Sally’s 8 Week BJJ Tournament Training Program: Essential Gear

Sally Arsenault


Halifax, Canada

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA


One of the things I love about being involved in so many different fitness activities is always having a reason to shop. This is a list of things I’ve enjoyed using the most in my BJJ tournament training.


1. Killer Bee Kimono - $150.00-212.00

I bought the children’s version of the Killer Bee gi years ago because most of the smallest sizes in adult gi brands are too big for me. It quickly became a favorite in my rotation because of its high quality construction, light weight, and minimalist design.



The Killer Bee ripstop pants are the best I’ve ever worn and the customer service is amazing. I’ve always been a big supporter of the brand and now I am proud say I am one of their sponsored athletes.


killer bee kimono, killer bee gi


Killer Bee keeps men’s, women’s and children’s gis in stock, but also offers a quality custom gi program where athletes can build their own gis. The ordering window for this quarter is January 20 to February 15, 2013. You can also read my review of the kid’s gi.


2. Vibram Five Fingers TrekSport - $100.00

After training in martial arts for so long, wearing regular sneakers feels too bulky and unnatural. When training outside of Titans MMA, I wear Vibram Five Fingers.


vibram, vibram five figners, kmd sport ls, treksport


I have the KMD Sport LS and KSO models now and I really love them, but if I were to buy a pair now, I think I’d go for the TrekSport model. At this point, I am training indoors exclusively, but I prefer to have the option of moving outdoors which the TrekSport can accommodate better.


3. Supplements

I train five or six days a week, most often twice a day, and I use supplements to help me to recover and maintain energy.


I am sponsored by Q5 Combat supplements and the products I feel are essential for those purposes are the Amass protein powder and the HGH MaxiStak.


whey protein, protein powder, q5 protein powder, amass protein powder



I asked the founder of Q5, Bill Thomas, what he thought was essential and he replied, “Water.” I’ve tried water and liked it but I asked if anything else might help. Bill said, "There are no supplements that are 'essential' to training BJJ. Eat lots of vegetables, local farm raised meats, some fruit, and drink water.


However, there are plenty of supplements that can help you maximize your training and shorten recovery time. I'd add clean whey protein and fish or krill oil to my diet before taking anything else."


4. Bubba Teeth Custom Mouth Guard - $195.00

damage control mouthguard, bjj mouthguard, bubba teeth mouthguard


I hate that I can love an inanimate object as much as I love my Bubba Teeth from Damage Control Mouth Guards but I do. Wearing it makes me feel fulfilled as a human being.


The owner of Damage Control trains in MMA and BJJ and has partnered with his wife, a dentist, to create a line of high quality, customizable mouth guards for all sports.


I was sent the Bomb-a-Dear, the Bubba Teeth 3D 2mm BJJ, and colored 4mm MMA custom mouth guards for review. Altough they are all well-made I found the 3D custom guard to fit the best and to feel the most comfortable during training.


5. BioForce HRV and the Polar RS100 Heart Rate Monitor - $279.00

Monitoring my fitness level with BioForce HRV has been a real motivator for me over the past month. It's nice to watch my hard work paying off on the chart every morning and when there's a decrease, it's an instant indicator that I have to get back on track so I don't have to start all over again.


Having a heart rate monitor helps to ensure I am training at the optimum level during my workouts to improve my cardiovascular capacity. In a training program with such a high volume and intensity level this package is invaluable.


6. Ultimate MMA Conditioning - $39.95

bioforce hrv, hrv monitor, ultimate mma conditioning, joel jamieson

Ultimate MMA Conditioning by Joel Jamieson offers a "complete A-Z blueprint that will show you step by step how to assess your needs, determine your strengths and weaknesses, and put together a completely individualized program that is guaranteed to deliver results."


It explains the different types of energy systems in the body, which types of activity increases their capacity, and how to combine them in a way to help you meet your specific goals. After reading this book I feel as though I understand how my body works, as compared to other books that simply explain what exercises will burn the fat off my abz.


7. Head & Shoulders Shampoo - $4.87

A great option for keeping skin healthy and free of the infections that are common when participating in combat sports is Head & Shoulders shampoo. I use it for hair and body because it has zinc pyrithione.


This ingredient, according to Wikipedia, "is best known for its use in treating dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis. It also has antibacterial properties and is effective against many pathogens from the Streptococcus and Staphylococcus genera.


Its other medical applications include treatments of psoriasis, eczema, ringworm, fungus, athletes foot, dry skin, atopic dermatitis, tinea, and vitiligo."


8. GoFit Contour Kettlebell - $29.99-109.99

kettlebells and bjj, bjj kettlebells, kettlebells for mma, mma, bjj


The GoFit Contour Kettlebell is the only kettlebell I've ever had but the salesman claimed it was the best because it is ergonomically designed to fit the forearm for overhead lifts. Kettlebells are an all-in-one gym and offer amazing benefits for grapplers.


Check out some of Breaking Muscle’s articles on how to get started with kettlebells: Info for kettlebells and grapplers and the top 10 articles for kettlebells.


9. The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolfe - $15.76

I don’t know which diet is the best one but my recent research has indicated that the paleolithic diet may be a great option. I’m not eating a strictly paleo diet, but I am trying to stick to unprocessed foods and have been using this book as a guideline.


I also frequently visit Mark Sisson’s site, Mark’s Daily Apple, and consult his book, The Primal Blueprint, for further information.


And be sure to check out Becca Borawski's article How to Plan and Cook a Week’s Worth of Healthy, Tasty Meals for tips on how to organize your diet effectively


10. Lacrosse Ball and Foam Roller

The foam roller and lacrosse ball are very effective in rolling out tight muscles and releasing knots.


According to my massage therapist, using them regularly after training, while your muscles are still warm, is an ideal way to keep yourself flexible and injury free.


Weekly Training Update

Since I began my 8-week tournament training program, I’ve worked with a bout of viral meningitis, the holiday season, and snowstorms. This week I added a lot of stress and a UTI to the list of things I could have done without.


My heart rate variability and resting heart rate were awful all week, but this morning I bounced back scoring two all-time highs with an HRV reading of 96.4 and an RHR of 58.6, which means I’ve met both of the goals I set for my fitness level. I’ve increased my food intake and this week I varied between 105-108lbs. I’m rolling well and things are moving along nicely!


bioforce hrv, hrv monitor, hrv tracking, heart rate monitor

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