I’ve had this question come up from time to time, and there is no one simple answer to it. I hear it a lot from beginners, who want to know how good of a workout they will be getting. The short answer to that is “an excellent one”. Just ask anyone that trains regularly. If weight loss is the goal, there is no end to the success stories that you can find online. So as a short answer, it’s a great workout that really seems to lead to weight loss.

However, if you want or need a more precise answer, it gets a little tougher. There are two big variables that change the level of calorie burn. First is your physical size, and the second is the intensity that you are training at. Let’s say two people doing the same jiu jitsu movement (for example, stand up in base for 10 reps). One is 5’4″ and 144 pounds. The other is 6’3″ and 225 pounds. The larger person will burn more calories in the same movement because they are moving a bigger body around. This is just basic exercise physiology that would apply to any workout. Given the same task, a bigger person burns more calories.

Secondly, the intensity you are training at can make a huge difference. If you are training at a slow, easy pace, you will burn fewer calories. If you’re training at a hard pace, it will burn a lot more calories. Pretty simple idea.

Now for some numbers. If you’re using an app or a chart and it says “martial arts”, be suspicious of how accurate it will be for BJJ training. We generally are working harder. This chart, found at boyntonbeachbjj.com, gives three possible levels of burn. The first is probably the burn level most accurate for a class. The second is the rounds of sparring you do at the end of class, or at randori. The last is a full-out round at a competition. Simply multiply the length you trained at that level to get your caloric burn.

The full chart gives the caloric burn for things like the stretching and calisthenics you’d do at the beginning of class. So your math may look like this, if you were a 175 pound person:

Stretching (1.81 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 5 mins = 26 calories for 5 minutes

Calisthenics (2.43 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 10 mins= 79 calories for 10 minutes

BJJ technique (3.25 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 15 mins= 142 calories for 15 minutes

Rolling (4.87 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 30 mins= 426 calories for 30 minutes

Total: 706 calories in an hour. That’s huge. If you stick around and do 5 or 6 five-minute rounds, that would shoot up to over 1100 calories. It’s no wonder people lose weight doing BJJ.

These numbers are an estimate, based off a chart. If you wanted to get a little more accurate, a heart rate monitor can give you a better idea. Another local BJJ school recently did just that. One of their students wore a heart rate monitor for an hour of class and an hour of randori, and the total calorie burn was a whopping 1641 calories! This number is right in line with the chart above. 800+ calories an hour is better than running, boxing, jumping rope, cycling, or hiking. An excellent way to lose weight.

 

  • For more information on Brazilian jiu jitsu for children and adults, visit alchemycombatclub.com or give us a call 303-900-8111
  • We serve the central Denver area, including the Baker, Highlands, Wash Park, Congress Park, Capitol Hill, Downtown, Uptown, Governor’s Park, and City Park neighborhoods. We’re located near 8th Avenue and Santa Fe Drive, close to everywhere.




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