I was recently looking at a tool that tells you what people are asking about on the internet, and this is one of the questions that came up.
Well, in short yes, but it depends on a couple of things, including what you mean by “in shape” along with some other factors. In the beginning as a spazzy white belt, you will absolutely lose weight and absolutely feel like you are getting healthier: you’ll start to lose some weight, it may become easier to climb a flight of stairs…. Or you’re so tired from your jiu jitsu classes at first you don’t even notice the changes that are taking place. I can tell you personally I’m not even sure I was aware of the changes that were taking place when I first started jiu jitsu: it was ages ago, but I think I was so focused on just getting the basics down that it wasn’t until my instructors said something about my weight loss that I finally got on a scale.
After that, it kind of depends on what you do with that beginner momentum. Do you use that momentum to change your diet, add some supplementary strength training to your routine (to answer another question on the internet, jiu jitsu may help you build a little muscle but if you are really looking to make gains you’re going to have to find them in the weight room, not the jiu jitsu mat).
There are some people who definitely take the healthy route- and jiu jitsu is definitely a great motivator. You will spar with people in better shape, which can motive you to get into better shape- throw a little discipline into the mix and you have a great formula to getting “in shape”- if that for you means better cardio and losing some excess weight, and maybe getting a little more flexible than before.
But, as with most things in life, results will vary based on experience and of course your personal choices. After a while you will become more efficient at your movements in jiu jitsu, along with your body becoming acclimating to your level of activity. Food also plays a somewhat big part in this: we tend to believe that we can train and then repeatedly way over our caloric expenditure, or food that doesn’t give our bodies the nutrients they need, and that can potentially lead to weight gain: it may take some time to catch up to you, but it will eventually.
This isn’t meant to be preachy- if anything I’m trying to emphasize that you have a choice. Can jiu jitsu get you in shape? Yes, particularly in the beginning: jiu jitsu is a great way to start on the path to being healthier in a number of ways, and it’s up to you to decide just how far you want to go on that journey.
Have a great day everyone!