9 Tips Before Your First BJJ Practice

By Purple Lo, BJJ Fundamentals coach & assistant kids coach.

Taking your 1st Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practice is an exciting step towards mastering a new skill & getting out of your comfort zone, improving your fitness, and joining a supportive community. As the fundamentals and assistant kids coach at Citadel BJJ in Iowa City, I’m Purple Belt Lo, and I’m here to share nine tips to help you prepare for your first BJJ practice. Welcome to BJJ!

1. Choose the Right Attire

Avoid wearing baggy clothes and opt for attire you would wear to the gym for no-gi classes—tight-fitting athletic clothing is ideal. For gi classes, you’ll need a BJJ gi. Select attire that’s comfortable and allows for unrestricted movement. If you’re unsure about what to buy, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations. A lot of times, gyms will provide a gi for your 1st class to help you out.

2. Drink Water!

Bring a large jug of water to your practice. Staying hydrated is crucial, especially since BJJ is an intense workout. Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated but also helps replenish the fluids you lose during practice.

3. Take Breaks

It’s okay to take breaks & listen to your body. If you feel overwhelmed or exhausted, step aside and catch your breath. BJJ is about learning and growing at your own pace. Listening to your body helps prevent injuries and ensures a long, enjoyable training journey.

4. Avoid Eating Big Meals Before Practice

Eating a large meal before practice can lead to discomfort and sluggishness. Opt for a light snack, like a banana or some fruit, if you need an energy boost. I always aim to not eat a big meal at least 3 hours before practice. Nothing is worse than eating a big burrito an hour before practice and burping it up. I have definitely made this mistake:(

5. Arrive Early

Arriving early gives you time to familiarize yourself with the gym, meet your coach and fellow practitioners, and settle any nerves before the class starts. I would recommend arriving 15 minutes before the class to get a lay of the gym.

6. Trim Your Nails and Remove Jewelry

It might seem minor, but trimming your fingernails and toenails is important for hygiene and to prevent accidental scratches or injuries to yourself and others. Also, remove any jewelry to avoid injuries and damage to your items. This includes rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.

7. Learn Basic Etiquette

BJJ has its own set of etiquette, such as bowing on the mat, shaking hands before and after rolling, and maintaining good hygiene (a must!). These small acts of respect contribute to a positive and respectful training environment. Every gym is different but just try to be respectful of what the gym rules are. Read more about BJJ Etiquette from my past blog: https://bjjiniowacity.com/tips-tricks/brazilian-jiu-jitsu-etiquette/

8. Set Realistic Expectations

Understand that progress in BJJ comes with time and practice. Don’t expect to master techniques in your first class. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the learning process.

9. Take a Shower After Practice

It’s important to shower after practice to avoid skin infections like ringworm or staph. Proper hygiene and showering after reduces the chances of getting these infections. BJJ practice is a hard workout, and you will be sweating, so you want to clean up afterward and smell nice. Maintaining good personal hygiene is crucial in a close-contact sport like BJJ.


Can I wear a mouthguard?

Yes, many BJJ practitioners wear a mouthguard. It’s a common practice to protect your teeth during training. While I personally only wear mine for no-gi sessions, it’s always a good idea to consider using one in both gi and no-gi classes.

Can I start Jiu-Jitsu if I’m out of shape?

Absolutely, Jiu-Jitsu is a fantastic way to get back into shape and lose weight. Personally, it’s the hardest workout I have ever done, and have seen many training partners lose over 50 lbs during their BJJ journey.

Author Box:

I’m Logan, a purple belt and fundamentals coach at Citadel BJJ in Iowa City. As an assistant kids coach with competition experience across the USA, I’ve been grappling since 2017. My focus is on building a strong foundation for beginners and fostering a supportive environment for all students.

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