Supplements make big money for the health and fitness industry and while some supplements do well to provide benefit, others do nothing more than burn a hole in your wallet.
Whether you compete or just train Jiu Jitsu for the fun of it, you’re goal should be to spend as much time on the mat as possible. Ensuring you’re healthy and in good physical shape is the best way to make this happen.
Sadly, aside from some questionable pharmaceutical help, supplements generally won't make you faster, stronger or see through the matrix.
However, a good supplement will play a role in helping you recover, prevent illness, inflammation and infection; providing a solid base for your overall health.
3 Supps and What You Need to Know
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are made up of the three amino acids:
- Leucine – Important for protein synthesis
- Isoleucine – Plays a role in glucose uptake
- Valine – Help’s stimulate the central nervous system
Much like whey and other proteins, BCAAs supplementation prevents the breakdown of muscle tissues and aids in repair.
However, these three amino acids are also easily found in a healthy diet, therefore, supplementing with BCAAs isn’t necessary for people taking in adequate amounts of protein.
With this in mind, I have included BCAAs for those eating at a calorie deficit, either because they're cutting weight for a comp or just have a bad diet – which, in all honesty, should be fixed first before supplementation.
If you’re like me, you probably have a coach with a roll to death attitude who demands you train for at least 2 hours a session.
And, if you’re really like me, you sweat like beast – a little sweaty Italian beast!
Drinking water is great before, during and after training, but sometime it isn’t enough to rehydrate you.
Intense classes lasting over 1.5 hours cause you to lose electrolytes like sodium, and potassium through your sweat.
Electrolytes are basically minerals that contain an electrical charge and aid your cells in communicating with each other for:
- Muscular function
- Digestive function
- Cardiac function
- Nervous system function
Don’t fall for sugary sports drinks like I did as a kid; thinking Gatorade would make me “Be Like Mike”. Your better option would be a quality electrolyte powder, or for a more affordable alternative, try adding a pinch of Celtic sea salt to your water.
Multivitamin & Antioxidants
Like BCAAs, you probably won’t need a multivitamin supplement if you’re following a good diet. But, in times of high stress, calorie deficits, over training, illness or even when you’re travelling, supplementing with a multivitamin may be a good idea.
You should first find out from your doctor if you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency before supplementing to avoid complications like over compensating. Some vitamins and minerals won’t cause you too much trouble in high doses as they will be excreted, although others, like Iron, need to be monitored in order to avoid any unwanted side effects.