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How Many Calories Does Jiu Jitsu Burn? A Quick BJJ Weight Loss Guide

On average the basic BJJ (Brazilian jiu jitsu) class burned 575 calories and an advanced bjj class ( which includes more sparring*) burned 750 calories based on a 190 lb male.

How Many Calories Does Jiu Jitsu Burn – Answered

I was also very curious myself so I trained an entire week while using my apple watch to track my heart rate and calories burned, and here are my findings:

Again, the basic bjj class burned 575 calories and an advanced bjj class (more sparring*) burned 750 calories based on a 190 lb male.

Keep in mind two important things*:

  1. There are several variables that go into how many calories bjj burns such as height, weight, sex, intensity, and experience level (the numbers shown here are the averages for me)
  2. Fitness trackers and heart rate monitors such as the apple watch I used are definitely not 100% accurate so the numbers provided are an estimate

Fool Proof Method on Finding Out How Many Calories Jiu Jitsu Burns for You

To really find out how many calories does jiu jitsu burn for you, I strongly recommend doing the below:

  • Weighing in every other day for two weeks (to get an avg weight)
  • Keep bjj training (and other strenuous activities) consistent over those two weeks
  • Maintain as consistent daily calories as possible

If you find your are maintaining the same weight, losing weight, or gaining weight this would be the best way to find out how jiu jitsu training affects your daily calories and weight.

This little experiment would be the best way to find out how many calories jiu jitsu burns based on your own factors (height, weight, sex, activity level, intensity)

My findings over the week of training are specific to me and my current statistics. Furthermore, this will also depend on the type of bjj class you take and the activities performed within each class.

In an average bjj you can expect the below activities:

  • Warm ups (~10 minutes) these are jiu jitsu related movements that are performed in the beginning of class to help prepare students for the rest of class. These movements are also likely seen commonly when rolling or in live situations. Some common movements may be shrimping, forward rolls, backward rolls, and granby’s (side rolls)

  • Drilling/Guided Instruction (~30-45 minutes): after warm ups generally the instructor will present a technique to the class. They will likely perform the technique in front of the class several times with a partner and answer any questions the class might have. After the technique is shown, you will then be paired off or put in small groups in order to practice the technique. During this time the coach or instructor will make their rounds throughout the class and answer any questions that may come up

  • Positional and/or live sparring (~15-30 minutes): after the guided portion of the class, then comes the last phase which is usually live sparring of some sort. This is when you are paired off with a partner and attempt to successfully perform any grappling or jiu jitsu techniques on a resisting opponent. These are usually split up into several rounds lasting anywhere from 5-7 minutes each. After a round is over, you are generally paired up with another partner either by your coach or by your own choice. 
  • Cool down (2-5 minutes): Many gyms implement a cool down period after the live portion of this class. This may involve some light stretching or light movements to end the class

In an advanced bjj class, usually, there is more emphasis placed on live sparring and less on drilling (which is why I showed burning more calories in those classes).

However, these can be used as a general guide to estimate how many calories you may burn in an average jiu jitsu class.

If you are wondering how Brazilian jiu jitsu matches up with other activities in terms on the amount of calories you may burn, here is a quick chart based the stats of a 180 lb male:

Activity:Avg calories burned for 30 minutes of activity:
BJJ Sparring*365
*These stats are for a 180lb male

Is BJJ Good for Weight Loss?

The short answer to “is bjj good for weight loss?” is YES, but keep in mind that calories are king. You must be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.

If you are burning more calories than you are consuming (you are in a caloric deficit) and you will lose weight

Your body can only take so much physical, strenuous activity in a day or even in a week so its important to place priority on consuming less calories instead of just continually increasing activities to burn calories.

As with any physical activity, keep in mind diminishing returns of bjj training – you can only train so many times a week before your run into over training, injuries, and sickness:

For me, after 10 bjj sessions a week, I often don’t feel fully recovered, get burnt out, injured, or even pick up a cold. This is why importance should be placed on subtracting calories.

The benefits of jujitsu are that it burns lots of calories, so you’ll lose fat and weight very quickly.

I would aim to train bjj at least 3 times a week while staying in a calorie deficit and you’ll notice massive changes within a month or two (see feature image of myself at the beginning of this post).

A calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body burns

If you are consuming less calories than you are eating, and you are burning calories with bjj training you will, undoubtedly, lose weight.

How Much Weight Can You Lose While Doing BJJ?

The amount of weight that one can lose while doing BJJ depends on various factors such as the individual’s current weight, the intensity and frequency of training sessions, and complementary changes made to their diet and lifestyle.

A consistent BJJ practitioner who trains several times a week and maintains a reasonable caloric deficit can expect to lose anywhere from 4 to 8 pounds (1.8 to 3.6 kg) per month, with higher amounts potentially achievable in the early stages of training.

BJJ helps to create a more significant calorie deficit not only from the physical training but it also teaches mental discipline, leading to healthier eating habits and potentially reduced calorie intake.

One big advantage that BJJ has over other forms of exercise for weight loss is its engaging and enjoyable nature.

Many people find BJJ to be a fun and addictive way to exercise, which contributes to higher levels of motivation and commitment. This increased adherence to training can lead to more consistent and long-term weight loss results.

How to Maximize Calories Burned with Jiu Jitsu

To maximize the number of calories burned during Jiu Jitsu practice, it’s crucial to focus on certain aspects and modify your training approach:

  • Intensity
  • variety
  • consistency

are three critical factors that can significantly impact your caloric expenditure and overall fitness gains in Jiu Jitsu.

On Intensity

First, increasing the intensity of your sessions will always help you burn more calories during training.

There’s a reason why I burned more calories in the advanced classes – its because there is more live sparring

This can be achieved by engaging in more sparring, working on high-intensity drills, and minimizing rest periods throughout your practice. Keep in mind that it’s essential to maintain a balance between intensity and recovery to prevent over training and potential injuries.

On Variety

Incorporating variety into your Jiu Jitsu training is another way to enhance calorie burning. By introducing new techniques, drills, and strength and conditioning exercises, you can challenge your body in different ways and prevent the adaptation that can slow down your progress.

A diverse workout regimen not only keeps the training fun and engaging but also ensures that you work on various muscle groups and aspects of your physical fitness.

On Consistency

Finally, maintaining consistency in your Jiu Jitsu training is probably the most important factor when it comes to caloric expenditure and achieving long-term weight loss and fitness goals. You have to be there to bur calories.

Make sure to attend classes regularly, set realistic goals, and be patient with your progress. Refining techniques and building strength, endurance, and flexibility are essential components of Jiu Jitsu training, and achieving these goals takes time and dedication. By staying consistent with your practice and focusing on improvement, you’ll burn more calories, develop better skills, and ultimately gain the full benefits of Jiu Jitsu as an effective calorie-burning martial art.

How to Track Calories Burned During Jiu Jitsu

Efficitvely monitoring calories you burn during jiu jitsu can be tricky and even with the most accurate methods these may not offer the most exact measurements. (that’s why recommend tracking your calories/activity weekly to better understand your metabolic rate).

The first step is to determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which is the number of calories your body needs to maintain basic functions like breathing and maintaining body temperature.

An estimate of this value can be found using an online calculator or by consulting a fitness professional.

Next, consider factors such as your weight, age, and training intensity to estimate your overall caloric expenditure.

One vital aspect to track is your heart rate. By monitoring heart rate changes during a Jiu Jitsu session, you can gauge workout intensity and correlate it with caloric burn.

Additionally, pay attention to factors like time spent rolling, the pace of the class, your grip strength, and overall level of exertion. These factors combined, will give you a more accurate picture of the overall calories burned during your Jiu Jitsu practice.

Heart Rate Monitors, Fitness Trackers, Smartwatches, Apps, & Calorie Counters

Several devices and tools are available to help you track the calories burned during Jiu Jitsu sessions – while these may not be 100% accurate they can help you get a decent gauge of your calorie expenditure during training.

Heart rate monitors provide direct data on your cardio’s intensity and can help you determine the level of exertion. Chest strap-style heart rate monitors are known for their accuracy, while wrist-based monitors offer convenience and may be less intrusive. Some popular brands include Polar, Garmin, and Wahoo.

Fitness trackers and smartwatches often come with built-in heart rate monitors, offering a comprehensive tracking suite. These devices can measure not only your heart rate but also steps, distance, and overall caloric expenditure. Some popular fitness trackers include the Fitbit Versa, Apple Watch, and Garmin Vivoactive series.

Alongside wearable devices, numerous smartphone apps can help monitor calories burned during Jiu Jitsu. These applications may integrate with fitness trackers or use your phone’s sensors to track movement, steps, and heart rate. MyFitnessPal, Strava, and Under Armour’s UA Record are examples of popular apps that can track your workout.

Again, while utilizing a combination of tools and technology is beneficial, it is essential to remember these measurements are estimates.

Can You Wear a Heart Rate Monitor, Fitness Tracker, or SmartWatch during BJJ Training?

Yes, wearing a heart rate monitor, fitness tracker, or smartwatch during training can provide valuable insights into your physical state and help you track your fitness progress in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

However, I would wear them at your own risk, BJJ is intense so there is always a chance of them being damaged during training. Also I would strongly recommend covering them during training (ie. if you are using a smart watch – you can cover it with a wrist wrap/brace)

These devices can monitor aspects such as your heart rate, workout intensity, and calories burned. However, it’s essential to choose a comfortable and secure wearable that won’t interfere with your movements or cause any discomfort during training.

For optimal results, select a device designed for high-intensity physical activities like BJJ, with features that include waterproof design, durable construction, and accurate sensors.

It’s also crucial that the device remains snugly in place during training to prevent any distractions, shifts, or discomfort during intense grappling sessions.

Side note: While using wearable devices in BJJ can offer valuable data about your fitness and performance, it’s essential to remember that they are purely supplemental tools, logging your weight, daily caloric intake, and training sessions will likely give you a better gauge of weight loss.

Why it’s Challenging to Accurately Measure Calories Burned in BJJ

Accurately measuring calories burned in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be challenging for several reasons.

  • First, BJJ is a dynamic sport that involves complex movements and techniques that vary based on factors such as weight, experience, intensity, and individual fitness levels.
    • Consequently, the energy expended in BJJ varies significantly from person to person and even between individual training sessions.
  • Second, BJJ training often includes a combination of stretching, drilling, technique practice, and sparring, each with varying intensities and energy demands.
    • This variation makes it difficult to pinpoint a standard calorie expenditure that applies to every practitioner across all aspects of BJJ training. Factors such as the total duration of each activity and the individual’s proficiency in applying techniques also contribute to differences in caloric burn.
  • Finally, individual metabolic rates and body composition play critical roles in the number of calories burned during any physical activity, including BJJ.
    • As a result, two practitioners with different body compositions, despite engaging in the same training session, can experience dissimilar caloric expenditures.
      • To gain an accurate understanding of your personal caloric burn during BJJ training, consult with a fitness professional or dietitian who can assess your unique physical attributes and help devise a tailored approach to measuring your energy expenditure.

Weight loss, BJJ, and Calories Burned

To sum up, if you are looking to find our how many calories does jiu jitsu burn and how bjj can help with weight loss, I hope this provided some insight.

Remember, calories are king, you can’t out train a bad diet even with jiu jitsu. So make sure you are in a caloric deficit and try to guarantee that by training hard and burning calories on the mat with bjj.

These are things I wish I knew when I first started trying to lose weight with bjj.

So, I wish you the best of luck on your own bjj weight loss journey! – Zack

Other Related Questions (FAQ)

Does BJJ Build Muscle?

Yes, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) helps build muscle, as it requires the activation and exertion of various muscle groups during its intense training sessions. However, don’t expect to gain muscle in the same sense of targeted weight training.

Practitioners utilize their whole body to perform BJJ techniques, which in turn develops muscular strength and endurance. One advantage of BJJ is its focus on functional strength, which enables individuals to perform practically applicable movements in everyday life.

Various BJJ exercises require extensive engagement of upper and lower body muscles. For instance, during takedowns and grappling, practitioners stimulate major muscle groups such as the chest, back, and shoulders. Moreover, ground-based techniques like sweeps and escapes call upon core and leg muscles for stability and power.

Side note: Practitioners also develop grip strength from gripping opponents’ gi and controlling their limbs during matches.

Although BJJ is not primarily focused on muscle gain like conventional weight training, consistent practice and improved technique lead to some (minimal) increased muscle mass and definition for most individuals.

How many days a week should I do BJJ?

Determining the ideal frequency for BJJ practice depends on various factors such as personal goals, physical fitness, schedule, and current experience level. Generally, practitioners who aim for rapid improvement, enhanced fitness, or competition-level skills should train more frequently, while those with recreational goals or schedule limitations may train less often.

Related: Our full breakdown on the optimal number of days you should train bjj per week

For beginners, it is advisable to train two to three times per week, allowing for ample recovery time and avoiding potential injuries.

As their fitness level and technique improve, they can gradually increase their training frequency.

Intermediate and advanced practitioners often choose to train four to six days per week, with some even opting for two sessions a day. Training at this intensity enhances muscle memory, promotes rapid skill development, and improves overall fitness, but a strong focus should always be on recovery and injury prevention.