Am I Too Fat For BJJ? Why Your Extra Weight Can Help

If you have stacked on the pounds over the years you might be hesitant about throwing yourself into the deep end and training Jiu Jitsu. Not to fear we will show you why delaying your BJJ journey any longer won’t help.

Am I Too Fat For BJJ?

You are not too fat for BJJ. BJJ can be adapted to suit people of all sizes. Larger people also have an advantage and find it easier to control and submit smaller athletes. Just pace yourself and take breaks when needed.

These are the reasons why people think they should lose weight before starting Jiu Jitsu:

  • Lack of cardio – As a big guy or girl you may feel it a bit more than your other training partners but that is perfectly fine. You can just pace yourself and take breaks as needed. Even if you had 6 pack abs and were fit as a fiddle you would most likely be gasping for during your first few Jiu Jitsu sessions anyway.
  • Poor mobility – While flexibility does help in BJJ it is not a requirement. The fundamental movements in BJJ do not require much mobility and with 100s to choose from there is a good chance you will be decent at some of them.
  • Body Shame – Don’t worry they make Jiu Jitsu Gis to fit people of all sizes. There are lots of super heavyweight BJJ practitioners out there. If you are signing up to a No-gi class you do not need to wear a skin-tight rashguard. You can just throw on your favorite t-shirt.
  • Won’t be able to perform the techniques – An amazing aspect of BJJ is that it can be easily and quickly adapted to meet the needs of the athlete. Your coach will be able to help you and find techniques that work for your body. And don’t worry about feeling silly if you can’t do a certain technique, even black belts struggle to perform techniques that don’t suit them.
  • Injure themselves or training partners – If you use the correct technique and are mindful with your weight when training with much lighter partners the chance of you getting injured or of you hurting someone else is very low. BJJ is one of the safest full-contact martial arts you can do.

Now we have got the main reasons many overweight potential BJJ athletes talk themselves out of signing up lets look at why getting in shape before practicing Jiu Jitsu is nonsense.

Specific training is the most effective – You don’t get better at bike riding by swimming. Guess what? To get good at BJJ you need to train BJJ. While it is nice to show up to a BJJ gym with abs and some healthy looking biceps that won’t help you much. There is no point delaying your journey because every day you wait you are pushing your Jiu Jitsu goals further and further away.

You aren’t going to get in shape – Let’s face it you most likely are never going to get in shape and are just using it as a convenient excuse to not try Jiu Jitsu. If you wanted to get in shape you would have done it beforehand. It is unlikely the thought of trying a new hobby that you don’t even know if you like will turn you into a gym junkie. Don’t worry about your current fitness levels, just use BJJ to get you in shape.

How do you know when you are in shape? – Getting into shape can mean so many different things to different people. How long are you going to train until you are ready for BJJ? Are you going to lose 20 pounds, 40 pounds, run a 5 minute mile, or bench press 300 pounds. These are all arbitrary numbers that have nothing to do with BJJ. It is all in your mind. This isn’t Disneyland there aren’t height or weight restrictions to step on the mat. The time for procrastinating is over. BJJ is the only exercise you need to lose the pounds.

What if I told you that being fat can make you better at BJJ. Here some advantages of being fat on the Jiu Jitsu mats:

  • Hard to takedown – The heavier someone is the more difficult it is to take them down. Wrestling has weight classes for a reason. This is because it requires more power to off balance them and overweight grapplers can use their weight to generate huge amounts of force to defend takedowns. Trust me you are going to make people think about quitting BJJ when you sprawl on top of them.
  • Easy to control people – Your opponents have little chance of escaping when you pin them to the mat in side control or mount. Just relax and let them carry all of your body weight. These will be your favorite positions and your opponent’s nightmare.
  • Hard to choke – How the hell are people going to choke you if you don’t have a neck? But seriously if you have a big thick neck your opponents are going to have some difficulties choking you.

There are very few reasons people shouldn’t start training Jiu Jitsu immediately and being fat or overweight isn’t one of them. Yes, in a perfect world you would show up to BJJ training shredded, capable of running marathons and dead lifting 3 times your body weight with years of wrestling but this is reality.

You either start training BJJ now or you keep procrastinating and years go by and nothing changes in your life. Starting BJJ is uncomfortable for everyone skinny or fat. But don’t worry after a couple of weeks you will start to get your feet under you and all that nervousness will dissipate.

And then after a few months, the weight will start falling off and before you know it you will have the body you dreamed of and be able to choke anyone that messes with you.

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