Do I Need to Be in Shape to Start BJJ?

Adults interested in starting BJJ tend to have questions, and chief among them relates to whether they’re physically fit enough to start or if it makes more sense to lose weight first. It’s a good question with an easy answer. Just come as you are.

Getting In Shape is a Perk

Among the many benefits of BJJ is the physical aspect. Honestly, if you’re showing up consistently, you really can’t help but get in shape. Every time you train, you’ll be engaging in a full-body workout with plenty of high-intensity intervals. That’s a great recipe for improving your physique. Plus, participating in an activity you really enjoy can have a wonderful cumulative effect. That means you want to support your efforts on the mat with things like better nutrition choices and lots of recovery time. And while you train, you’ll register the hard work, but it doesn’t have the same sense of “slog” as, say, going out for a run or huffing through a spin class.

While you may have a bit of advantage if you’re coming to the mat with a decent baseline fitness level than you would if you’re rolling in straight off the couch, it really doesn’t matter that much.

One of the great things about BJJ is that it’s accessible to so many people. Regardless of your body type, composition, height, or weight, you can learn and eventually master all the techniques we teach. In just about any BJJ class, you’ll see a broad representation of various body types and levels of athleticism. Some people will be slim and agile. Others will be big and bulky. Still others will be strong and quick or surprisingly flexible. There are advantages and disadvantages no matter what you’re bringing to the table, but the result is consistent if you’re putting in the work — you’ll get better.

Setting Realistic Expectations

The best way to approach this is to be realistic. If you can’t remember the last time you worked out, you’re going to be deeply aware of your current fitness level during your first class. And that’s not going to change for a while. But it’s also true that mat cardio in general sucks for most people when they first begin, even for folks who are pretty active. Grappling is a different kind of activity that emphasizes technique, breathwork, and efficiency, and there’s definitely a learning curve. Recognizing the challenge for what it is can help you mentally prepare, no matter how fit — or unfit — you may currently be.

Finally, you’ll be surprised how quickly you begin building endurance and improving your physique. The key, of course, is consistency, so do yourself a favor and plan to roll pretty regularly. If it’s a once-a-week thing, every class will be hard.

Ready to get started?

It can be intimidating to start something new, and if you’re self-conscious about your fitness, it’s downright nerve-wracking. Don’t let that hold you back — join us at Guerrilla BJJ in Reno today. You’re welcome just as you are.

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