This is a question I was asking about a month ago in my preparation for the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials in Montreal. The short answer for me is YES, I do need to supplements to compete at the next level. I need to recover faster, feel stronger and keep my body firing on all cylinders. Gaspari Nutrition gets BJJ. In this interview we chat with Dan Pierce. Dan is in charge of product development for Gaspari Nutrition and he also does bjj. Dan explained to me that when formulating new products he always has bjj in the back of his mind. What this means for you and I is a guy who speaks our language on the mat is building products that work for us. The problem is most of us are uneducated when it comes to supplements. This is the beginning of a new section (yet to be named) we will be running in BJJW. It will include both articles and videos on nutrition and strength and conditioning. Lets first chat with Dan and get you all up to speed on a few things

Everyone understands that bodybuilders need to use supplements to achieve their goals, but that kind of muscle mass is counterproductive to a jiu-jitsu fighter. Why would someone who is mainly concerned with jiu-jitsu performance need supplementation?

Jitsu-jitsu performance is centered around two basic forms of anaerobic energy production. The glycolytic  (lactic acid) energy system and the ATP-PC (creatine-phosphate) systems. There are plenty of ingredients and ingredient combination which can increase the efficiency by which these systems work and give the jui-jitsu athlete a greater performance potential while keeping them lean. Also, improving recovery and limiting inflammation around the joints and connective tissues are two other areas supplements can be of great benefit. However, these will not replace consistent hard work, strength and conditioning preparation, a controlled diet, and masterful technique. No one needs supplements per se, but they can greatly help speed recovery and increase performance if you are putting your time in on the mat and the gym consistently.

rhonda rouseyA lot of jiu-jitsu fighters are interested in alternative diets like paleo, primal, whole foods, and the Gracie diet. Some of the promoters of these types of diets are against supplements, or say that you can get all the nutrients you need from a disciplined diet. What's your take on these diets and is supplementation appropriate for them?

Fundamentally, all of these diets work well not only for a jui-jitsu fighter, but also other high performance athletes such as CrossFit competitors. They are not only great for supporting a healthy lifestyle but also support a lean physique. Unfortunately, while these diets are extremely clean by conventional standards, many vegetables and fruits these days have a much lower mineral content due to inorganic fertilizers being used in farming operations. Since many of the animals which are used for dietary means are herbivores, the meat they supply also has a much lower mineral content then decades past. Specific minerals such as magnesium which support over 300 physiological processes are hard to get in adequate amounts without supplementation and the same would apply to other important electrolytes such as potassium and phosphorus. Supplementation is a way to guarantee you are getting in the necessary amounts of these crucial ingredients. A good multi-vitamin like Anavite can help ensure you are getting them.

Let’s be real, most of us have careers, family, and cooking 100% clean meals isn’t always feasible with our busy schedules. For this reason, supplements such as protein powder can help meet the dietary needs for the jui-jitsu fighter and are extremely easy to travel with. Furthermore, we have enhanced our own protein powder called Myofusion Probiotic Series with a clinically validated and shelf stable probiotic to support both digestive and immune health. Unfortunately, probiotics are not something found in common foods but can be of great benefit to any hard working athlete concerned with their overall health status. We combined them with our protein powder to offer a cost effective way to incorporate them into the daily diet.

The whole supplement industry can be very confusing, there are thousands of products all competing for our attention and making all kinds of claims that may or may not be true. The science is beyond most of us, so how you do separate the hype from the truth with all these products?

As someone who both formulates performance supplements and writes many of the media you see for Gaspari Nutrition products, I really frown upon a lot of what I see by our competitors. More or less, it’s up to our customers to trust what we are saying but also do some research on their own. It’s one thing for a product to contain a good ingredient, and it’s another thing for a product to have that ingredient in a correct dose. We base our ingredient dosing on cold hard science and then test or formulas in a clinical setting. Right now I’m overseeing three clinical trials and we have about five more planned for the rest of the year.

If someone wanted to experiment with supplementation, what's the single product that's going to give them the most bang for their buck in terms of jiu-jitsu performance?

Beta-alanine is a great ingredient for jiu-jitsu performance. Remember the glycolytic energy system I mentioned? When you’re rolling and using glycogen (the form of carbohydrates stored in the muscle) you are releasing lactic acid and hydrogen ions (H+). Believe it or not, H+ causes fatigue and increasing the pH of your muscles which limits performance. Beta-alanine helps your muscles fight off this effect by buffering against H+ and thus increasing your endurance potential while rolling. However, you must be taking an effective dose of at least 3 grams per day. Unfortunately, a lot of product that have beta-alanine are underdosed and won’t provide what you truly need for a performance benefit. However, the multivitamin Anavite I designed contains 3.2 grams of beta-alanine so not only is it vitamin product, but is also a great beta-alanine product for any athlete.

You train jiu-jitsu, what is your personal supplementation schedule and how do you think it's helped your performance on the mat?

I keep it pretty simple unless I’m alpha-testing a new product concept I’m working on like the AminoLast product which is in the late stages of development. It will be ideal for rolling because it will provide electrolytes and BCAA’s while not sitting heavy in the stomach.

I’m strength and conditioning training about three days per week and getting at least two days a week in for BJJ. I’ll be increasing my time on the mat in the coming weeks as my work schedule calms down a bit as I’m traveling a lot these days.


Brazilian Jui-Jitsu Training Days

Strength and Conditioning Days


3 Anavite, 1 cup coffee, 1  cup Oatmeal with Cinnamon, 2 Whole eggs, 4 Egg whites

3 Anavite, 1 cup coffee, 1  cup Oatmeal with Cinnamon, 2 Whole eggs, 4 Egg whites

Mid-Morning  Snack

3 oz Almonds and 2 Servings of Myofusion

3 oz Almonds and 2 Servings of  Myofusion


8 oz Chicken Breast, 1 Cup Brown Rice, An apple or an orange

8 oz Chicken Breast, 1 Cup Brown Rice, an apple or an orange

Mid-Afternoon Meal

8 oz Turkey Breast, 3oz Almonds, Mixed Greens

8 oz Turkey Breast, 3oz Almonds, Mixed Greens



2 Servings of SuperPump MAX

During Training

1 Servings of AminoLast

½ Serving of SizeOn Max Performance

Immediately Post Workout

2 Servings of Myofusion

2 Servings of Myofusion


3 Anavite, 8 oz Cooked London Broil, 1 Steamed Sweet Potato, 1 cup Broccoli

3 Anavite, 8 oz Cooked London Broil, 1 Steamed Sweet Potato, 1 cup Broccoli