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As I joined the martial art of Jiu-Jitsu, back in 2001, learning values such as discipline, resilience and commitment, I started to pave a pathway of many experiences, not only as an athlete but as well as a coach. In the year of 2008, I got promoted to the black belt where following the trends of modernization of the sport, I searched for being able to hand on the most updated teachings of the gentle art. By having experiences in countries such as the United States, Arab Emirates, Japan and European continent, I could carry the knowledge and culture of different places, however believing that Jiu-Jitsu makes us similar.
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Could the Functional Training Improve Your Jiu-Jitsu?
As in all high performance activities, it is required a physical preparation objective and specific to the competition practice. With improvements in the training techniques, the most successful one is the functional training.
The Jiu-Jitsu practice, is an activity which requires a good cardiovascular capacity, isometric and explosive strength, localized muscular endurance, reaction speed and displacement, space and distance notion, stretching and flexibility. In the high performance sport Jiu-Jitsu it is fundamentally important the training and improvement of physical valences. Nowadays physical conditioning is becoming more important, being a determining factor to reach triumph in the sports that require from the physical competences, in certain cases overcoming the natural talent. This way, countless athletes and coaches emphasize the importance of physical preparation.
The physical recover between one fight and another is fundamentally important, therefore the better conditioned the athlete is, faster will be the recover to the next fight. There are three main motor skills of conditioning which form the sustaining tripod of the Jiu-Jitsu training process: strength, the speed and resistance, being the flexibility more as a secondary and preventive in the basic training stage. These three motor skills exist in its pure and complex way, however some conditioning motor skills should be prioritized during the training process: the action speed and potency used in the dynamic stage of fights standing or on the ground, the static power applied during the immobilization, the maximum strength used to escape almost locked techniques, the resistance of rapid and intermittent strength, needed in the constant effort interspaced during the fight.
The physical training could be understood as the means used to the development of technical, physical and psychological capacities of an athlete or a team, aiming to have the best performance in the appropriate stage. The functional training comes from the principle of training the athlete for the fight situations, in other words, to train the specificity of the sport, training what is really necessary for the athlete during the fight. Functional capacity, is the capacity of performing the daily activities efficiently, autonomously and independently.
A Jiu-Jitsu athlete needs isometric strength, because it is a fight consisting in domain and and hinder the opponent’s movement. The functional training comes justly in order to improve the strength gain and muscular resistance in the muscle groups of fundamental importance for the fight, lower and upper limbs and the strengthening of the core. The core aims the stability, keeping a solid base and transferring this energy from the body core to the limbs. It is fundamentally important to train the muscle strength, flexibility and stretching of that region. With the functional training it is possible to work the fight specificity, physical exercises which aim to reproduce certain movements used in the fight. The benefits of the functional training in Jiu-Jitsu athlete is the gain of isometric and explosive strength, the fortification of the body joints consequently avoiding injuries, the balance and mobility gain, as well the motor coordination, increasing of the breathing capacity due to core fortification.
In order to obtain the expected results, high performance Jiu-Jitsu athletes, it makes necessary the use of physical preparation, showing off the functional training benefits inside it.
The physical preparation aims to perfect physical valences of every sport. Nowadays the physical preparation is becoming a determinant factor for the athlete’s success, in some cases being more important than the natural talent of the athlete.
During the fight, the physiologic features suffered by the body are intermittent, due to the fight time, it is executed a series of supra maximal efforts interleaved by recovery moments. In other words, during the fight time the athlete makes strength stimulus, explosive and isometric strength, displacement speed for example, and among these stimulus it is natural to have moments of active recovery, being activities of low intensity, or repose during the fight.
The physical preparation in a Jiu-Jitsu athlete should focus on perfecting the physical valences, being necessary the isometric contraction strength training, the explosive strength training, to improve the strength and speed capacity with the energy stock inherent to the muscle in use,
without depending of the blood energy supply or oxygen, the potency and aerobic capacity, and the motor speed and flexibility.
The functional training aims to perfect the body regions necessary to carry out an activity, in other words, it comes in the physical preparation of the athlete. The training of the athlete should use its tools and specific principles for the competition situation. The fight of Jiu-Jitsu for being a sport that happens plans and situations that never repeat, it is fundamental to train specific fight moves, executing in the physical preparation the repetition with or without the use of weights in order to perfect the movement, obtain speed gain, or strength or resistance.
Another principle for the of functional training techniques, is the proprioception use, which is the body capacity to maintain stability, the more stable is the situation of the individual during the movement execution, more is the body action to keep the stability. In this cases of training in unstable surfaces (sand, unstable boards, balls, etc.) the athlete will ned a great quantity of muscle use to keep stability. The athlete will be working a group of muscles needed for the fight practice, therefore optimizing the training and increasing the muscle resistence, when you work with the proprioception, the quantity of used muscle fibers is higher.
The flexibility is another valence in which could be worked with the functional training, through exercises and specific activities, helping as well in injuries prevention. The gain of motor coordination and body consciousness due to the functional training compound exercises, also help in the injuries prevention and in a better fight performance. Another important fact for the use of functional training is the core. The core is central body region, formed by muscles which serve sustaining the body, and strength movements. The core is formed by abdominal, low back, hip and thigh muscles. The strengthening of this region is primordial, because in most of the movements performed during the fight, the use of this muscle groups is fundamentally important, for the strength gain, flexibility and injuries prevention.
As the sport Jiu-Jitsu grows , the athletes more and more are making use of of the physical preparation, in order to obtain results, and most of the times making use of physical quality to overcome the technique. As the use of physical preparation by the athletes grows, it fundamentally important to specify the physical training directed to the real fighting circumstances, to train what really matters for a great performance of achieving the expected results. We noticed that the benefits proportionate by the functional training are gains in isometric and explosive strength, the improve of anaerobic capability, the increase of the capacity of keeping the balance, flexibility, injuries prevention and strengthening of the joints as well as improvements in the motor coordination and body awareness.
With the specific training it is fundamentally important to search for this specificity by adapting the physical exercises with the specific fight moves, making the preparation becomes closer to the fight reality. With a higher professionalization of the fight athletes, the functional training works on making the difference, due to its great quantity of benefits, training variations and offered methods to the athlete in search of better results.
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NutritIon Applied to Jiu-Jitsu
Among the combat sports modalities, we find many individuals with different aims: professional athletes, amateurs and practitioners. It is a consensus among professionals and practitioners that the aims of the sport determinate the intensity and training frequency, but would also be a consensus the diet specification according to the different aims? Science presents well established evidences for this question, where it reveals that the diet should guarantee each individuals nutritional needs which is directly connected to the training demand and intensity.
The principles of a healthy diet are presented over four pillars:
Quality: composed of food that provide necessary nutrients in order to supply the organism needs.
Quantity: according to each individuals energetic need, taking in consideration the weight, height, age, gender, training frequency and intensity.
Harmony: balance between food groups (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals and water)
Adequacy: the diet should be personal to each individual, as well as the training. The adequacy should also meet the physiological and financial needs.

Basics tips for a healthy diet:
Keep regularity between meals, distributing well the quantity of food to be consumed;
Consume generous portions of fruits and vegetables, where it is recommended five daily portions;
Be careful with alcoholic beverages consumption, it interferes directly in the recovery and training adaptation;
Avoid sweets and fried food, try to resist.

Basic tips for a pre-training diet:
Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day;
When choosing your food to be consumed before training, think about gastric emptying. Each food has a different time to be digested and as it is not interesting to train fasting, the same applies to train with a full stomach;
Be careful when consuming high glycemic index carbohydrates (such as sweets, sugars, white flour) near the training time. It could cause a reactive hypoglycemia, causing a general discomfort or other consequences;
It is important to consume sources of carbohydrates and proteins before training.

Basic tips for during training diet:
Keep yourself hydrated by consuming water, hydroelectrolytic replenishers and carbohydrates;
Hydroelectrolytic replenishers and carbohydrates, are not necessary in light or moderate training that would last up to one hour;
Suplements during training are very peculiar.

Basic tips of post training diet:
The post exercise diet should take in consideration the aims of the practitioner, weight loss, performance and/or maintenance;
For recovering and adaptation, it is indicated to consumed carbohydrates and proteins. This consumption can be done by food or supplements ingestion.

Food Suplements
The supplements were created to supply physiological needs, when this target is not achieved by consuming food only. However I would like to alert that they are a concentration of specific nutrients and when consumed in a wrong way, would be simply thrown away by the organism, or overcharging it. The right procedure is to search for a nutritionist to find out the real needs, for the supplement to be secondary in the results improvements.
As a practitioner I can guarantee that with a proper diet, the training performance and achieving the goals will be more efective. Training with energy, with your body properly nourished, everything get easier synchronized: the pre training, during training, and the recover after training become a successful cycle.
There is much to talk about nutrition and sport, to things that walk together and complete each other. The first idea is launched, but the biggest and best orientation given is: search for a nutritionist, he/she is the only able professional to organize your diet according to your real needs.

Camila Marini
Nutritionist – CRN2 13716
Specialist in Exercise Physiology (UFRGS)
Specialist in Food Behavior (IPGS)
Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt
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