TechGenix FitITproNews

Vol. 02, #234 - August 29, 2018 - Issue #0049

FitITproNews: BJJ for fun and fitness

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Editor's Corner

Want to have some fun while getting fit and building strength and endurance in your body? One option you may want to consider is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) which according to is "a grappling-based martial art whose central theme is the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force him to submit." A few years ago Ingrid and I attended a BJJ tournament that took place in a high school gym, and over the course of an afternoon we watched pairs of adults and tweens grapple and roll as they strove for domination over each another. 

"It looks like fun!" I said excitedly.

"No way you're doing that." my wife replied. 

So ended my dreams of gaining a black belt in BJJ…lol

Anyways, for a more objective look at BJJ and how it might fit into the workout program of a fat IT pro like most of us are or were, I had the wonderful opportunity recently of interviewing Jimmy Vo who is a cyber security professional for a large financial institution in North Carolina, USA. Jimmy spends most of his free time training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Lucas Lepri BJJ and learning new things. He can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter


Photo of Jimmy (center) from when he was promoted to a purple belt. To his left is Frederico Silva and to his right is Lucas Lepri. 

Interview with Jimmy Vo

MITCH: Thanks Jimmy for agreeing to let me interview you about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for fun and fitness. But before we get into that, tell us first about your work and experience in the IT profession. 

JIMMY: I began my IT profession as a help desk assistant for my university where I spent time troubleshooting printers, doing password resets and various other help desk activities. After graduating college, I worked for an organization where I supported all IT and Cyber Security functions. This included desktop support, server administration, networking, security program development, and custom application support. Then I moved onto a pure security role as a security consultant which helped secure and mature cyber security programs. After a few years of consulting, I landed in my current role where I focus on monitoring external threats to financial institutions.

MITCH: How did you first get interested in BJJ?

JIMMY: My interest in BJJ was accidental. I was interested in Muay Thai (Thai Kick Boxing) and I ended up going to a school which taught Mixed Martial Arts (Muay Thai and BJJ). My interest in MMA stemmed from my desire to find a positive outlet to deal with my depression. After making my MMA debut and losing to a skilled BJJ opponent, I decided to focus on improving my BJJ. In my mid-twenties, I completely switched over to BJJ.

MITCH: Is rolling on the mat good exercise? Can you build up a really good sweat doing BJJ?

JIMMY: Rolling/sparring is great anaerobic exercise. After the technique portion of class, there is typically an hour or more of rolling. These are 6-7-minute rounds of live rolling with other students where the goal is submit your opponent as many times as possible. The intensity of the round depends on your style but is likely to always be on the higher end of intensity. I end up losing 3-4 lbs of water weight by the end of class from sweat.

MITCH: What about the risk of injury? As an IT professional I'd be in trouble if I broke my right arm and couldn't use my mouse (lol).

JIMMY: The risk of injury is much higher than doing something like yoga, but you can certainly manage the risk. If I identify my opponent as spazzy, I can adapt my rolling style to be more conservative. In addition, my consistent strength training helps keep my body durable during the rough rolls. I'm also fortunate to train at a great school where my fellow teammates are not out to hurt me. I do tap early when getting wristlocked because my wrists to be functional.

MITCH: What kind of physical shape should someone be in before they consider taking classes in BJJ?

JIMMY: I've seen suffering from all new folks who try BJJ that vary from all aspect of life. From the person who never worked out to the CrossFit fanatic and I learned they all suffer the same. When trying to get my friends to train BJJ with me, I often hear "I just want to get in shape before I start training" but they never take the first step to get in shape.

MITCH: So are "fat IT pros" good candidates for learning how to roll? Or should they wait until they've lost some weight and can curl something heavier than a laptop?

JIMMY: Depending on the school, some schools don't even let you begin rolling until you've grasp the foundations of BJJ. Getting in shape is not a pre-requisite for BJJ. BJJ will get you in shape. I can guarantee an IT pro will be curling server racks after the first year of training. I've seen massive weight loss from some of my teammates.

MITCH: What about BJJ competitions? IT pros are often gamers as well so we're very competitive. I don't know how I'd feel though if some 13 year old girl choked me out in the first round of a tourney.

JIMMY: BJJ competitions are not a requirement but a great way to test yourself. Most if not all BJJ competitions have several divisions based on belt rank, age, and weight. There is almost no chance of you getting choked out by a 13-year-old unless you hack the tournament software to put yourself in the kid's division. To be fair, my school has some really good 13 year olds.

MITCH: Where should I go to get started with BJJ? If my wife lets me, that is.

JIMMY: What I always recommend for people who are interested in to look up local BJJ academies nearby and try them all out. Most gyms will offer a free trial class. You want to pick an academy that makes you feel comfortable and instructors that you like. In addition to the gym environment, you'll want to do some research about lineage to make sure the instructor(s) are legitimate. A little bit of googling will help determine legitimacy. Unfortunately, there are some charlatans out there just trying to make some money.

MITCH: Anything more you'd like to add?

JIMMY: BJJ is a life long journey. Just like being in IT, you never stop learning. Though it's a sport that requires athleticism and also requires a lot of intelligence. BJJ is often referred to as a game of human chess. It's a martial art that will require consistency and commitment that will span a big chunk of your life. The friendships, experiences, and health benefits are why I love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. BJJ is for everyone.

I want to give a shout out to my professor Lucas Lepri. the other instructors, my former instructors, and my teammates at Lucas Lepri BJJ/Alliance Charlotte.

MITCH: Jimmy thanks very much for giving us some of your valuable time!

JIMMY: Thank you so much for the opportunity to preach the gospel of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Hopefully we can roll one day!

You wanna roll?

What do our readers think? Would any of you like to try (or have you tried, or are you already doing) Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Email your stories and comments to us at [email protected]

Until next week!


Mitch Tulloch, Senior Editor 

Disclaimer: I am not a certified fitness professional or nutritionist so take any suggestions made here "as is" with a grain of salt and a heaping supply of your own judgment. Please read our full disclaimer at the bottom of this newsletter.  

Exercise of the week - VIDEOS

BJJ Solo - 30 Minute Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Movements Workout (YouTube)

Get a killer total body workout as you train common BJJ movements along with black belt Dustin Koppel. You'll be sore and worn out after this one, all while getting repetitions in on your most important training movements - without a partner! Like and subscribe for more BJJ Solo workouts.

The toolbox

>> Got any fitness products or services you'd like to recommend to our readers? Email us at [email protected]

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Greatmats has mats for home use that are easy to ship and install 2x2 ft interlocking thick foam tiles and are great for home martial arts, wrestling and MMA:

Fighters Market specializes in Jiu Jitsu uniforms and a wide variety of BJJGear; such as BJJ Gis, BJJ Rash Guards, Jiu Jitsu apparel, BJJ shorts and more:

What Gear Do You Need to Do Jiu Jitsu? (Examined Existence)


Hi Mitch. Thank you for the article about losing weight and eating fruit. I think fruit is very good for our bodies -- especially eating fruit that is in season. The berries are your best bet for fiber and less sugar. I use berries in my smoothies. I do not believe a sustainable lifestyle diet of eating no carbs is realistic. But, everyone has their own opinion about "diets". I simply try to stay away from over eating sugar, although I am a sucker for chewy candy -- can't pass up a candy dish with candy I like! Keep the articles coming. I enjoy reading and learning from others. --Patricia Hoth, North Carolina USA

Thanks, we'll keep them coming! :-)

Hi Mitch, Read with interest your diet change to include more fruit. Will be really interested to know if there were any negative side effects from it (over time). I have just finished reading the "Plant Paradox" book which seems to be "all the rage" in some circles (a person only casually know mentioned it and my Dr. recommended it). It seems kinda "extreme" to say the least and advocates getting rid of pretty well most fruits - because supposedly our bodies see them as "candy" and convert the sugars to fat. The premise of the book (that our bodies react this way due to evolution and that fruits are "for the summer" and our bodies react by converting them to fat because "evolutionarily" we are preparing for winter - I find a stretch). Anyhow, very timely as trying to get to a better diet place overall! Oh, and a lot of what you talked about (complex carbs, different types of fat, steel cut oatmeal) are where I am at in my diet. Thanks! --Albert from Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada

Thanks Albert, I've set a reminder to update readers end of October on how this new "fruit first" diet is working out for me. 

Pro Corner - Lucas Lepri

Lucas Lepri a World Champion Jiu Jitsu fighter from Alliance Team, with titles in both Kimono and No-Gi Competitions with equal success. He is also one of few who have won all 4 "majors" at the black belt, adult level -- The World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Pan American Championships, the European Championship (Brazilian jiu-jitsu), and the Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship. 

Lucas Lepri on BJJ Heroes:

and on Wikipedia:

Need help from our community?

FitITproNews goes out each week to more than 500,000 subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help losing weight or learning how to perform some exercise? Ask Our Readers by emailing your questions to us at [email protected]

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Product of the Week

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About FitITproNews

FitITproNews is the only weekly newsletter in the world that is entirely devoted to helping IT pros get fit, lose weight, and live happily ever after as they face the daily stresses and workload of being in the gristmill of the IT profession. FitITproNews is brought to you by TechGenix and is created each week by the same all-star editorial team that brings you WServerNews, the world's longest running IT pro newsletter focusing on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. Subscribe to FitITproNews today! And while you’re at it be sure to also subscribe to our other TechGenix newsletters such as our Weekly IT Update and Spotlight Articles!

Editorial Team

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of FitITproNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies. He has written numerous articles and whitepapers and has authored or been series editor of more than 50 books for Microsoft Press. Mitch also successfully made the transition from being a typical "fat IT pro" to becoming fit by losing almost 50 lbs through a combination of resistance training, cardio exercises, and proper nutrition. Mitch's passion with FitITproNews is to help other IT pros do what he has been able to accomplish by sharing his personal story and lessons learned.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of FitITproNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. She is also Head of Research for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program. Ingrid is also committed to personal fitness and is a believer in clean eating and proper supplementation for optimal health and longevity.

Mitch and Ingrid are also the editors of WServerNews, a weekly newsletter from TechGenix that focuses on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. For more information about Mitch and Ingrid see their website.


This newsletter is designed for informational purposes only and the health and fitness information presented in it are based solely upon the personal experience of its editors and of any guests or readers who contribute content to it. Nothing in this newsletter is intended to be or should be construed to be professional medical, fitness, or nutritional advice. Always consult a physician or other health care professional before starting an exercise or nutrition program to determine if it is appropriate for your personal needs. Do not follow any of the suggestions in this newsletter if your physician or other health care professional advises against doing so. If you are exercising or dieting or taking supplements and experience any dizziness, faintness, pain, or shortness of breath, you should stop immediately and seek medical help. The use of any information presented in this newsletter is solely at your own risk.

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