October 25, 2023
Just a week separates fans of the gentle art from the biggest event of the year. The Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, in its 15th edition, schedule to star at November 1st, will feature ten days of action, with athletes from all around the world fighting for their place at the top of the podium in their respective weight, age, and belt divisions.
For the warriors in the professional category, there’s an additional challenge besides rising to the top of their brackets: the dreaded weigh-ins. To learn more about how the great champions prepare to be in the right shape to compete, we interviewed renowned athletes at lighter weights, who have historically pushed their bodies to the limit in their quest to overcome the scale. From Abu Dhabi, black belt Sultan Alowais explained his routine to avoid unpleasant surprises at the weigh-ins. Then, representing Brazil, Leonardo Mario also shares his tricks to reach the 62kg goal.
At 27 years of age and representing Sharjah Self-defence Sports Club in the black belt division, Emirati Sultan Alowais arrives as number 2 in the 62kg division seed. Whether it’s the eve of a tournament or any other day of the year, Sultan keeps himself always ready for a challenge with a healthy and thoroughly planned diet.
«I usually weigh around 68 kgs, so my weight cut preparation starts early», said Sultan. «I try to be as professional as I can, having a nutritionist that helps me. I also signed up to a healthy food delivery company, which sends me just the food I need daily.»
When tournaments like the ADWPJJC draw near, Sultan puts himself into an even more restricted routine, aiming to lower his weight safely, without giving up the quality of his diet or taking unnecessary risks such as sudden dehydration days before fighting.
«My regular go is 1800-2200 calories per day, focusing on proteins. If I had a hard day training, I can add up to 400 additional calories. As the competition week comes, my water intake increases and my food decreases. Training also helps with sweating a lot. Two days before the weigh-ins, I’m usually 1 to 1.5kg above weight.»
After beating the scales, Sultan has another trick to successfully recover all the nutrients and minerals lost on his crusade to hit 62kg. The black belt relies on fruits and enriched liquids to have a good recovery.
«As soon I weigh in, I drink a liter of water mixed with carbs and sodium, wait a bit then eat rice and chicken, then lots of fruits like watermelon, grapes, banana, and pineapples. Those fruits are my personal choices, and maybe they’re not so good to retain energy, but I still enjoy them more than anything. I take all of that while drinking water along the way, and then I also repeat the water with carbs and sodium two more times throughout the day.»
Representing Brazil and the Cicero Costha team, black belt Leonardo Mario has a schedule with the exact types of food he’ll need at all stages of his weight-cut routine, all planned out by nutritionist Karina Valentim. From breakfast to dinner, everything is carefully weighed, but Leonardo is so dedicated to his weight that he writes down twice a day how much he weighs, gradually dropping from 70kg to the 64kg that he maintains as he flies to Abu Dhabi, ready to cut down the remaining two kilos safely in the UAE.
«I start to intensify my diet restrictions three weeks before the championship,» Leonardo explains. «All my meals are focused on improving my training and losing weight. My first workout is from 10 am until 12 pm. Before this workout, I eat corn couscous, eggs, and bananas, with multivitamins. After training, I eat rice and beans with meat, chicken or fish, and lots of greens. In the afternoon, when I have a physical workout, I eat bananas with peanut butter. For dinner, I go for proteins and vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots, and others.»
With his body accustomed to more restrictive diets, Leonardo has essentially trained his metabolism to process his weight reduction better after a couple of weeks into the harsher routine. Combined with an intense intake of liquids, varying between 8 and 12 liters per day, Leonardo arrives one day before weighing in at his goal of 64kg. After beating the scales, the black belt’s recovery is still controlled.
«In addition to electrolytes and Gatorade with lots of water, I like to consume coconut water, apples, and other fruits. For lunch, usually pasta and a peanut butter sandwich. Before sleep, eggs and bacon, to have lots of energy the next day.»
It’s worth remembering that Sultan Alowais and Leonardo Mario’s diets are just examples, planned out by professionals according to each athlete’s biological traits. What about you? How do you prepare for big competitions like the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship? If you want to see how your favorite athletes will fight after beating the scales, don’t miss out on the ADWPJJC fight week, from November 1st to the 10th, live at TX7.ae !