Fuelling the Body for Judo

In this blog British Judo Performance Team Nutritionist Louise Bloor talks about how and when eating the right foods can help prepare and repair your body for judo.  

Carbs are King

How much carbohydrate you need for judo depends on the frequency and intensity of your training. As you utilise energy it is essential you replenish these stores, especially if you are training twice a day like our athletes at the Centre of Excellence.

Measuring carbohydrate intake in grams per kg of body weight is more likely to be closely related to the muscles’ absolute need for fuel than using percentages. For example, some of our athletes can train off quite a moderate carbohydrate intake of 4-5g/kg/body weight, which for a 70kg player would be in the ranges of 280g-350g of carbohydrate per day. This will vary depending on the athletes training phase, weight making, growth and development. The table below gives examples of 50g servings.

As carbohydrates are the key fuel source for the body it is important to place them around training. Full energy stores and high blood glucose levels enables judokas to sustain the intensity and quality of their training, in addition to good cognitive function and decision making. Entering an intense, technical session with low energy stores through poor meal timings, choices or crashing to make weight leaves players open to poor training performance, frustration as well as illness and injury risks.

2-3 Hours Before Training/Competition

30-60 Minutes Before Training/Competition

Low GI Carbs to provide a steady sustained release of energy High GI carbs to provide a fast supply of energy on top of stores
E.g. Museli with 180ml semi-skimmed milk + yougurt, Chicken Pasta Bake, Meat/Fish Sandwich or wrap, Couscous with Chicken or Fish, Jacket Potato with Tuna E.g. Cornflakes, Meat/Fish Sandwich on White Bread, Ripened Banana, Sports Drinks, Sports Gels


50g Carbohydrate Servings

Food ML/G Serving
Gatorade 833 2 Bottles
Weetabix 68.1 3-4 Biscuits
Rice – white (cooked) 188 4 Tablespoons
White Bread 179 4 Slices
Nutri-Grain Bars 100 2 Bars
Rice – brown (cooked) 227 4 Tablespoons
Raisins 68 3 Tablespoons
Sweet corn 222 10 Tablespoons
Rice Pudding (low fat) 341 1 Tin
Wholemeal Bread 136 3-4 Slices
Pasta – white (cooked) 187 8 Tablespoons
Bananas, ripe 240 2 Large
Pasta – brown (cooked) 220 8 Tablespoons
Special K 71 1 Large bowl
Quinoa 300 4 Tablespoons
Ribena (diluted) 387 2 Glasses
Red Kidney Beans 313 10 Tablespoons
Jam 75 9 Level Teaspoons
Fruit Juice 480 1 Pint
All Bran 71 1 Large Bowl
Grapes 316 60
Boiled Potato 278 5 Egg Sized
Sweet Potato 300 1 Medium
Spaghetti 187 80g
Greek yoghurt with honey 312 2 Muller Light
Chickpeas 250 10 Tablespoons
Strawberry yoghurt 625 1 1/2 Large Onken
Milk – Semi skimmed 961 2 Pints

Resting up

Protein is essential to build and repair new tissue. Daily protein intake is also recommended in grams per kg of body weight. General guidelines for power athletes is 1.2-1.7g/kg/bw. At the British Judo Centre of Excellence I encourage our athletes to have between 1.6-1.8g/kg/bw as there can be a lot of muscle damage and soreness from all the throwing and being thrown. During periods of injury and making weight this is increased to 2.0-2.2g/kg/bw to help maintain lean mass and strength which can be lost through immobilisation or energy deficit.

Within 20 minutes of finishing training, whether this be on the mat or in the gym, you should aim to maximise muscle growth and repair by including protein in all recovery snacks. Following judo/technical session aim to have at least 10-15g protein and 20g protein after a session in the gym.

Glycogen stores should also be replaced, but how much carbohydrates you have depends on how hard and long the session has been. For lighter sessions <30g should be sufficient, but for more intense ones >50g.


Food Grams Serving Protein (g)
Beef Steak 85 Steak 36
Prawns 200 Pack 35
Haddock 150 Fillet 28
Chicken 125 Large Breast 28
Cod 140 Fillet 26
Mince Beef 125 Serving 25
Salmon 110 Fillet 22
FAGE Yoghurt 170 1 Pot 14
Pasta 70 Dry 12
Mixed Nuts 50 Packet 11
Yazoo Milkshakes 300 1 Bottle 10
Peanut Butter 15 1 Teaspoon 4

This blog has been writing based on the nutritional requirements of full-time athletes based at the British Judo Centre of Excellence. You should always seek the advice of a doctor if you are considering any radical changes to your diet.