I’ve looked for Jiu Jitsu tips for boosting my performance on the mats using various supplements, from protein powders to amino acids, but until recently I had never thought of using coffee to improve my BJJ!
Although I am an avid coffee drinker, coffee was always just a morning ritual or afternoon pick-me-up; I hadn’t thought of using coffee as a supplement. However, coffee can be an excellent choice for enhancing performance during BJJ training.
Effects Of Caffeine 101
Caffeine is a chemical stimulant found in a variety of foods and drinks, most commonly coffee and teas. Caffeine has many benefits, not only for athletic performance but for the body in general.
Just like exercise, caffeine increases the production of dopamine and serotonin in the body. Dopamine helps improve mood and assists in bolstering muscle movement. Serotonin also boosts mood, regulates sleep and appetite, and improves memory and the ability to learn. Both of these neurotransmitters are great for enhancing your BJJ training and increasing your ability to remember new moves.
In other Jiu Jitsu tips, caffeine also increases adrenaline production for those much-needed energy boosts on the mat and in competition and aids the body in burning fat by accelerating metabolism.
Despite the positive effects, it is vital to use caffeine in moderation. If relied on too heavily, it can lead to negative side effects. If used too often or in large doses, caffeine can cause heightened anxiety, loss of sleep and irregular sleep patterns, and the possibility of addiction.
The maximum recommended dose of caffeine one should ingest per day is 400 mg which is equivalent to about four cups of coffee, two average energy drinks, or ten cans of soda. However, age, weight, and personal physiology factor in, so always listen to your body. If you have an adverse reaction to caffeine, try reducing your intake or choosing an alternative supplement.
Jiu Jitsu Tips: How A Cup Of Joe Can Make You Better On The Mats
According to a study conducted on the effects of caffeine on BJJ athletic performance, a dose of 3mg/kg of caffeine one hour prior to training produced positive results by increasing muscular power and endurance in BJJ athletes.
The researchers tested grip strength, jump height, weightlifting, and bench-press in regards to power and repetition. The results showed that, in all tests, those who ingested caffeine outperformed those who took a placebo. These results indicate that drinking coffee before training can be a great way to attain optimal BJJ performance.
However, one of the most important Jiu Jitsu is to regulate your intake. Drinking coffee solely before training instead of making it an everyday routine will help you avoid the negative side effects of excessive caffeine consumption.
When you drink coffee every day, in addition to adding it to your pre-training regime, you can build up a tolerance to caffeine and risk suffering the negative side effects that could occur.
Drinking coffee one hour prior to training while keeping it to a minimum throughout the rest of the day will give you the biggest boost to your muscle strength, stamina, and overall endurance during hard training sessions.
With that said, be cautious about which type of coffee you’re drinking. Black coffee will provide you with health benefits but sugary cake-like drinks, like many offered at Starbucks, are packed with loads of sugar and empty calories. These drinks will not give you the desired performance boost and may lead to an energy crash.
That’s not to say you can’t add some creamer to your coffee, but stay away from sugar-laden coffee drinks that will be detrimental to your waistline and your training!
What If You Don’t Like Coffee?
If you can’t stand the taste of coffee, we have several Jiu Jitsu tips for great alternatives. Caffeine is also found in tea and cocoa powder. Green tea is a great choice for those who want a lower dose as it is naturally lower in caffeine. It also has a mild flavor. Green tea is beneficial to your health and contains powerful antioxidants which aid in recovery after training.
There are also a variety of choices when it comes to green tea. You can drink straight green tea, flavored green tea, or use the more concentrated ceremonial matcha green tea. Matcha green tea is also an excellent addition to smoothies. Alternatively, it can be made as a latte with milk or milk substitutes.
Cocoa powder also has numerous health benefits and tastes great. It is a delicious addition to protein shakes or smoothies when paired with fruits such as bananas or strawberries. Like green tea, cocoa contains antioxidants. It is also great for your heart and brain, as it improves blood flow to these areas of the body.
If you still want to try coffee but don’t like the taste, there are alternative ways to prepare it rather than drinking it straight, such as using it in a smoothie to mask the taste. Peanut butter and bananas are great additions to smoothies that contain coffee because they pair well and have intense flavors that can mask the flavor of coffee.
Here’s another of our tried and tested Jiu Jitsu tips – try coffee with coconut oil and butter inside before training.
Coffee is a great way to supplement your performance during Jiu Jitsu. There are numerous benefits to caffeine in coffee that can increase performance and stamina in athletes if used correctly.
Always be mindful of your body’s reaction to any supplements you take. If coffee isn’t suitable for you, you can always choose one of the other milder alternatives to get the same desired effect.
Kimberly is a Jiu Jitsu purple belt who also holds a black belt in Siljun Dobup Korean Sword Arts. When she’s not on the mats, she enjoys immersing herself in nature or a good book. She trains in New Jersey with her 9-year-old son.