The MMAU Blog

Eating Clean: Nutrition Plan Guide for Martial Arts

For grapplers that are looking to shred, lose fat, and just basically build a lean, muscular, aesthetic physique, you’ll no doubt already be well aware of just how much hard work, motivation, and dedication it actually takes for you to get in any type of decent shape in the slightest.

If you decide to really take your grappling conditioning to the next level, however, then just basic “clean eating” and regular training won’t be enough, as truthfully, most people’s idea of clean eating involves “diet” sodas and frozen ready meals.

The foods and nutrients that we put into our bodies will show on the outside and so if you’re looking to build the body you’ve always envisioned, take a look at this basic beginner nutrition plan guide which will have you piling on the muscle and shredding away the body fat like never before.

Protein sources


First up, we’ll begin by taking a look at arguably the most important macronutrient of all, at least from a muscle building perspective, and that is protein.
Protein plays a vital role in protein synthesis and it is a key part of the growth and repair of muscle tissue.
What’s more, however, is that as protein is also vital for cellular health and function, it’s more vital than ever because we ourselves are basically made up of billions upon billions of miniscule cells.
For anybody looking to build muscle, protein is obviously essential, but as well as that, it also plays a vital role in fat loss and metabolic function as well.
The reason for this is that protein is a thermogenic compound, which means that it is harder to digest and break down than other foods. When we try to digest it, our bodies must work harder and so require more energy, which means more calories are burnt.
This not only helps us to burn calories, it also prevents us from overeating because it stays in our stomachs for longer, keeping us feeling full for longer. If fat loss and muscle growth are your primary objectives, here’s a look at some ideal sources of protein:

They’re versatile, taste great, and also contain essential minerals too.

Red meat – Whilst too much red meat can indeed be bad for us, if we don’t go crazy and eat too much of it, it is in fact extremely beneficial.
Lean red meats like beef, venison, and game, are fantastic as they’re naturally low in calories, contain B vitamins, and are rich in minerals such as zinc and iron.
What’s more, they also contain vital proteins and amino acids, including creatine.

Whole eggs – If you consume whole eggs, stay away from eggs, which come from caged hens as they contain very little nutritional value in the slightest. Instead, opt for free-range, or organic eggs instead. Eggs contain a complete, essential and non-essential amino acid profile, they contain around 5 grams of protein per egg, and the yolk itself is a rich source of healthy fats.
They’re also highly versatile and contain minerals as well.

Fish and seafood – Fish and seafood are also great sources of very lean protein, and in the cases of oily fishes, healthy fats as well.
Fish and seafood in general have been found to be extremely beneficial for the brain and the protein content itself is also very impressive.
And also it’s one of the top natural ways to increase testosterone levels.

Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are ideal for vegans and vegetarians as they too contain healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids.
Always opt for organic or natural nuts and seeds with no artificial seasonings, or added salt.



Carbohydrates are also extremely beneficial for anybody trying to get in shape as they provide energy, they help keep us sustained, and they help to prevent us from overeating too.
Plus, as an added bonus, many of us feel great after consuming them and as there are so many to choose from, you’re always able to find ones to your liking.
Typical examples of the most beneficial include:

Oatmeal – Rich in B vitamins and minerals, oatmeal is ideal as it provides a slow release of nutrients, with the soluble fiber helping to keep you feeling full for longer.

Rice – Rice, either brown or white, is another firm favourite amongst athletes as it is also a great source of carbs, and with brown rice, you get added vitamins and minerals too.

Potatoes – Potatoes, either white, or sweet, are ideal post-workout foods as they contain relatively high glycemic indexes, and so they can begin refuelling glycogen stores in muscles right away.



We shouldn’t fear fats, we should instead embrace them because they have been proven to be incredibly healthy and beneficial for us, providing we choose healthy sources.
Healthy fats lower dangerous cholesterol levels, they boost the metabolism, they fuel our bodies, they help strengthen our major organs, and much more besides.
Here are some of the best examples:

Oily fish – Oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, is packed full of omega 3 fatty acids, which provide countless benefits to the body in a number of different ways, especially in relation to brain health and function.

Avocados – Avocados are rich in natural oils as well as vitamins and minerals, which strengthen immunity, help promote weight loss, improve brain health and function, and much more besides. Plus, they taste amazing too.

Coconut oil – Coconut oil is a great source of Medium Chain Triglycerides which help strengthen the heart, boost immunity, provide antioxidant benefits, and plenty more besides.
These fats help improve major organ health and function, whilst communicating with fat burning enzymes, basically telling them to burn more fat which means you lose weight quicker.


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Rule #1

When your sport is as complex as BJJ, your strength training must be as simple as possible. In fact, your strength training should be simple anyway. No, I didn’t say easy. Simple means I don’t have to worry as a coach too much, and the training looks boring on paper, but it is challenging in real life. If my guys need more excitement, they roll. Believe me, that is crazy enough.

Rule #2

BJJ is quite demanding on the body, and keeps the practitioners in constant flexion. You make turns and rolls; you pull and you get pulled; you push and you get pushed; and you pull and push at the same time, quite often while your opponent does the same. So, against all that flexion, we must do a bunch of extension, and we neutralize the rotation with anti-rotation exercises.

Rule #3

When you train BJJ more than two times a week, you have no business with cardio, strength endurance, or any type of crazy interval program. If you have no strength, what will you endure? (Pavel.) True that. Instead of adding more risk factors to your life, let’s work on your body armor. Strength is some of the best armor, unless you can combine it with some extra muscle. But in BJJ competition, weight can be an issue. What you need is simple, effective strength training, neutralizing all the negative adaptations you might build while fighting on the tatami.

Rule #4

You can have incorporate variables when you work on your strength, but changing exercises often is the poorest choice. Again, many trainers use exercises as a tool to entertain clients. BJJ is already entertaining. You need an effective, low-risk, simple strength program, based on principles that target movements versus muscles.

Rule #5

Movements we should train to support rule number three: deadlift, one-hand floor or bench press, single leg deadlift variations, kettlebell two-hand swing, pull-ups, and dips.

Rule #6

Movements you should practice to maintain quality movement: goblet squat, kettlebell front squat, Turkish get-up, partial get-up, Pallof press, single-leg deadlift variations, one-hand swings, one-hand rows, and lunging presses.

Rule #7

Strength moves should be two to three exercises maximum, and normally a total of 9-12 total reps, somewhere in 75-90% of the 1RM. How many sets? Well, it takes normally 3-4 sets to accomplish the given number, with good quality movements, where all repetitions are challenging but not hard, without going to failure at all. Oh yes, the above principles are good for all the listed exercises, except heavy swings. Heavy swings are a different category. Normally I use 5×5 or 10×5 of a very heavy swing. No cardio here.

Rule #8

Practice moves should be two or three exercises, and normally total 18-25 repetitions, mainly with a 60%-80% of 1RM. Again, all reps must be good quality.

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Benefits to Getting the Whole Family Involved in BJJ

Check out this great article from Atos HQ on the benefits of getting the whole family involved in BJJ.


Built in quality time and bonding time- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a positive thing to do with free time as a family.  It also gives everyone something to practice outside of class together that encourages an active healthy lifestyle and a common interest for the family to share.  The kids will be more likely to stick with it if the parents or at least one parent is training with them.  Training can become a consistent time the whole family can hang out together and bond over a shared love for a sport.

Helps the family stay happy and healthy- The sense of achievement a person gets from doing Jiu Jitsu will make everyone more happy and confident.  It keeps the mind and body active by providing a fun outlet to learn a new skill and it gives the whole family a fun new activity.  It is important to have some kind of hobby to pour into that is not work related to get your mind off the stresses of life and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the perfect choice.

Traveling for competitions can double as a family vacation-  Many times traveling is part of BJJ if the family starts getting involved in competing and this can be a great way to also get in some vacation time.  Even if it is just a weekend get away it is a chance to make lasting memories as a family.

Support- You will better be able to motivate and help each other if everyone is training.  Everyone can help each other with techniques they are having trouble with or help remember details that may have been forgotten.  Understanding the sport better is especially helpful during competition.  If the whole family is training together everyone will understand how the sport works and the best way to encourage one another in training and at tournaments.

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Developing the Competitive Mindset

There are five important mental qualities every athlete should have to be successful both on the mat and in competition.


1. Persistence

The ability to always move forward even in the face of setbacks.  Things don’t always go your way and it’s important to know how to move on and use the setbacks as learning experiences.

2. Positive Realism

It is impossible to be positive all the time, that’s just not how we work.  Positive realism is taking a negative situation, and making the most of it, but also being realistic.  This could even apply to not listening to the negative feedback your body is giving you when it is injured.  It may feel like a negative at first, but if it avoids further injury and you can jump back into training faster it’s a positive in the end.

3. Humility

In order to keep improving it is important to have a humble attitude, and be hungry to learn.  You must be confident, but realistic of your strengths and weaknesses and where you need to improve.  Humility is part of that internal fire an athlete must have to grow as a competitor.

4. Vulnerability

This may not always be a quality associated with mental toughness, but it is still important.  An athlete who has this quality is open about the wins, and loses.  They are able to take tough losses and learn from them in a constructive way.  This may entail being open to training in a different way or seeking help to bring the best out of yourself.

5. Lack of Regrets

One of the worst feelings next to loosing, is loosing and not feeling like you gave your absolute best.  Don’t get to the tournament and regret the amount you trained to prepare, and lack confidence to go for it, and give it your all.  Show up knowing you trained your heart out.

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Gui Mendes Talks Building An Army & What It Takes To Win!

Guilerme Mendes took the jiu-jitsu world by surprise in 2015 when after just winning his fourth World title be abruptly announced his retirement from the sport. Fast forward two years later and Gui Mendes is at the forefront of building one of the largest and most successful teams in the world.

The once star competitor has transformed his life in pursuit of building a juggernaut team to challenge for World titles every year. And has already had early success with up and coming athletes like Johnatha Alves, Tainan Dalpra, Sophie Flores & many more.

In this 20 minute deep dive with professor Gui Mendes you’ll learn some of the philosophies and practices that have made AoJ and the Mendes bros so successful. From dealing with competition anxiety to what makes a good coach, Gui leaves no stone unturned. Watch the full uncut interview below!

Check out the interview here at FloGrappling

Interview Notes:

1:00 – ‘What people think doesn’t matter’ Gui talks preparing mentally for a competition.

4:04 – ‘The more you enjoy the process, the better you get.’ Gui talks dealing with pressures of winning and how to overcome negative emotions.

6:02  – Gui talks building the right program. The differences between teaching different people from different walks of life. The biggest challenges facing professors.

8:10 – ‘The pleasure of coaching outweighs the pleasures of competing’ Gui talks seeing his students achieving their goals.

9:03 – Dealing with losing. A good coach knows the ups and downs of competition and prepares his/her students accordingly.

11:27 – Gui and Rafa are now both dedicating 100% of their efforts to the team and school. How will this affect AoJ moving forward?

13:13 – ‘The thought of being a World Champion doesn’t motivate me like it used to.’ Gui talks shifting his focus and creating a new stage in life.

17:42 – To train or not to train? How to prepare mentally and physically the week of a competition.

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Why it is Important to Train Both Gi and No-Gi

Check out this great article from Atos HQ on the importance of training both Gi and No-Gi

You learn how to apply insane pressure (No-Gi)

When you train no-gi you do not have any material to rely on when trying to control your opponent with pressure, as a result you learn what it takes to apply the pressure correctly in order to get into an advantageous position and hold them there.  It takes a lot of isometric strength to do this and you will see huge improvements in that type of strength by training no-gi.  No-gi accentuates any time that you are too loose with your positions or you get sloppy so you can correct these mistakes in your techniques.  All of this will translate perfectly into making your gi game stronger, and your ability to control your opponent will improve immensely.

You’ll develop quick reflexes (No-Gi)

No-gi is a much faster pace fight because you do not have the ability to grip your opponent’s gi and tie them up to slow them down.  You have no choice but to act quickly and instinctively or opportunities will pass you by, and your training partner will get a step ahead of you.  Movements you’ve practiced will become second nature and you’ll develop quick reflexes, which will directly translate into your gi game.

You’ll develop strong grips (Gi)

It is essential for any Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete to have extremely strong grips, by training gi you develop these unbreakable grips.  The constant grabbing and pulling of the gi will help your grip strength and endurance, which will add to the power and strength of your no gi grips as well.  Even though the grips in no-gi are different and you’re grabbing the wrist instead of the sleeve it’s still directly improves the development of your grip strength.

You’ll have excellent escapes (Gi)

None of us want to ever get in a bad position but it happens and when it does you have to know how to escape.  The friction of the gi makes it much more difficult to escape a bad position which forces you to know the correct technique.  When you are confident with your escapes you’ll be more willing to attack because you know how to get back into a good position.  If your escapes are sharp in gi you’ll have no problem in no-gi.

You’ll have a deeper knowledge of BJJ techniques (Gi)

Gi is much more technical then no-gi because of all the grip options and complex guards that have evolved over the years.  This in turn forces you to develop a more technical game so that you can stay one step ahead of your opponent.  It is important to develop this base Jiu Jitsu because it will make the transition to no-gi much easier and put you ahead of the game.

You’ll be well prepared in any self defense scenario

If you get into a sticky situation in the real world and you need to put your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills to the test you will be fully prepared for any self defense scenario if you have been training both gi and no-gi.  If they are wearing a jacket you have your gi grips and you can calmly handle the situation.  When the grips aren’t there you still know what to do and you can easily be explosive and act on instinct thanks to your no-gi training.

You’ll have the most well rounded take down game

A lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners like to pull guard and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it is important to be well rounded and know take downs too.  In gi judo style take downs are more popular and in no-gi it’s usually all wrestling style take downs.  However, both styles transition well into either gi or no-gi and it’s important to be familiar with both.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu matches always start from the feet so do yourself a favor and get comfortable on your feet so you can be prepared for anything.

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How to Avoid Injuries as a White Belt

It is hard when you first start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to know how to protect your body from injury.  Everything is so new, and every movement feels awkward and counter intuitive.  However, it is important to develop body awareness not only for your own safety, but for your training partner as well.  One of the most common ways a beginner sustains an injury is simply because they don’t know what movements put their body in danger.

Another common cause is lack of conditioning.  Strength training along with Jiu Jitsu is extremely important for injury prevention.  If a beginner is not conditioned, and they get arm bared or something gets tweaked the muscles may not be developed enough yet to protect it.  As you practice BJJ more and begin supplementing your training with strength training your body adapts, and is better able to handle these sticky situations.  It is important to give your body time to adapt, and not let your ego get in the way.  If you get caught in an arm bar in training don’t be a hero, and see how long your arm can last before it pops.  Tap and live to train another day, instead of being forced to sit on the side lines for weeks due to a hyper extended elbow.  You’re a beginner, you have so much to learn, so take the opportunity to ask questions after the roll about how to escape the arm bar correctly, or how to not get caught in it in the first place.  Enjoy your Jiu Jitsu journey, and soak up all the knowledge you can, by learning techniques rather than just hulking out of a bad situation risking injury to yourself, or your training partner.

We have a plethora of knowledgeable, and successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes.  The instructors are here ready to teach you valuable techniques and answer any questions you have, so take advantage of the opportunity to learn under them

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Training

Many of us are not able to train as much as we may like because of other responsibilities, so it’s important to make the most of every session.  Even if its just an extra 30 minutes of drilling before or after class it adds up and makes a huge difference.  It’s helpful to pay attention during your rolls, so you know where your weak points are, and where you need to plug holes in your game.  A lot of people find that drilling is also extremely helpful to make techniques more automatic, and to improve new techniques you want to add into your arsenal. Here are a few ways you can optimize every training session.

Train Gi and No Gi:

Many BJJ athletes favor either gi or no gi but it is important to train both if you want to be well rounded.  Each will help to improve the other in ways you may not even realize until you start training both styles.  Many times the style or technique we avoid is the one we’re not as good at, which means it’s the one we need to work on the most.

Train both sides:

There is a typical side everyone passes and plays guard towards which makes things more predictable.  Throw off your training partners by practicing passing to the other side and playing guard to the less popular side.  It will help you not be so lopsided and make you less predictable.  If you don’t want to do the same sweeps to both sides at least have something you like to do on the non dominant side, and the same applies to passing.

Don’t waste a single minute:

Jiu Jitsu is such a complicated sport with an overwhelming amount of techniques.  Make it easier on yourself and keep a journal of what you do every single day.  Write down the technique you covered in class, things you drilled or want to drill, and the problems you run into while sparing.  Don’t waste a single minute of mat time by lackadaisically going through class.  The faster you address the problems in your game the faster you can fix them and improve your Jiu Jitsu.











Start a spare with your weakest position:

If you are terrible at back control, drill back retention techniques and do specific sparing from the back.  Do not avoid a position when you don’t know what to do or you’re not good at it because one day you may be put there, and you need to have an answer for it.  You will never improve a weak position if you don’t practice it and address the problem.


When you come into class be ready to engage your mind, and push out any other distractions.  Jiu Jitsu is definitely a physical sport, but its very much a mental sport as well.  If you are not focused the class will pass you by before you know it, and you won’t retain the things you’ve learn.  This is where the notebook can come in handy if you have trouble remembering techniques, or if you are a kinesthetic learner grab a partner and drill the technique after class.

Make your spars count:

Make a conscious effort to remember what happens in your spars, positive or negative.  The people you spar with can also have a huge effect on the rate you improve.  Don’t always pick the easy rolls that don’t push you to that next level.  Pick someone who is at the same level as you to test your threshold and make it a tough back and forth fight, then pick someone who is better then you who will challenge you and find the holes in your game.  Use the easy rolls as a chance to work on your offense, sharpen timing, and drill new techniques.  Don’t let yourself be lazy when you’re rolling with a lower belt or you’re wasting time.


Enjoy your Jiu Jitsu journey!  Every loss and every win will teach you something, and every class is a chance to bring your game to the next level.

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