Cutting Weight for Jiu Jitsu Worlds on Rob’s Diet

I was fortunate to travel to Las Vegas last weekend to compete in IBJFF No-Gi Worlds. This is a huge event, with 4,000 competitors competing in a tournament-style event divided amongst various divisions. Coming from a small gym in Montana where competitions are sparse, I thought it would be a fun way to challenge myself and see where I was compared to others in my division.

My weight is normally 210-213 and fairly lean… likely around 10-11% body fat. I registered in the 202 lbs, purple belt, master 2 (36-40) division. In the heavier weight classes, there is a big incentive to cut down, as the next two divisions are 215 (Super Heavy) and 215+ (Ultra Heavy). Had I signed up for super-heavy, I was likely to face some very large dudes who had cut from 230+ (who didn’t want to face off with the 275’ers).

Anyone who wrestled competitively will likely scoff at my weight cut… 8-11 lbs is nothing to them, but it was a first for me. I’ve never cut for other competitions, and it was an interesting experience.

I decided to use Rob’s Protein Shake Diet. Simply put, you drink protein shakes throughout the day and eat one meal at dinner. I trained BJJ 5-6 days a week and utilized the Daily BJJ/Grappling Programming as my strength and conditioning supplement.

The BJJ training was intense, as there was a group of 6-7 teammates traveling to compete in Vegas. For our 8-week ‘camp’, there was no instruction period, just 1.5 hours of rolling, including positional and short, high-intensity rounds. Very fun.

I naturally cut 5lbs from the volume and intensity increase in the first four weeks. The four weeks leading up to the competition, I started Rob’s diet. This was my daily routine:

  • 10 am: Protein Shake
  • 2 pm: Protein Shake (maybe adding a bit of blended mixed berries and spinach)
  • 4:30-5 pm: Dinner… usually a large one. Steak or chicken, rice, and veggies.

I cut out alcohol and sweets, and the weight started to come off. About 10 days before the competition, I was on weight. I found the diet to be very manageable, although by 4 pm I was damn hungry. It is amazing how quickly your stomach will shrink, and the dinner portions went from XXL to L quickly.

7 days before the competition, a series of minor disasters struck. One of my ribs slightly popped out, and I destroyed my ankle on a trail run. I had to take off several days to let these heal and ended up spending a lot of time on an assault bike doing steady-state aerobic work. These injuries ended up not having any effect on my competition performance but were a challenge in managing weight.

The downside to a competition this big is that you weigh in about 15-20 minutes before your first match, which might be at 8 am or 5 pm. My bracket didn’t start until 4:30. A long day of watching matches, taking tiny sips of water, and an empty stomach. Bummer.

Around 3:30 I weighed myself on a test scale, and I was about 1.5 lbs over. I expected this, and brought a hoody and sweatpants to get a quick sweat in. After some light jogging and very light rolls with a teammate, I was perfectly on weight – 202.0 lbs. I felt great and was moving well.

My first match opponent didn’t show, and my second match opponent didn’t make weight! Ultimately, I lost my first real match to what I can say is the most flexible human being I’ve ever seen (not something I expected in the Heavy division). I got the takedown and a guard pass, at which point my opponent slapped on an incredibly tight buggy choke. After 1:30 min stuck in that, I finally gave the tap. This guy had gotten 4-5 submissions with the same move in his last tournament. I had to laugh. Maybe I’ll watch some tape next time.

Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the efficiency of the tournament. Matches were on time and seemed to be well-refereed. It’s also amazing to watch the professionals… those guys and gals are absolute monsters! I’d recommend competing or watching IBJFF tournaments if you’re into jiu jitsu, as it’s one of those fringe sports where you still rub elbows with the pro’s and get a front-row seat to watch them compete.

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