Fitness Goals in BJJ: How to prepare like a world champion


In BJJ, what do you want to achieve when you exercise? You want to improve your core strength, increase your muscle tone, achieve flexibility and agility, and burn body fats. You also want to improve your balance, cardiovascular endurance, and muscular endurance. You should be ready to work out regularly to improve faster and achieve your fitness goals

Your improvement in attaining a fit body may become useless if you have not documented the process. Writing down your fitness goals is the most important aspect of your health and fitness program. It helps you to retain more, work out efficiently and stay on your regime until you crush your goals. Also, it helps you see your progress and even your occasional lapses.

Why the Need to Document Your Fitness Regime?

There are benefits when you set your fitness goals and write them down. These include increasing your focus, helping you to instill it in your memory, boosting your self-confidence, and giving you the opportunity to be in control. Having fitness goals gives you direction, empowers you to make choices and guides you in considering your options.

For example, when you want to improve the flexibility of your knee joints, you formulate a plan. You may ask yourself, “What exercises are applicable in my situation?” so, you make a choice. Then you formulate your action plans. When you write them down on your planner, what do you think will happen? Your attention and motivation direct you to accomplish those fitness goals.

You might have asked the advice of your fitness instructor but, at the end of the day, it’s still your decision. Making your own decisions gives you more determination to stay on track. When you document your progress, it helps you decide if you made the right choice or not. If not, then you can correct it right away. Don’t invest your time and effort if you don’t get the expected results.

Here are the other benefits of documenting your fitness regime:

  • Proper documentation makes your goals measurable, specific, and time-bound.
  • You can focus on one goal at a time.
  • You understand your purpose, what’s driving you to reach your goal.
  • You can make your actions plans according to your capacity.
  • Helps you to become open-minded: embrace new ideas and consider different options.
  • Develops resiliency and patience. You’re not in a hurry to see results right away because you know that it’s a one-month process.
  • You can quantify your achievements whether you achieve your goal or not.
  • You have the basis of your observations and conclusions.
  • Allow you to identify your support systems such as your coach or trainer, mentor, family, and friends.

With all these benefits based on studies and experts’ opinions, you might be convinced by now to document your fitness goal and progress. When you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where and how to start, go back to the basic. Identify the problem first. Once this part is done, make plans. Ask your mentors or instructor of their inputs. You’re not alone in this endeavor.

How to Document Your Fitness Goals?

As a BJJ practitioner, you notice your progress clearly if you document your fitness regime. With the use of your pen and planner, you create evidence of how you develop your physique and performance on the mat. So, it keeps you motivated. If you’re motivated you keep on going, you want to achieve your fitness goals faster and up your game.

If you’re serious in making progress, then you must be serious also with your fitness documentation. Write everything down from the type of exercise, duration, number of repetitions, hydration, and diet. Yes, hydration and diet are part of your routine. You could not be successful in your workout if you don’t take enough fluid and practice clean eating.

  1. Streamline your fitness regime.

Here’s how to make your documentation efficient and effective:

  • Keep a planner where you create a worksheet to jot down your yearly, monthly or weekly fitness objectives.
  • Make the document simple and concise.
  • Conceptualize specific goals complete with timeline and action plans.
  • Keep separate documentation for every fitness program to avoid confusion. For example, one document for range-of-motion exercises and another for strengthening exercises.
  • Avoid covering the entire year. You can start a monthly goal aimed towards your yearly goal.
  • Give room for revisions if your present process does not work for you.
  • You can use a flow chart to highlight your fitness regime and make it more understandable.
  • Create a support group from whom you can get ideas what to write on your document.
  • At the end of the month, you can quantify your results such as “no injuries” or “I can now execute the kneebar.”

A streamlined process means accurate and fast. You avoid circumstance or factor that may delay your fitness regime thus fast-track your progress. A delay will impact on your resources, your training drive, your schedule, and may cause disappointment. So, the fitness worksheet provides you realistic expectations from yourself and from the people around you.

You want to work-out but later found out that you’ve become exhausted from your full-packed schedule. It may cause you to feel burn-out from the stress. With the worksheet on your planner, you can prioritize your activities, remove the unnecessary and focus on important things to do. If you’re serious with your BJJ, you must put your fitness goals ahead on your list.

  1. Keep a fitness worksheet on your BJJ planner.

For example, you can set a monthly goal with steps on how to achieve it. Here’s what a fitness worksheet looks like. You can follow this, or you can customize your own.

My goal for this month: Improve the flexibility and balance of my knee joint through low-impact exercises. Avoid knee injuries to keep my training on schedule.

How to accomplish my goal:

  1. Use the swim spa every Saturday and Sunday for 1 hour.
  2. Brisk walk every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for 30 minutes.
  3. Drink water at least 10 glasses a day.
  4. Hydrate after my walk or swim.
  5. Pack lunch to school (or work). Include vegetables and fatty fish such as salmon, quinoa, kale or broccoli, and red bell pepper.
  6. Fruits for dessert and snacks such as strawberries, grapes, and oranges.
  7. Berries smoothie or oatmeal with berries for breakfast.
  8. Drink blueberry or acai berry juice.
  9. Green tea instead of coffee.
  10. Stretching: warm-up before rolling and cool-down after rolling.

Observations: At the end of the month, I can execute the kneebar without feeling any pain on my knee. I can extend it in different positions during rolling.

If you have this worksheet on your BJJ planner, it’s easy to review your fitness goals and your steps on how to achieve them. You could not rely on your memory because you always tend to forget something if you’re busy. When in a hurry, after rolling, you go ahead and take a shower, get dressed then leave the gym. You forget to do your stretching to cool down.

Another example, just the simple matter of drinking water every day. You only remember when you feel thirsty which means you’re already dehydrated. If it’s included in your action plan, then you make a conscious effort to drink regularly even if you’re not thirsty yet. So, whatever you do, it’s deliberate, it’s intentional gearing towards your fitness goals.

When you have a written document of your progress, even after a week, you have already an idea of your fitness regime status. You can observe if you have improved or just remain on the status quo. Writing down your plans also helps you to consider your budget. Training requires resources, so you can plan your fitness regime within your financial capability.

  1. Make a flow-chart.

Your flow chart may look like this:

                                               My Fitness Goal for the Month of April 2019

Knee joint flexibility and balance

(Avoid knee injuries.)


Low-impact exercises

 Diet and nutrition


                            ↓                                                     ↓                                                                                                                                                  

Swimming every Sat and Sun for 1 hour.

Brisk walking every Mon to Fri for 30 mins.

Stretching: warm up and cool down.

                                                                                   ↓                                        ↓  

Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)

Whole grains (quinoa, oats, brown rice)

Fruits and veggies

(kale, broccoli, bok choy, spinach, red bell pepper, leafy greens)


Water, 10 glasses/day

Green tea and fruit juices

Smoothie (berries)


You can make it look better, using your own style. There’s a tendency that your documentation may become boring so, be creative. It inspires you to read and write if your creativity is flowing. Remember, when you train for BJJ, it’s not always critical thinking, you use also your creativity in your moves and techniques. So, let your imagination take flight!

Why a flowchart is important to your fitness regime documentation? It gives you a diagram, a graphic representation of your process. It’s a visualization technique to provide you a structured reference point. Most people are visuals, so most probably you’re too. When you see an image or a symbol, your brain can remember it easily, so you retain the information.

A flowchart is a workflow composed of steps represented by the different boxes and arrows that show the connection of every step as you can see from the illustration. It helps you to understand the different factors and the interrelationships between them. You would know that diet, nutrition, and hydration contribute to your overall joint health not only the exercises.

The flowchart communicates how the process works as in your case how your action plans work towards your fitness goal. If your plans do not work, you can adjust. For example, if brisk walking does not help you, you can switch to jogging and cycling. If it is more convenient for you at home, you can buy treadmills or elliptical and recumbent bike.

How Fitness Documentation Supports Your BJJ Training?

  1. Quality not the quantity of training

When you think of the hours and efforts you spent on your BJJ training, not including your expense, you want to make use of those resources wisely. Documentation of your fitness regime gives you exactly that. You get quality of training because you have focused fitness strategies. Make your time productive even if you only spend 2 hours in the gym every day.

You could not advance to another level of the jiu-jitsu hierarchy if you have not acquired the necessary skills and knowledge. By documenting your fitness regime, you can develop your weaknesses and capitalize on your strength. You solve your specific needs using specific solutions. As a result, you conserve your energy, time, and money while getting the most of it.

  1. Advanced planning

Your fitness regime documentation enables you to plan. Being proactive rather than reactive. What does it mean? You foresee a future problem, so you act on it before it occurs.  For example, during your rolling, you noted that you have stiff muscles on your knees from the pressure and strain of the game. You don’t wait for an injury to occur, you act immediately.

Get your BJJ planner, adjust your existing fitness program to include range-of-motion exercises. ROM exercises cause your knee joints to move in different directions, to be more flexible and stronger. Make another worksheet for this since you have different goal and action plans. You’re going to do hip and knee ROM exercises using the ROM exercise machine.

By advanced planning, you avoid being injured. What gives you the observation? From documenting your fitness program. You’re putting all your notes there on the “Observations” box. You have the basis for deciding you need the ROM exercises as well as the low-impact exercises to improve your flexibility and strength.

  1. Having a purpose

When you set your goals, you have a purpose. If your goals have been translated into written words, they become clearer. So, you understand the reason behind your actions. You understand that you need to pursue your fitness regime regularly to make your joints, muscles, and bones strong and flexible. You know the purpose of achieving your fitness goals.

Training with a purpose is developing yourself of skills and knowledge of what you want to be. If you want to be a champion, then train with specific goals of improving your performance on the mat through your fitness program and documenting it so it becomes productive. You can be sure that you attain your best when it comes to your skills in executing your moves and techniques.

  1. Proper hydration

When you’re properly hydrated, your body absorbed the right amount of liquid to function well. Proper hydration ensures you maintain the balance of electrolytes and water in your body. Water is needed in your metabolism. Your blood is composed 92% of water and carries oxygen and nutrients to different parts of your body.

When you’re in your workout, water regulates your body temperature by producing sweat. When you don’t replenish the amount of water and electrolytes lost during your exercise, you become dehydrated. Your sweat glands produce less perspiration resulting in overheating of your body causing you to have symptoms like headache, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.

Having hydration as one of your action plans keep you from getting health issues when you’re in your exercise regime. When rolling, you feel fit and healthy so, you can concentrate on developing your skills and techniques.  You improve faster, you retain more information since you have better cognitive functions when properly hydrated.

  1. Balanced diet and nutrition

A balanced diet is consuming your daily nutrition requirements based on your activities, age, and body structure. When you’re a BJJ practitioner with a fitness regime, your nutrition requirements are not the same as that of an individual who does not play. You need a higher amount of macro and micronutrients than the regular guy.

You have special dietary requirements such as the anti-inflammatory diet. Why? Because you experience the tear and wear of your muscles and ligaments, you put them on a great strain as you grapple with your opponent. So, what you eat and what you drink should support your training. Including them on your steps to achieve your fitness goals is a smart idea.

Can you just eat how much you want? Of course not. You also practice portion control. Clean eating and portion control are two basic requirements of a balanced diet. It’s important to take supplements such as B vitamins and vitamin C to reduce inflammation in your body. You can put this in your action plans if you may think you don’t get enough from the food that you eat.

The Verdict?

What is it to be, planner or no planner? You already know the benefits of having a documented fitness program for your BJJ training. If you want to become a great BJJ player, you must regularly document everything connected to it: your fitness program including your exercises, diet, and hydration.

Your mind is an incredible tool to achieve your fitness goals. You need to feed it with information, so it can process and retain it. BJJ requires analytical thinking to learn and execute correct techniques. If you have this information available on your planner as you document your journey, you will be successful in achieving your BJJ goals.