Full Name: Jimmy Caron
Belt Colour: Blue
Professor: Nathan Stevers (Big River Martial Arts)
Short Term Goals: I would like to improve my learning methods for Jiu Jitsu and implement a training routine that I can follow more easily since I had to move away from the academy I was training at and its a lot harder to evolve my game with less time available. Also to stay in shape/healthy and continue working on myself on a day to day basis.
Jimmy Caron is another great example of how much impact jiu-jitsu can have. From dealing with anxiety to conquering alcoholism, Jimmy is a great role model for those looking to do the same. In this article, we discuss why jiu-jitsu can be so effective for battling addiction and mental issues. Jimmy also explains how he managed to lose weight with the aid of intermittent fasting and diet as well as jiu-jitsu. This is a great read for anyone that wants to learn how effective jiu-jitsu can be for addressing and solving many problems. If you're already an active BJJ practitioner, make sure to give it a read as well! You may be able to relate and learn from his story.
How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?
I started Jiu Jitsu in June 2017.
Where do you train out of?
I started training jiu-jitsu under Nathan Stevers at Big River Martial Arts in Bathurst which is located in the northeastern part of New-Brunswick Canada. I had to move away in early November 2018 because I lost my job and couldn’t afford living there anymore so, for now, I drill at home watching videos and attend a small local bjj club to get some rolls in. Once in a while when money and time are available, I do a 275km (a little over 3h) trip back to my professor’s dojo to attend a few classes or open mats.
Do you prefer gi or no-gi?
I train in both gi and no-gi and don‘t mind either of them but I train a bit more in gi since it covered about 3/4 of our academy schedule. I’ve been working on a fusion of my no gi and gi game together lately with good success. Besides using the lapels for chokes, I’ve been using mostly no-gi grips everywhere so my brain doesn’t have to play between too many variations and it keeps everything very simple.
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
Yes! I’ve been suffering from some anxiety and lacking confidence greatly since I was young from being bullied through school and college. Jiu-jitsu helps immensely for dealing with those kinds of situations but without proper guidance, it can also be overwhelming sometimes and being overweight and not athletic at all didn’t help either.
Nathan was always there if I needed to talk and was always finding a way to make me understand my problems with some of his own life experiences. He helps me push myself to areas I never thought I could reach and also gave me the hunger to live again. I can’t be thankful enough for his help and guidance.
What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that applies to everyday life?
Fears are meant to be faced, great things are often unseen and talent may take you far, but perseverance and patience will take you even further.
How often do you train?
I used to train 6 days a week, once or twice every day but since I moved out in November, I train at least 3-4 days a week once a day and try my best to do cardio and conditioning 2-3 times a week from home or at the gym.
What made you want to start training?
I was overweight, tired of the life I had because I was a big mess and wanted to get a grip back on my life but didn’t know how. That’s when I met this girl and she told me she was practicing jiu-jitsu for the past 5 months and that it helped her deal with some personal problems she had. I questioned her for about a month before deciding to take the leap and after my first class, I was hooked right away!
Do you plan on training your whole life?
Hell yes! Even when I was hurt I was never missing a class. I would sit down on the side of the mats still attending class, asking questions and taking notes for when I could return. With everything I’ve been through, I don’t know what would make me stop training haha!
What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?
It's different for everyone I think. I love the art by itself and also the family feeling that every club has. I also like the problem-solving aspect of it that makes us scramble for an answer while under pressure.
What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical health?
I’ve gained some muscle mass and with the help of the intermittent fasting DVD from Tom Deblass and the keto diet, I’ve lost 90 lbs in my first 7-8 months of training.
Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?
As I said earlier, I’ve been suffering from anxiety and other mental issues since a young age and jiu-jitsu gave me the tools and a way to manage my problems more efficiently and to fight back harder when I get in those downs.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything differently?
Besides starting at a younger age no not at all. I don’t know if I would’ve been ready mentally back then to step on the mats but I never regretted anything I did since I started that’s for sure!
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?
I would say give yourself a few weeks to a month and just try it! It’s hard a bit at first physically and for some mentally too but it will be worth every second and penny you invest in it. After all, why wouldn’t you want to be a better version of yourself and know how to defend yourself?
Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?
To someday earn my black belt that’s for sure but also to help others as my professor did with me.
What’s your favourite move?
Rear naked choke
If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?
I’m not really sure honestly. The way things were going, probably nothing very good.
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
For sure! It’s already becoming more and more but being able to watch all the tournaments right on tv would be awesome!
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
All of them have. They all made me learn something at some point that helped me reach the level I am now.
When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?
To not rely on my strength and understand the finer details of invisible jiu-jitsu.
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
Knowing that you helped someone change their lives, modify or quit some habits and then see them succeed in what they worked so hard to achieve has no price. It makes me happy and grateful to be able to do what I do. We all need someone to look up to and be happy in life, we all deserve it.
Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it? If so, please explain.
Having lost many things lately including my job was very tough mentally. Not knowing when I could find another job, have money to pay the bills and feed myself etc… Then one day at open mat someone I was rolling with knew I wasn’t feeling well and after telling him what I was going through, he told me something that would change my perspective on life with jiu-jitsu, he said “Everybody has problems, some small, some bigger but right now when you roll you are dealing with the worst problem that everyone has to meet someday and that is death. We are literally a bunch of people from all walks of life trying to either break limbs or choke (kill) someone out with our hands. What can be worst than dying?”
From that day, every time I felt like my problems were getting the better of me, I ask myself what could be worst right now and 100% of the time many things could be worst and its enough to make me work harder to get over those difficult moments.
What made you make the decision to take control of your health and start losing weight?
I was feeling myself spiralling down more and more in my personal life, I was overweight and been like this all my life and both sides of my family have health issues. About 3-4 years before I started jiu-jitsu, I told myself that from now on, I would set myself a goal and would have to achieve it by the end of the year every year and that goal must only be oriented to make me happy and a better person.
I always looked for others before myself and on many occasions, it backfired on me or just dragged me into more problems than I already had. I still managed to fulfill my promise to myself each following year and in 2017, I changed my promise a bit. I promised myself that instead of looking for myself only on 1 aspect every year that I would work on being the best version of myself on a day to day basis and a few months later, I started jiu-jitsu to help with my weight loss and fighting my anxiety which led me to eat healthier, do more exercises, stop drinking etc.
Was it difficult to stop consuming alcohol and do you have any advice for those that are trying to do the same?
I started drinking a lot more when I almost did a burnout from a job I had. I was also working in a club at that time and drinks were VERY cheap for the staff so I would quite often drink between a 26 to a 60 oz of hard liquor 3-4 days in a row at the bar and pour myself drinks every now and then at home too. I was spending pretty much 75% and more of my paychecks in alcohol to try to forget the problems I had but in the end, it was just aggravating them. That’s the typical reason why people start drinking as I did.
So in the fall of 2017 after thinking about it for a while and trying to slow down, I realized the harm I was doing to myself and how it was not helping me in training either and decided to just quit cold turkey. I flushed all the booze I had down the toilet and didn’t look back. I tried 1 drink a year later and the desire of starting again came right back so I never touched alcohol again and probably never will. Quitting alcohol can sometimes be very dangerous if you’re an alcoholic or borderline to be. You should always seek help from a doctor to follow you up or a center specialized in detox because every person is different and reacts differently.
My best advice to someone that tries to quit is simple but it's also the hardest part of it all, avoid it the best you can and have something on you to keep your mind off it. Drink water, exercise, use stress relieving gadgets like a spinner or something and avoid being around alcohol if you know you have a hard time controlling yourself.
What is the Ketogenic Diet? and how has it helped you lose weight?
The keto diet is a low carb, high-fat diet. It helps to lower blood sugars and insulin levels by using fat instead of carbs for energy. The body burns fat for energy and the liver transforms it into ketones which supply energy for the brain. It has been proven to have many health benefits compared to the often recommended low-fat diet.
You’ll often hear that people on keto only eat bacon and an enormous quantity of fat but that’s not true and I would recommend everyone to go look for Thomas Delauer on youtube for deeper insights on it. Even with more fat in my diet, I still lost a lot of weight because it was giving me the energy to train more on a daily basis.
Is intermittent fasting effective for losing weight as well? What is intermittent fasting for those that don't know?
A big part of losing weight is made in the kitchen people say and it's true. Its what you eat but also WHEN to eat it. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. I use the keto diet to know what to eat and intermittent fasting to know when to eat it.
There are a few different methods of how to do it and I do the 14/10 method which involves fasting for 14 hours and having a 10-hour window to eat. No food or caloric intake is allowed in the fasting time so you drink water, coffee or tea in that period only. Tom Deblass has a great book and DVD about it that I recommend and also Thomas Delauer on youtube again for some reference. With Tom’s book and help Thomas’s videos along with my jiu-jitsu training, I’ve lost 90 lbs in about 7-8 months.
Was there ever a moment in your weight loss/jiu-jitsu journey where you felt like giving up?
September 2018 was a pretty rough time for me. After having a big car accident which I was lucky to only have a small concussion and a sprained neck, I lost my job about a week after and in the following month I ran out of money so I had to move back at my parents to get my things back together. From the accident until December that year, I felt like everything was crumbling apart.
I had lost many things that I worked hard for and even though I was promoted to blue belt in that time, I didn’t felt like it was a happy time for me. I almost quitted everything all together but I continued looking forward and told myself that I had made a promise to keep working on a day to day basis to be the best version of myself and that quitting was not the best I could do. For this reason, I shall never quit what I love doing because I owe it to myself.
For those that are having troubles lose weight and is finding it difficult to stay motivated, what would you tell them?
Keep at it and do it for yourself! You owe it to yourself to be healthy and happy in life. The only limits you’ll meet are the ones we impose on ourselves. Do a bucket list or a goal list and keep it with you at all time, read it often and hustle for what you want. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself cause it’s when we are challenged that we do the most!