Interview | Brendan Hufford

Interview | Brendan Hufford

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” but this is the interview you’re looking for.

Brendan Hufford is a man you have most defiantly seen or heard of within the Jiu Jitsu world. Not because he is out there playing Jedi mind tricks on the Miyao brothers at Worlds, but because he is one of the busiest damn guys within the community. He is working full time, training, running, writing for Jiu Jitsu Mag running Ok! Kimonos, and even finding thyme to do guest posts (I have a feeling this is what they call “foreshadowing.”) Needless to say the dude is busy, yet he still finds time to eat right and show up on the mats day in and day out. Being “tired” from an 8 hour shift on a Monday doesn’t sound that bad anymore now does it?

He's got the eye of the tiger
He’s got the eye of the tiger

With the help of coffee, not Sci-fi creature meat, Brendan has found a way to stay ahead of the game while keeping a great diet along with a stellar sense of humor. Want to find out the secrets to his success? Let’s jump right in then and who knows maybe you can have your own BJJ Company one day after reading this…or acquire a hunger for sarlaac meat and an appreciation for our weirdness.

Who are you!?

I’m the Chief Happiness Jedi at Ok! Kimonos.  Literally, I do *everything* that is done at Ok! Kimonos.  Except for the artwork, I tend to leave that to the pros.
I’m the Lead Gi Review Jedi (notice a trend here?) at GiReviews.Net.
I’m very involved in my church and my faith is extremely important to me.
I’m a father and husband.
I’m launching an Entrepreneurship podcast in January, 2015  and a BJJ podcast in July, 2015.
I’m a 9-stripe purple belt under Miguel Torres.
I am a full-time High School Assistant Principal.
I don’t sleep a lot. I drink a lot of coffee.  I’m very intentional with how I spend my time.
I still think I’m on Chapter 1 of the story of my career. I’m just getting started.

A fitting title huh?
A fitting title huh?

Time for the nitty-gritty. What is your average everyday diet like? Do you follow a certain guideline?

I tend to eat whatever I like.  I was really into my nutrition prior to having a son, but gained a tremendous amount of baby-weight when my wife was pregnant. Now that my son is one, it’s time to get it together. For the past 30 days or so, I’ve been following a rough outline of a Paleo diet by Abel James.

Sick hip throw Brendan. kidding!
Sick belly-to-back suplex Brendan. kidding!

I personally am a breakfast nut. What is your favorite breakfast?

My favorite or what I actually eat?  My favorite is bacon, pancakes, waffles, etc.  I would eat breakfast for every meal of every day if I could.

What I actually eat: scrambled eggs.

What is your pre-training and post-training intake like?

I follow more of a full-day approach to intake.  I make sure to drink a protein shake every day and, when training seriously, I even watch my macro nutrient intake throughout the day. I make sure to stay fully hydrated and do my best to take in at least a gallon of water per day on top of coffee and other drinks.

What is the worst diet/eating habit that you have heard of or seen at the gym? I once saw a kid come in and while waiting to do his class he crushed a few slices of pizza and large slurpee from 7-11…Needless to say, we ramped up the warm up and rolling that day.

I’ve seen some silly stuff concerning junk food, but the worst eating I’ve seen are the guys trying to cut ‘weight.’  They don’t eat anything and train twice per day.  Then they wonder why they get hurt 1 week out of all of their fights and tournaments.

Obviously anybody reading this article is reading your site (and LOVING IT! AM I RITE!?!?!11), so they understand this ‘food stuff’ is important.

Q5 sponors the best athletes out there! Am I RIGHT?!
Q5 sponors the best athletes out there! Am I RIGHT?!

Learning how to properly fuel the machine is the key to keep it running.  Better fuel means you don’t need as much and losing bad weight is easy once you start to learn how your body adapts to macro nutrients.  For example, I respond really well to low-carb diets in terms of losing body fat but after a while, I have ZERO energy to train at the pace that I want to for competition.  So that’s why carbohydrate cycling worked for me.  Also, think about how much brainpower you have to spare to process that information.  I only had to calculate 3 numbers per day (carbs/fats/protein) but if you have extra mental superpowers, then tracking more variables might work great for you!

You work a lot with kids, what would you say is some advice you would give parents of little grapplers on food?

Stop buying crap you think your kid “wants” to eat.  Your kid will eat whatever you eat.  Just because they’re a “kid” doesn’t mean they need French fries and chicken nuggets for every meal.

Does not eat from the Macaroni bush or bread tree
Does not eat from the Macaroni bush or bread tree

Genes (and thus your child’s behavior) express themselves based on dietary intake.  Want your kid to pay better attention or do better in school?  Stop feeding them 200 grams of sugar before 8am.  Don’t even get me started on cereal, *laughs*

Stick to whole foods that come from the ground or eat things that come from the ground.  Ever seen a “bread tree” or a “macaroni bush?” No? Then it’s probably not your best bet.

Would a Macaroni bush grown bunches of macaroni like grapes or the leaves themselves are pasta?

I definitely picked them more like grapes.  Large paste makes me feel weird.

What part of your diet do you feel is the most important and why?

Hydration, protein intake, and not eating processed carbohydrates.  Those are 3 SUPER easy wins that anybody can do that will have a MASSIVE effect on your performance.

Is that our pal Meerkatsu?! Of course it is!
Is that our pal Meerkatsu?! Of course it is!

To me, because I know how busy you are, you never sleep. What is the key food that really keeps you going?

Just too really drive the point home: WATER.

There's water in Tea...You have no excuse not to be hydrated
There’s water in Tea…You have no excuse not to be hydrated

What food culture is your favorite, Tatooinian, Alderaanian or Gungan? Kidding, what is your favorite cuisine to eat?

Tatooinian. Specifically, Mos Eisley.  A wretched hive of scum and villainy? Sign me up.

Favorite cuisine is nachos. If I could live off nachos, I would.

Yes, this really happens in some parts of the world. Usually in Texas.
Yes, this really happens in some parts of the world. Usually in Texas.

What do you put on your nachos?

Better question is, what DON’T I put on my nachos??  I literally put everything you’d find on regular nachos, plus barbecue sauce and enough cheese to give an elephant a stroke.

What are some snacks you always find yourself eating or having on hand?

Nuts.  I try to not eat too many peanuts and rotate the various nuts that I eat. I eat them routinely as snacks and developed some allergic reactions when eat the same ones too often.

Want a gi that feels like a perfectly fitted suit? Then search no further!
Want a gi that feels like a perfectly fitted suit? Then search no further!

In what ways does your competition diet change from your normal diet?

I haven’t competed in years, but when I did it was very structured.  I did a carb-cycling approach via Shelby Starnes.  I felt if kept my energy up for the really intense training that competition requires and also allowed me to decrease my body weight (specifically dropping body fat) to be more effective at a lighter weight class.

Overall what do you think is the most common meal you find yourself eating?

Other than my regular breakfast of eggs, it’s a simple salad. As many veggies as possible, some type of meat, and a little Italian dressing and I’m all set. My wife likes to joke that if I didn’t have a family, I’d eat grilled chicken and steamed broccoli for every meal. She’s mostly correct.

What are your top 5 favorite ingredients/foods?

1. Basil
2. Cilantro
3. Cinnamon
4. Ketchup
5. Lime

If given the chance, who in the jiu jitsu world would you like to sit down and have lunch with and talk about food? Correct answers would be me. But who is a close second?

Do you have a clone? Like a Boba Arrington?  That’d be rad.
I have to go Cobrinha.  He’s a crazy baker and while I don’t eat many baked goods, I love his passion for baking (much likes yours for cooking!) and I feel like it’d be a lot of fun.

Would you try Wookie? Maybe Mongolian BBQ style?

Wookie? Absolutely not.  That’s racist. They didn’t even give Chewie a medal at the end of A New Hope. But probably sarlaac. Definitely sarlaac. Preferably one cooked by thermal detonator ala Boba Fett.

BBQ'd Sarlacc, it's whats for dinner
BBQ’d Sarlacc, it’s whats for dinner

When out to a really nice dinner, what is your drink of choice?

In the past, I’d say some type of whiskey.  But I’ve taken a break from drinking alcohol for the past 5 months (and into the foreseeable future) so now I’d have to go with diet pop (also known as soda to us sophisticated east-coasters).

What are the challenges you find maintaining your diet balanced with training, working full time, running a blog AND a company?

The biggest issue for me is with the family.  They just can’t eat the simple basics that I would every day.  My wife is incredibly accommodating and an amazing woman so we make it work.
That said, even eggs are a challenge some day because of the preparation and cleanup involved.  It’s literally more time than I have some days and I end up going with an apple and peanut butter.

If there was a skill or cooking technique that you would like to learn to improve your arsenal what would it be? Or is there a food you wish you knew how to make?

A ninja way to batch-cook a bunch of food and keep it in the refrigerator all week so I can just grab it for morning/afternoon meals.

You have to go home and cook dinner? HA Im going to stay and drill an extra hour...see you on the mats.
You have to go home and cook dinner? HA Im going to stay and drill an extra hour…see you on the mats.

Here’s a good article about how to cook in bulk Brendan!

If today was your last day, what would your last meal be and what song would you be going out to?

Last Meal: Nachos and whiskey

Song: ‘God’s gonna cut you down” – Johnny Cash …   Too morbid?


I would like to thank my good pal Brendan for taking the time out of our normal conversations about BJJ, blogging, badassoftheweek and miscellaneous nonsense to answer these questions. Keep your eyes peeled for next weeks article by Brendan here on Grappler Gourmet while I head over and do a hostile take over on In the meantime based on your preference snag some new apparel over at Ok! Kimonos and use “GOURMET” for 10% OFF. You can also use “GOURMET10” for 10% OFF at Q5 who are a proud sponsor of both Brendan and I. You can also swing over to Inverted Gear and embrace the Panda Nation by using “Grapplergourmet” for 10% OFF. Like all of these deals? Signing up for Grappler Gourmet Weekly below for more deals and post updates sent to you every week. Eat well, train hard. Oss.


Images: q8allinone blurrent

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