Athlete Journal: James Kearns, Entry 7 – 2/19/2014

Now that competition season is in full swing, I’ve started to focus on tightening up my diet, strength and conditioning, bodyweight, and my overall BJJ game.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of James Kearns. James is an active Brazilian jiu jitsu competitor and also trains and competes in Olympic weightlifting.Follow his journals here every week.

Athlete Journal Entry 7 – 2/19/2014

It’s been two weeks since my last Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament and it’s only four more weeks until my next one. Competition season is now in full gear and it is time to start tightening everything up. When I say “tightening everything up”, I’m talking about my diet, my bodyweight, my strength and conditioning, and my overall BJJ game.

My diet has become pretty dialed in over the last few years. It basically consists of fruit, vegetables, chicken, lean hamburger, oatmeal, and water. At one point in my life I would measure, weigh, and count every calorie, but now since I eat the same thing every day, all of that is no longer necessary. As long as I stay under 230lbs and above 215lbs, my weight is never an issue. If I get too heavy or light, I just eat a little less or a little more. I know some people don’t want to hear this, but for me it is that easy.

Right now I weigh about 222lbs, so over the next few weeks I will slowly cut a few calories out of my diet until I get to 215-217lbs. This is the weight that I have to be to weigh in with a gi on and be less than 222lbs. For IBJJF events, I always compete in the super heavyweight division (222lbs and under with a gi on). For all other events I compete in the ultra-heavyweight division (usually 220 lbs and over). This way I don’t have to fluctuate my bodyweight so many times a year. Competing in a heavier weight class is also a nice challenge. There are some pretty big dudes in the ultra heavyweight divisions.

Tightening up my strength and conditioning means not missing days and making sure that I am giving 100% in the gym. This year my strength training has been an issue. At the moment I am getting over some back problems that have kept me out of the weight room for the last few weeks. This past week, though, I was able to get back to the gym and do some lame workouts on Monday and Wednesday. I did whatever I could that wouldn’t hurt my back. On Friday I was feeling well so I started back on my Olympic lifting program and did some cleans. My back feels pretty good right now, thanks to the chiropractor, so hopefully I will still be able to compete in the Olympic weightlifting meet in May.

I am constantly working on my overall BJJ game. This week started on Sunday with a great drilling session. Then on Monday we did some open guard rolling and Wednesday it was some de la Riva sweeps, which I’m not very good at. Even though I am predominantly a top player, for my game to improve I have to become proficient at the bottom game as well.


BJJ: Competition drilling



  • Bench Press 235×5, 245×5, 255×5, 265×5
  • Pull Up 20lbs x 10,10,8,6

BJJ: Guard passing and regarding, open guard rolling, core work



  • Push Press 185lbs 4×5
  • Hammer Curl 40lbs 3×8

Super Set with:

  • Medicine Ball Push Ups 3×12

BJJ: de la Riva sweeps, rolling, core work



Plyo Push Ups 3×6

Barbell Complexes:

  • Cleans, Push Press, Lunge 80kg, 82.5kg
  • Cleans, Front Squat, RDL 105kg, 107.5kg, 110kg
  • Core work