In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you sweat a lot! BJJ is very strenuous exercise! Because of this, we lose a lot of the water in our bodies even in a single rolling session. It isn’t unlikely to even lose 2-3 lbs of water after a class. Weigh yourselves before and after a class, you’d be surprised!
For this reason, it is crucial to keep our bodies hydrated at all times. If you aren’t careful, you could end up getting dehydrated if you push yourself too hard.
Dehydration is extremely risky! No one can survive without water. Our bodies are made up of about 75% of water. It not only keeps us hydrated, it also helps lubricate our joints, boost our energy levels, and regulate body temperatures.
Here are some of the main reasons for staying hydrated for BJJ.
Our body is a system, and just like any system, it is important to take care of it or it won’t function properly. Think of a vehicle – you must have the oil changed, gas filled, ensure you have the proper coolant, etc. or it won’t be functioning correctly!
The same goes for our body. If we push our bodies too hard during a BJJ session without the proper planning, it won’t function as well. During training, our bodies produce heat and it is dispersed out through our sweat. However, if there aren’t enough fluids in your system, our bodies won’t be able to disperse the heat efficiently!
Staying hydrated for BJJ becomes even more important when inside a gym. These rooms are usually full of people! A lot of them! And they tend to get very humid, and really hot!
The result of this environment often means that your sweat doesn’t evaporate as efficiently as you would like. When this happens, the body starts to lose even more water to try to cool down.
That is why it is extremely crucial to stay hydrated in class!
Water Energizes Your Muscles
Another excellent reason for staying hydrated for BJJ is that it actually energizes your muscles. If you don’t keep your body filled with fluids, your muscles tend to become much weaker.
Cells that aren’t fed the proper amount of electrolytes and fluid start to shrivel up. This causes your muscles to burn out and feel fatigued much faster than normal. Your muscle cells perform at half capacity when you are dehydrated!
If you’re an early bird and like hitting the gym in the morning, it is even more important to have a large glass of water. Keep in mind that you have been asleep for about 8 hours. During this time, our bodies have been sweating and burning off nutrients and minerals. Even more so in the summer!
To avoid dehydration and muscle fatigue, drink some water before bed and before you go to the gym. Your body will thank you for it on your workouts.
It is Great For Your Body
Perhaps one of the most important reasons for keeping our bodies hydrated is that our bodies need water to function optimally. One common thing that you may experience from dehydration is headaches and nausea. Keeping yourself hydrated will prevent this from happening.
Water helps nutrition and hormones flow throughout your body efficiently. It is also great for your digestion. Water allows your food and nutrition to feed our bodies with fuel and energy throughout the day. Food is extremely important to your performance on the mats! If you aren’t getting enough food and nutrition, your body gets tired faster and your rolls will feel like an eternity!
Always make sure you keep your body fed with essential food and water to improve your performance and concentration during training. Ensure to have a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Having the appropriate chemical balance, electrolytes, and hydration will get you that peak performance during your matches!
Water Improves Joint Health
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we put our bodies through a lot of stress and fatigue. Even more so when we are getting ready for a competition!
There is a lot of twisting and turning during a grappling match. This uses just about every joint in your body. Our joints have a sack in between that contains a fluid, which helps them to move efficiently. If you don’t have enough fluids in your body, this joint-fluid can become viscous and cause you some joint paint.
As a result of this, your joints will feel like they are on fire after a grappling session! If you continue to push through this pain, it will definitely get much worse. If you aren’t careful, you could seriously injure yourself. This will keep you even longer away from the mats!
When you feel your joints giving out on you on your rolls, don’t push it. Chances are that you may prolong your recovery or get yourself injured further! Rest, hydrate, and recover!
IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER
1. Not All Fluids Are Created Equal
Remember, not all fluids are created equal for your rehydration. It is a common misconception that dehydration can be avoided by drinking any kind of fluid. This is incorrect. The best way to stay hydrated is to definitely drink water. It is simply the best source of hydration for your body.
People that choose to drink soda to rehydrate, please keep in mind that these drinks are packed with sugar. This usually diminishes the hydration process!
Some people do prefer sports drinks over water. Sports drinks do hydrate you well, but not as good as water! These are also packed with a ton of sugar, which does dampen your hydration a bit, even if the commercials say otherwise!
The only time that sports drinks become important if you do a high intensity work out for a prolonged period like a marathon. If you do an intense workout for over 90 minutes or you have low blood sugar, then it might be effective to use sports drinks instead. But for an activity like BJJ, you should be alright with just plain old water!
2. Caffeine and Alcohol Can Make You Dehydrated
If you often take some caffeine or a bit of alcohol just before bed, you should ensure that you are having enough water. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics – they eliminate water from your body! If you do not take some water in the morning or just before bed, you will wake up with severe dehydration. You know the feeling from a hangover after a night of drinking? You get super dehydrated and fatigued if you don’t replenish your body with enough water!
3. Flying in High Altitudes Also Cause Dehydration
Another thing to consider is that if you have to fly for a BJJ tournament, the high altitude can cause you to dry out since there is very little moisture up there. To avoid this feeling, it is essential that you implement a strategy to help you avoid the dehydration. Do not stay in your seat during the whole trip. Move around to help the blood start pumping through the body. Avoid any drinks with high sugar content or caffeinated beverages.
4. Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
One final thing to keep in mind is that your body can only absorb about 27 oz of water per hour, while it can lose double of that! This is why it becomes increasingly important to stay hydrated throughout the day! Try to drink about 12-24 oz of fluid an hour before training. It’s also important to drink fluids during your training sessions and afterwards.
Dehydration is very serious! If you think for one second that you are more badass than your training partners because you don’t take water breaks, think again! This is a faulty way of thinking and extremely dangerous. This could easily get you a one-way ticket to the emergency room!
In some cases, there have been reports of severe cramping, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death! These are of course the more severe cases out there, but it does happen. Having the proper hydration should be taken seriously.
Here are some of the common symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry mouth or cotton mouth
- Muscle Fatigue and weakness
- Increased Body Temperature
If you start having these symptoms during training, stop what you are doing and hydrate! If you prolong your dehydration any longer, the closer you get to the danger zone. Avoid this at all costs!
Make sure you are having enough water during your workouts. It is recommended to drink at least 20 oz. of water a few hours before class. During your class, you should probably be drinking 8-10 oz. of water every 20 minutes or so during training. You should also be drinking plenty of fluids after your done with class.
Train smart! Staying hydrated for BJJ is crucial if you want to perform your best on the mats! You don’t want to wake up after a session with an IV stuck on your arm all because you didn’t hydrate properly! Train hard, roll safe, and hydrate!