The process leading up to a competition is more important than the competition itself. Without proper preparation, you will not be in top form when competition day arrives. You can not wait until the last moment to begin making all the right choices whether they are getting enough sleep, cutting weight, and feeding your body the nutrition it deserves. You are only cheating yourself by ignoring the process. If you are training your ass off on the mats, do not cut yourself short by ‘’fucking’’ with the process before your competition. Every competitive Jiu-jitsu athlete should obey these habits to optimize their performance and competition day results.

Sleep

Sleep is the time for recovery. Creating good sleeping habits is imperative. During sleep you allow your body to rejuvenate the broken down tissue from training and to heal your brain. Stress is typically higher as your competition date gets nearer. BJJ is already stressful enough. Getting proper sleep will help control your stress levels and improve your ability to use the energy from food. Being efficient at utilizing this energy will play a role in your weight cut. When you are under duress, your body does not want to cut weight, but to survive. Lack of sleep will intensify duress levels so stay off your phone and TV  before you go to bed especially the night before your Jiu-jitsu event! Looking at ”twerking” videos will not help your performance.

 

Fatty boom boom

It is a big mistake not to control your weight throughout the year. You can benefit from being slightly heavier during non competition periods, but not to the point where your teammates begin calling you ‘’fatty boom boom’’. Ten to fifteen pounds is acceptable. Going over the latter will only make you a miserable bastard, impact your performance, and put you in danger for health issues. For example, if you need to lose twenty pounds, begin the process early enough to have a less challenging ”cut”, and not a week or two before your competition. Minimize the use of saunas, avoid junk food and focus on eating whole, nutritious food.

Hydrate

Your body is around sixty percent water therefore proper hydration before a competition is crucial. You may think that dehydration is easily fixable, think again. Dehydrating yourself for any reason, whether it is due to a failure to consume enough fluids or for weight cut reasons it will take more than twenty-four hours for your body to rehydrate itself properly. During the competition, you will lose a lot of fluids so arriving at the tournament lacking proper hydration levels, will set you up for failure. Even a one percent loss of body water can have a significant impact on your performance. Water is not enough to keep you going. You also need electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, bicarbonate, and phosphate. A suitable electrolyte supplement works excellent for hydration.

 

Competition day nutrition

Avoid eating a meal that will cause bloating, gas, anxiety, and discomfort. You should know your body and which foods cause an adverse reaction in your gut. Incorporate liquid meals or BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) if you compete in the a.m. An option would be to find a carbohydrate supplement that does not irritate your stomach and mix it in with the amino acids to consume between your matches. Afternoon competitors can have a solid meal of complex carbs and protein and drink BCAAs in between events.

Visualization    

Making sure you stay on top of your mental game is also an essential factor. Nothing will make up for poor mental preparation. Visualization has tremendous benefits for performance. Athletes that are great visualizers tend to be at the top of their game. However, it is a skill that requires practice. Try to imagine yourself performing your favorite techniques and being victorious. Focus on the aspects you can control and ignore thoughts about the ‘’what ifs’’. You should visualize in great detail and think about the crowd, surroundings, environment, other competitors, etc. Use your breathing to keep you calm and relax. It can guide you and serve as a safe place or a reset button if your mind starts deviating and you are not happy with the production of the ‘’movie’’. Visualizing is a skill you should practice on a constant basis.

Final thoughts

Creating new habits takes time and experience. The key to implementing new habits is consistency, eventually, they will become second nature. Small pieces make up the big picture. The big picture is performing to the best of your ability on competition day. Competing is demanding, stressful, and takes a lot of resources, so make it worth your while by holding yourself accountable. You do not want to have any regrets or think about what you could have done better on ”the day”.