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    LIVING LEGACY BLOG — Supplements

    5 Tips for a Better Sleep

    5 Tips for a Better Sleep

    People always look for magic recipes to have a better health, having more focus, recovering faster from physical activities or stress and, of course, for losing weight. But in reality, we have a very powerful tool from nature that will beat all those miraculous formulas:


    A nice and deep sleep night!


    A good sleep allows your body to recover and also to perform vital metabolic processes, such as getting rid of toxic proteins in the brain. During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, your “sleeping” brain is very busy consolidating short-term memories into long-term memories.

    It's no surprise that sleep deprivation has been associated with a lot of health issues, the ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. 

    Research shows that not getting enough sleep, or getting poor-quality sleep, also increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.(1)

    So, as this is a very important issue, most of times overlooked, we researched proven factors to consider if you want to have a quality sleeping time:


    1. Turn the Lights Off

    Light helps to regulate the body biological clock, especially through melatonin, a hormone that indicates to your body that it’s time to sleep. When we turn all the lights off the body starts to produce melatonin. But the blue light, naturally produced by the sun and also by the TV screens, computers, and smartphones disrupts the production of melatonin. So the important tip here is to reduce the exposure to blue light in the evening.

    2. Try to be consistent on sleeping time

    Your body aligns itself with sunrise and sunset. Being consistent with waking and sleep times can improve the quality of your sleep dramatically. It's just like a computer program. That's why on Mondays it is always a hard day to wake up and you feel sleepy and tired all day long.  If that's sounds familiar for you, probably your weekend sleep pattern is not the same as weekdays.

    Studies show that an irregular pattern of sleep can also alter your levels of melatonin (2).


    3. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine during night time

    Alcohol is known to increase sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns. Drinking alcohol before bed also can reduce nighttime hormone production. A study (3) shows that ethanol decreases nocturnal plasma levels of thyroid hormones, causing the disturbance of many other factors.

    Regarding the Caffeine, it's a very popular substance that has proven to bring many benefits, like focus enhancement and energy boosting. Many people use it for improving the sports performance. But people don't realize that taking this substance in the late evening, will stop your body from naturally relaxing.

    So, be careful on what you drink with your dinner. Sometimes that glass of wine, soft drink or the expresso after the meal are the bad guys behind your troubled sleeping!


    4. Exercise hard to sleep well or sleep well to exercise hard?

    Definitively exercising during the day leads to a better sleep at night. But this is a kind of controversial subject with regard to the potential sleep disruption that may be caused due to a hard workout done in the late evening.

    The findings here are that exercising lead to an increase in the production of adrenaline and also raises your body temperature. (both negative factor for a good night sleep). But those factors are temporary. So, unless you finish your workout and jump straight to bed, these effects may be compensated by a warm bath and a cool temperature bedroom.

    A study also shows that increased physical activity improves sleep and mood in inactive people.(4). But not everyone is the same. You will have to listen to your body and determine is the time you go to the gym is causing you a poor night sleep.


    Now, one thing to watch is regarding the muscles or joints pains that the workout may produce in your body. If you did workout too hard this may be felt during the night and disrupt your sleep. Also in the next morning you will feel tired and sore because your body needs more rest to recover. With this regard, it's important to have the correct nutrition and post training supplementation.  Glucosamine formulas taken regularly can help to improve a lot the joints discomfort, while BCAAs (amino acids) will support your muscles regeneration process.


    5. Try to Supplement with Melatonin

    Melatonin is a key sleep hormone that signals to your brain when it's time to relax and go to bed (5). Often used to treat insomnia, it may be the easiest and fastest way to fall into a deep sleep. It can also help fight jet lag, and that's why melatonin is especially popular among frequent travel flyers.

    Other natural supplements that combined with melatonin can help:

    Magnesium: Lack of magnesium, a mineral that plays an important role in the brain, can result in abnormal neuronal excitations leading to a troubled sleep. 

    Valerian root: Valerian is an herb native to Asia and Europe. Its root is commonly used as a natural treatment for symptoms of anxiety, depression and menopause. This root is backed by several studies that show it can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality.(6)

    L-Theanine: An amino acid, l-theanine can improve relaxation and sleep. (7)

    Tryptophan: Study reports that doses as low as 1 gram per day of this essential amino acid may help improve sleep quality. (8)

    And many other natural ingredients, such as Chamomile, Vitamin B6, St. John’s Wort, Gaba, Skullcap and Ashwaganda, are already being used in the best sleeping formulas that are available in the market.


    For athletes, a good night sleep worth as much as a heavy day of training. Recovery is very important to take you to the next level of performance of your sport. So, make sure to follow these tips and have a good night!


    Gracie Essentials Team




    (1) https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/sleep/conditioninfo/sleep-deprivation

    (2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12220314

    (3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8675588

    (4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25903450

    (5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9556097

    (6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20347389

    (7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15378679

    (8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19715722/

    Studies Find The Right Way to Gain Lean Mass during 'Cut Diets'

    Studies Find The Right Way to Gain Lean Mass during 'Cut Diets'

    The most popular way for losing weight is following a "cut diet", which basically is a process of restricting calories and carbohydrates during hard physical training periods. The caveat here is that this kind of procedure also poses a high risk for lean tissues, which in consequence will eventually lead to performance limitation.

    What people don't realize is that they will put extra effort on the hard workout to compensate the limitations and they are still loosing lean mass along with fat. And the risk of injuries is real and increased.

    Besides that, the lean mass will help the metabolism to burn extra fat, so you really don't want to lose any lean mass at all! You worked for it, so you wanna keep it! 

    BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are one of the most researched and popular strength training supplements for muscle recovery. Studies on BCAAs have been evidenced its properties on helping exercise-induced muscle damage and stimulating muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth).

    This is why BCAAs can especially benefit the body during caloric restriction in combination with heavy resistance training.



    Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are defined by a group of 3 essential amino-acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Essential means that the body doesn’t produce them naturally and they must be ingested through daily nutrition.

    You can do this by eating lean meats, protein rich vegetables (especially if you are vegan) or drinking whey protein which is packed of BCAAs. A large percentage of branched-chain amino acids are found in our skeletal muscle and studies have shown that leucine is responsible for the muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth). That's why BCAAs are “the most widely used supplements among bodybuilders.”



    Heavy workouts can cause a process in your body called "Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD)" resulting in a temporary decrease in muscle force production, a rise in passive tension and increased muscle soreness, which is basically tearing down of the lean tissue.

    The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reported that when BCAAs are taking right before, during and after resistance training, the muscle recovery process is accelerated and the muscle function is improved (1)

    Another study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, shows as conclusion that Whey Protein supplementation helps to improve all parameters in terms of lean mass gain over a period of 10 weeks. (2) 



    The caloric restriction combined with intense workout is definitively the most popular way of losing weight among athletes and common people. The difference is that, athletes know about the process of muscle loss during the process and they supplement their nutrition with protein and BCAA to prevent it.

    Calories and essential nutrients restriction can also lead to decreased athletic performance and increased chances of illness (your body resistance drops) and training injuries. If the protein intake is not enough or compatible with your body needs, muscles will be wasted rather than grown.

    So, beware when trying to get fit fast by only working hard. Sometimes working smarter is better than harder!


    (1) https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-016-0142-y 
    (2) https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2011/03001/Effects_of_Resistance_Training_and_Whey_Protein.57.aspx



    Couples That Roll Together ...

    Couples That Roll Together ...

    Well, after many years teaching martial arts and observing my students behaviour, I can complete the sentence of the post subject by telling you that couples that roll together stick together for a long time!

    Well, that's not hard to explain at all. Both of them are making a commitment to learn something together under the same umbrella of principles and values. In practical terms, that also means they’re always on the same page when it comes to training schedules, food choices and physical goals.

    By having a common desire to learn self-defense, get healthier or stronger, they have chosen to share the same journey (and of course, reach their destination) together in a teamwork.

    I believe that this bond is the secret to making relationship more solid, specially in a world of so many volatility when the matter is the heart.

    You can say that this would apply to any sports or activities a couple decides to embark together. But in the case of a martial art, there are several unique aspects that can represent a plus in a relationship:

    1) Training Jiu-Jitsu, MMA or any other martial arts, trains you to stay calm and optimistic, even in the toughest moments. Being optimistic drives their positive energy to support each other. Therefore, they are able to take on life’s challenges together. 

    2) They will be happy and stress free people. Apart from the fact they will earn more time to enjoy themselves together, an intense workout gives them lots of energy to power up the day! This is all thanks to the endorphins that their brains release. Besides giving them that boost of extra energy, these hormones have a deep impact in the mood, increasing your level of happiness reducing stress. It's really a physical thing.

    3) They will never run out of things to do or to talk about. Imagine sharing a passion for Jiu-Jitsu with your significative other! Your UCF nights are now so much more fun! You've got company! And even better, they can apply and practice the techniques they see on TV or Internet anytime, anywhere ... And most importantly, as they progress in the learning they will become even closer to each other, as they will have a deeper mutual understanding. They will know their strengths and weaknesses during the trainings. When they finally get to this point, supporting the partner whenever needed, out of the mats, will become even more natural.

    4) And last but not least, if things get real bad and they want to fight (sometimes it happens ...), there will be always an open mat nearby for them to do some sparring and maybe, who knows, fixing things up on the BJJ way (LOL).

    A special thanks to my friends, a real Jiu-Jitsu couple, Rafael and Sara Torres for the super nice picture! Hope you both love this post as well!

    And as this blog post is featured at Gracie Essentials website for the Valentine's Day, I can not finish without inviting you to enjoy the promotions we have for him and for her on all the supplements and vitamins that will keep your heart beating strong! 

    Hope you all LOVE it!

    Master Rilion Gracie


    Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

    7 Reasons Why Your New Year’s Resolution Might Fail

    7 Reasons Why Your New Year’s Resolution Might Fail

    Traditionally a new calendar year symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book of your life. A blank page waiting to be written, a restart. But while so many people like you wish to achieve something, according to researches, only about 10% will ever experience the sweet taste of accomplishment. Sounds bad?  Yes, it is pretty bad. Chances to fail are 90%.

    I was making a reflection on why that happens while observing my Jiu-Jitsu new members starting their practice in this first week of the year. Many new faces, but unfortunately the majority of them have high changes to not be an academy member by the end of the year. I watch this movie every year.

    And it’s not anybody’s fault, it happens everywhere in fitness gyms and academies of all kinds. And here are the reasons my reflection on the issue has revealed:

    • You are a “short term” thinker – Life is just like a marathon and not a sprint run. As a marathon requires, you need to plan for it. You need to plan resources, get some practice (so you can have an idea if that is for you) and set goals. I will talk about goals later, but the thing is that most people want it ALL and want it right NOW. Don’t try to change your whole lifestyle in January, because that will certainly be too much. Start with small changes and victories. Walk a 5K race, then run a 5K, then go to 10K, 15K, 21K and that’s how you will get to complete a marathon! Want to lose weight? Start by adding one good habit per week on your daily diet. Drink more water first, quit fast food second, eat more veggies next, add some quality protein in the meals in the sequence, etc., etc.
    • Too much thinking, less action - There is a time to be a planner; there is a time to doer. Many people stop in the planning once they realize that the “doing part” will be in fact pretty hard (it does not have to be, if you go back to the point before). So, it does not matter how ready you are or how much knowledge you got for accomplishing certain project, if your ATTITUDE fails, you will never finish anything in life. Be more pragmatic and get things done!
    • You do not enjoy the process – when you see eating right as a chore and exercise as a penalty, things are not well. The best fitness routine is the one that does not cause disturbance in your daily life. Don’t add stress to your day. The goal is exactly the opposite, remove the stress and make things pleasant. Nobody could to do something that hates consistently for too long. Once I read an interview with one of the best Brazilian swimmers and several times gold medalist in the Olympic Games saying that sometimes is hard to get in the pool in the morning that he felt like he was going to puke in the water … That happens to everyone, because there are not 100% of good days in life. But I am sure he enjoys 99% of his sports practice.
    • You do not have a goal – “What gets measured gets done!” Yes, this is so true; people do not have a “solid”, “specific”, “realistic” and measurable goal set when they think on New Year’s resolutions. Tracking progress is key to any project accomplishment. Instead, people just say: “I want to Lose Weight”. When the correct thinking would be “I want to lose 2 pounds per month until the end of the year”. That would be the perfect goal statement. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. Specialists call it a “SMART” goal.
    • You have no social support – That’s so hard to be alone in your projects, because people do not motivate you to follow on the right direction. You need to have support from your family to start with. If you will make your family unhappy every time you are absent to practice a sport, then you should rethink on your plans and negotiate the schedule will cause the minimum disturbance of your family affairs. Friend must be in the equation as well. How about to post in your social media timeline inviting your followers to be your accountability partners? So, an extra help and motivation will come to you for helping on your journey. And this is at same time an extra commitment you are making. Now, it’s not you to be disappointed in case of a failure. The more people, the more the strength of your mission. Spread the world! 
    • You don’t now your WHY – for anything in life you need a “reason why”. That is the fundamental of your motivation. Motivation = motive + action. And probably this is one of the major things here. It’s important to know if, for example, you want to be fit to become a positive example to your children or feel more confident and sexy? The reason why matters and that is what should come to your mind when you about to give up!
    • You do not believe in yourself – wow, that’s so powerful because your mind plays tricks on you. If you think you can’t then your body probably can’t go on. But impossible is nothing and whatever your mind believes will become reality. Even if you failed in the past trying to accomplish the same thing, do not let that negative thinking disturb your plans. You can do better this time, because you are better prepared and have more confidence in you. I always tell to my students: “The black belt is the white belt that never gave up”.


    Have a Great Year!

    Rilion Gracie


    Picture: Renzo Gracie and Rilion Gracie - Credits: Ray Santana

    Blog Living Legacy by Gracie Essentials


    TAGS: New Year Resolution, Jiu-Jitsu, Lifestyle, Health, Fitness, Protein, Jiu-Jitsu, Whey 

    "Butterflies" in your Stomach Before a Match?

    How the enteric nervous system role in our belly goes far beyond just processing the food we eat*.


    It doesn't matter how experienced athlete you are, I am pretty sure you already experienced that familiar feeling of "butterflies" in the stomach before an important race or competition.


    This sensation comes from an often-overlooked network of neurons lining your gut that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our "second brain".


    A more detailed understanding of this mass of neural tissue, filled with important neurotransmitters, reveals that it does much more than merely process digestion.

    In fact, your gut is in direct connection with your brain and partly determines our mental state and plays important roles in certain diseases throughout the body.

    This whole system contains over 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. This enornous amount of neurons in the enteric nervous system enables us to "feel" the inner world of our gut and its contents.

    Much of this "intelligence" is used for complex daily tasks as breaking down food, absorbing nutrients and expelling of waste moving everything on down the line in a synchronized chemical process and rhytimic muscle contractions. This is a very complicated process and scientists found out that about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around (!!)

    Besides that the "second brain" also informs our state of mind in many situations and a big part of our emotions are probably influenced by the nerves in our gut. Butterflies in the stomach, signaling in the gut as part of our physiological stress response, is just one example.

    In fact 95% of the body's serotonin is found in the bowels. Antidepressant medications that increase serotonin levels, also provoke gut issues as a side effect. Irritable bowel syndrome—which afflicts millions of people —also arises in part from too much serotonin in our entrails, and could perhaps be regarded as a "mental illness" of the second brain.

    Researches are currently investigating how the "second brain" mediates the body's immune response. We know that at least 70% percent of our immune system is aimed at the gut to expel and kill foreign invaders.

    One way to help your gut to balance the system is providing more "good bacterias" to balance the loss caused by stress, fatigue, bad eating habits. A powerful probiotics complex with the right bacteria strains can be key to your health and wellness.

    So after all, whether you are a professional athlete or just an sports enthusiast, it is time to pay more attention to that so-called "gut feelings".


    Rilion Gracie


    * credits to Scientific American Magazine https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/