Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How many Calories do we burn in BJJ?

How many Calories do we burn in BJJ?
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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an endurance sport when it comes to training, much like the marathon runner or a cyclist. A BJJ tournament will tax an athlete as they will need to have the ability to fight several times and each individual match will have periods of high intensity sprinting. So fighters need to train their body to handle both areas of energy output and thus need to consume calories to fuel such activity. A serious BJJ fighter will train as much as any runner. A two hour long class can burn a tremendous amount of calories. The fact is that an athlete who is putting in long sessions at the gym may burn several thousand kcals a day. Look at U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and his training diet as an example. To meet the potential needs of an athlete will require huge amounts of nutritional planning to meet their dietary goals. This may not always fit into an athletes schedule, but will be necessary to ensure adequate stores of energy for the next day’s training. Sometimes eating can be one of the more difficult aspects of an athletes trainng regime and certainly one of the more confusing undertakings. The key to fitting in calories on a tight schedule is to have many small nutrient dense snacks that are high in calories spaced throughout the day. To determine the best amount of calories to consume, you need to get an idea of how many calories you burn. Below is a table with estimates on calories burned per hour per pound of body weight for various activities common in BJJ training. Considering the importance that Jiu Jitsu fighters place on maintaining weight for competition this is an area that fighters need to research heavily.  Keep in mind that each individual is unique and burns varying amounts based on age, metabolism, goals, time of day training, weight, training partners etc...etc... This is simply a guide to give you a general idea. 

Type of Activity
Calories burned per hour
per pound of body weight
Basketball (shooting around)
Boxing (Bag Work)
Boxing  (Sparring)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (light)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Intense)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (competition)
Close to 300-500 calories/hr in 5 mins Pace cannot be maintained for an entire hour
Calisthenics (push ups, sit ups etc)
Circuit training
Cycling ( med pace)
Jump rope (medium)
Jump rope (fast)
Kick Boxing
Rowing machine (light)
Running (fast mile)
Running (Jog)
Running Stairs
Stairmaster machine
Stretching (Yoga) light
Swimming (med pace)
Weight lifting (light)
Weight lifting (intense)
Wrestling (light practice)
Wrestling (competition)
Close to 300-500/hr calories in 5 mins Pace cannot be maintained for an entire hour

To determine your approximate calories burned, you need to multiply the number of calories burned per hour by your body weight. If you go to a typical BJJ class, you may undergo a training routine similar to this.

5 minutes of stretching 

10 minutes of calisthenics

15 minutes of techniques

30 minutes of rolling

At 175 pounds the following equations would work for me.

Take the Calories burned per hour per pound of body weight value. Multiply that by your body weight in pounds. Divide that by 60 minutes and you are left with how many calories you burn each minute at your given weight. Multiply that by the number of minutes you engage in that activity. That will give you your calories burned.

Stretching                         (1.81 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 5 mins = 26 calories for 5 minutes

Calisthenics                      (2.43 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 10 mins= 79 calories for 10 minutes

BJJ technique                  (3.25 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 15 mins= 142 calories for 15 minutes

Rolling                              (4.87 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 30 mins= 426 calories for 30 minutes


26 + 79 + 142 + 426 = 706 total calories

Add another ½ hour for training/sparring and that number is up to 1132 calories.

How much extra work done in a day varies based on lifestyle. But when you adjust this formula to meet the individual needs and goals of Jiu Jitsu students, there is a great variation among all levels of athlete concerning their diets and required caloric intake. You will obviously not burn as many calories if you are not working very hard and simply watching a class. Perhaps you are going really hard the entire time, doing lots of take downs and drills and will burn more calories. It is up to the coach and athlete to stay motivated and maintain a good workout effort and pace designed to meet the training goals for the best results in their practices to make progress in BJJ.

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  1. This is awesome! Thanks for the info...I never knew how many calories I went through but now i can figure it out

  2. Is getting choked aerobic or anaerobic?

  3. "Close to 300-500 calories/hr in 5 mins Pace cannot be maintained for an entire hour" <- I do not understand. why "/ hr" (hour) and 5 min so 1 hr or 5 min. Could you please explain. BTW very useful article!. Thanks.

  4. Sorry, I understand :) 300 - 500 / heart rate. Good Job. I have waited for such an article for a long time :) awesome!

  5. Yet, I don't understand 300 - (500 / hr). HR has almost no influence. by HR=100 the result is 295 and by HR=200 the result is 297,5.

  6. Keeping track of what you eat may help you lose weight faster

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Why would the comp number be smaller than the intense roll?

    1. Pretty sure they are saying in 5 minutes you may burn 300-500 calories during intense struggle. This would mean you are burning anywhere from 3600 calories-6000 calories/hour.

      True or not.? I do not know

  9. It's the same concept with sprinting. The expenditure of calories that you would exert over the course of a quarter-mile cannot be sustained over the course of a marathon. It's pretty easy to calculate calories expended by taking a look online at various resources as to the average calories burned per activity. It's pretty easy to calculate calories expended by taking a look online at various resources as to the average calories burned per activity figure out what your class consists of in terms of warm-up activities and the degree of intensity you exert working out. You'll be able to come up with a pretty good ballpark figure for how many calories you can burn doing BJJ

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    We'll do 3 superset pairs, each for 1-3 sets, and stick to 8
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    intervals of 30-60 seconds (with 60-120 seconds rest between each).
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    On "off days", we'd still get at least 30 minutes, if not 60
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    cardio. Instead, we'd focus on low-intensity bodyweight training.
    For example, if the actor can do a maximum of 25 bodyweight squats,
    15 pushups, and 5 chinups, we would use easier versions of those
    exercises in circuits.

    Here's a sample 6 exercise bodyweight circuit that we'd do at least
    3 times, doing 10 reps per exercise.

    Wall Squat
    Kneeling Pushup
    Beginner Inverted Bodyweight Row
    Stability Ball Leg Curl
    Mountain Climber

    After that, we might cross train with a variety of cardio exercises
    to avoid overuse injuries that occur when you repeatedly do the
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    So that's pretty much it. If he (or she) sticks to their nutrition,
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  14. Hi
    I understand the whole calorie thing. I would like to find out what would be my average or estimate amount of steps I do during a training of 1 hour and 30 mins. I would really like to add it into my Fitbit tracking but since I don't wear it during class I have to enter the activity manually.


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