4 Supplements EVERY Grappler should Take [Plus a BONUS]

As the head instructor of a jiu-jitsu academy, I field many questions about training jiu-jitsu. Most of the time, new grapplers want to know about techniques, concepts, and other philosophies that will help them improve. Further, I’m even asked about lifestyle habits such as how I eat, how I sleep, what supplements I take, et cetera. 

My diet is pretty simple, and I won’t bore you with the many ways I can cook ground beef and eggs but one interesting component to this discussion is supplements. 

You see, beginners in jiu-jitsu, just as in weight-lifting, tend to go all-in with supplements. It’s not uncommon for someone starting to buy up a whole aisle at their local supplement store in order to improve their performance on the mats. I haven’t necessarily been at that extreme, but I have seen friends and students do just that. 

I don’t personally believe in taking a LOT of supplements. To me, supplements are just that: supplements. They’re meant to supplement your diet so that you get everything you need to perform at your best. In other words, you should be getting adequate nutrition from your daily diet. And if you aren’t, that’s when supplements come into play. 

How do you know what you’re getting and what you’re not getting? 

To figure this out, the best answer is to see a nutritionist or doctor to help optimize your performance, but I do understand that not everyone has the resources or desire to do so. 

That said, after having experimented with various supplements over the last 10 years of training and analyzing my performance on and off the mats, I can say that the following have been game-changers for me and I believe EVERY grappler should be taking. [Note: We are an affiliate partner with Onnit so you’ll be seeing some affiliate links directly to their products. Purchasing from these links will help strengthen our partnership and support the site]


Whey Isolate

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This one is fairly obvious. Chances are you’re taking it already. When we train or lift, muscle tissue breaks down. To rebuild that muscle, your body needs adequate protein. Hopefully, you get enough through your diet but the reality is, you’re probably not. 

Whey protein can help you rebuild muscle tissue more quickly so that you can get back to training much more quickly. Rebuilding your muscle tissue will also alleviate some of that post-training soreness. 

For more, check out this Whey Isolate from Onnit [It tastes Fantastic!].

And for the Vegetarians and Vegans, they also make a plant-based protein here.




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Creatine is one of the most widely studied supplements on the planet. It is fairly inexpensive and it provides a ton of value in terms of strength and performance. The role of Creatine is to help supply the muscles with energy. This is incredibly valuable for anaerobic sports (*ahem* like Jiu-jitsu) where your muscles need the extra push for those later rounds. I suggest Creatine be taken daily whether you’re a grappler, lifter or both! 




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DO you ever get cramps during or after training? If you do, chances are you are losing too many electrolytes in training and not getting enough back. For me personally, Onnit’s mineral electrolytes has been a GAME-CHANGER. Because of my training load, it is common for me to take a couple of servings a day (lifting and training) so that I can replenish many of the electrolytes I lose from sweating (and I don’t even sweat that much!!). 

One rebuttal I get to this is “Just eat bananas and a sports drink!”. In my experience, bananas have never been sufficient, and I cannot stand popular sports drinks because of the amount of sugar. I have, however, loved the effervescence and flavor of the Onnit’s Mineral Electrolytes after a hard day of training. 


Krill Oil


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Jiu-jitsu hurts. Whoever named it “the Gentle Art” must have been trying to play some type of sick joke on us. Short of serious injuries, most of the pain comes from inflammation from training. This is normal and something most of us just live with. 

There are plenty of ways we can deal with inflammation including ice baths and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) but I have found the most natural way has been to supplement with Krill oil. 

Krill oil has shown to improve cognitive and joint health as well as reduce inflammation. You can find out more about Krill oil from Onnit here.  



Here’s a bonus supplement that most people either are not taking or have not discovered yet! 

A long time ago, I was experimenting with nootropics to help me learn faster and get better grades in grad school. The result was after taking nootropics, I was able to write papers efficiently and in NO TIME. I then realized, that perhaps I could take nootropics in class. I was in the zone and found myself learning and training much more in a state of flow. 

I decided perhaps I could use nootropics to compete and sure enough, every time I competed, I got into such a solid flow state, I never competed without taking a nootropic. 

Enter: AlphaBrain, Onnit’s trademark nootropic. Alphabrain was designed to improve memory, focus and cognitive abilities (we need all of these for jiu-jitsu). It is one of the cornerstones of their supplement catalog and is widely used by many athletes. You can check it out here

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Supplements not your thing? 

Click to Check Onnit’s Fitness Line

No worries. You can also check out Onnit’s selection of home gym equipment. You’ll find everything from kettlebells, steel maces, battle ropes and even their all new HYDROCORE (which is pretty darn cool). Crazy deals this weekend for Black Friday so check them out!   

Hydocore Bag


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