling more game for it having recovered flexibility and strength with a good PT and certain stretching exercises.

As I’ve lost a lot of fat since starting back, I’m noticing some metabolic starvation issues post classes and occasionally throughout the week. As a habitual OMAD’er I always train fasted, either eating a lunch or dinner, but on class nights, never anything after class. But I’m considering a change now.

The main symptoms that concerned me were numb fingers and toes and shivers seemingly out of the blue. The symptoms go away with food. Reliably. Like I can hold up my left hand horizontally and look at the tips of my fingers and watch as the ring finger and then middle finger and finally the index finger get their color back within an hour after a meal. Kind of like a fuel gauge filling up. I think this could mean for me that actually I need to have either a bigger meal or perhaps move to 16:8 a few days. I don’t see it in the cards for me to eat 3 meals a day again. I think a part of this is that my mind is still operating as if I’m still a Fatty McFatterson and hasn’t fully digested that I had to cut 10 inches off that old belt last month…

I was hoping to get back to my teenage level of performance with just whole foods but hey, us old guys need to finish the fight fast and we need to play dirty, so I’ve opted to being open to supplementation. Libido is certainly there, but I’m more concerned now with sparing muscle and the ability to tear down glycogen (training) and replete it just enough (for Testings/Tournaments).

I kinda wish we had a gauge for glycogen, that maybe didn’t require biopsy, you know? I’d be happy to eat a bit of carbs, to replete them, so that I don’t fall on my face on the mat (I know the brownouts that @Malcolm mentioned) or worse, allow the kids to score points on me as we’re in a Tournament cycle currently…

I read the concepts that the carb loading folks hope are true, that after a glycolytic workout in the evening you can take advantage on downregulating of insulin receptors in adipose tissue and upregulating in muscle, and replete muscle glycogen preferentially with carb intake then. I just don’t know how true or applicable it is. I do know that after class I see the peanut and cashew jugs in my pantry (under the macadamia, pecan, walnut, almond and sunflower seed containers) and fairly salivate at them. I’ve abstained until recently hoping that my instinct is true.

I’ve purchased a jug of Glycine and am open to Creatine too. @Hangulmalmotayo Still doing the Creatine?

About an hour prior to classes if I make a 1-2 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil quart of coffee, I have plenty of aerobic energy, just when it comes to being super quick with punches and strikes, the clock always seems to be ticking…

(CharleyD) #31

@SkyCaptain, @RinDinDin , @Malcolm, do y’all still take classes? And how has your supplementation regime panned out?

@SlowBurnMary Do you still take classes regularly, and if so, would you mind sharing if you have a particular feeding strategy that needed to diverge from the standard Dude’s keto schema in order to either avoid overtraining or ensure readiness for testing or performance?


Hey Dipper,

I stopped with the creatine. I noticed its effects at the beginning and then felt the same as before (and just got lazy with supplementing). I still box and still experience burning out from time to time but it’s hard to gauge the cause because I’ve also been lifting regularly. It’s certainly not as bad as it was when I was starting keto. I’ve been trying different things out to see what will maximize performance. We’ll see. At the moment the fatigue hasn’t been significant enough to bother me. But I haven’t been competing or anything (busy with a new baby).

I have read that ingesting some corn starch (or UCAN super starch, which is basically glorified corn starch) shortly before an anaerobic activity will help. You’d have to calculate just how many grams to take based on the amount of time you will be at anaerobic or V02 max levels. It was too much to calculate for me so I haven’t really bothered with it. There’s stuff written on this, which I’m sure you can find through google.

Sorry if my response is not terribly helpful. I grew up doing TKD (red/black because the black belt exam was too expensive). But I enjoyed sparring!

Good luck!

(Briton) #33

I trained bjj pre keto and hope to return to training and remain keto shortly. I think electrolytes will be super important and maybe taking some mct oil or powder before class would help as well. I also think the fact that I added Hiit Tabata To my cardio will transfer well to rolling.

(CharleyD) #34

Congrats on the new baby! They certainly reorganize priorities on you, and I thought I wouldn’t ever get back on the mats, but my boy has taken to it like a fish to water and perhaps there’s an epigenetic effect there too!

I think the background glycogen repletion that your liver can accomplish up to, what was it, 60% per Volek & Phinney’s book, isn’t enough for me naturally at my current lazy training rate of 2 classes per week at just over 60 minutes. I’d like to do more and I just feel like I’m held back when the youngsters are sometimes taking 2 classes a day at almost 5 days a week.

(CharleyD) #35

Thanks @Stewartba I had never heard of Tabata but now I’m wondering if that’s what some of our instructors are doing with the stopwatch during the conditioning portions of class!

I can testify that coconut oil has been a boon at least! I can only imagine MCT oil being more potent.

(CharleyD) #36

You aren’t kidding. And it’s another trade off thing. My goal is 3rd degree this year, I’m at the end of our 2nd degree, and there’s just two more testing opportunities for me this year. So there’s a lot invested in those pants holder-uppers, hah. Another reason I tend to be cheap on the supplements


I keep up personal martial arts (from a ‘no-testing’ lineage) & yoga practices - and have been on a break from certain training and classes due to a temp location. Recently, have been doing self-experimentation in using dry Ginger capsules to further decrease appetite and to do all the things it does and I feel like it’s being an incredible ally in both active & passive practices, facilitating muscle growth and fat burning.

Re ensuring readiness, I sure do well within a typical week of aspiring towards IF 3-4 days (going with how I feel in order to decide which days those are, keeping it random).

Personally I feel benefits from breaking the IF fast with a liquid meal - such as a collagen + fat/vit. c salty broth in winter (or a super tasty smoothie that includes undenatured whey and good fat and antioxidants/salt in summer), then training, then having a late dinner (and late-ish morning, which fortunately I can do with my job and my chronotype loves it).

Am very intrigued about fat-fasting powers - considering what ketogenic researcher Cristian Vlad Zot has written in his book Periodic Fasting. And also what’s been reported by endurance athletes Sami Inkinen & Meredith Loring in their ketogenic triathelete accomplishments in the film Run On Fat.

I have to say though that for me, at age 52, dealing with various fat-adaptation and/or detoxification challenges the first 6 months of keto fat burning (despite excellent supplementation) was hard at times, and I extended my recovery periods even longer. And now that I’m at 8 months keto w/ 4:3 IF am experiencing incredible stamina and energy overall, it’s amazing.

(CharleyD) #38

Thank you so much!

Would you consider the ginger capsules better than the pickled ginger that comes with your typical sushi/sashimi dinner? I’ve also purchased a hunk of ginger root itself to add to tea, but regards to ginger I’m in a bit of analysis paralysis at the moment.

Just purchased Periodic Fasting over Kindle.

I saw Run on Fat through when I sub’d and was interested when on their rowing trip to Hawaii that Sami seemingly bonked and it concerns me cause in the micro, as a sparring heavy class goes on, I’m concerned that I could have had better levels of glycogen prepared.

Yeah 6 months was right when I started feeling like I could test in 2017! I think my first test in 2017 was around 9 months in and I was not happy with how I looked on video but it was sufficient. My last test, about 2 weeks ago, was fantastically better.

My recovery periods I’ve allowed to be almost a week last year. Now, I’m ready to go back next day, but home life is limiting it to every other day at most often.

I’m going to consider upping the carbs a bit, adding maki sushi back in, maybe half a yam once or twice a week. Tactically, not chronically.

I like your IF regimen. Seems like it’s just easier to not eat after a class, fats must be flowing well eh?, and get 16:8 on the recovery days and OMAD on training days.


@Dipper_Actual, I still take MMA classes, but I’m just on keto. My only supplementation lately has been with girl scout cookies, and I’m carrying around an extra 5lbs of those. I don’t compete… just enjoy learning new skills.

(CharleyD) #40

Thanks @RinDinDin Gotcha. And I wanted to take it easy too, been out of it for about 20 years. And then a bloody switch flipped in my head, reminding me I wouldn’t progress and improve without the crucible of competition. Maybe a little bit of school spirit infected me too. But I’ve always treated testings and tournaments as the same thing.

Since then (about 8 months ago) I’ve been going about twice a week, doubling the once a week ramp up. And there’s been a deliberate signal for carbs I’ve been trying to diagnose. It’s not a ‘clawing at the throat’ craving, but something more sedate. I want to say it is because at this current rate of classes and glycogen depletion I won’t be competitive for long (enough) if I had to perform right now… but I don’t know if I can trust that.

Gah, my kingdom for a glycogen indicator (that doesn’t require biopsy)! :disappointed_relieved: