James Davis, Jr. wrote:
You've probably already heard this, but make sure you EXHALE while you roll. Make it audible. Breath out so that your internal organs don't bump each other so much.
Personally, I find I'm better off not eating at all a few hours before practice.
This is excellent advice:
1) Don't eat before class
2) Exhale before and during your roll
Personally, when I first started aikido, I came in on the weekends just to practice my rolling because I was so unconfident with it. It was 3 months before I felt able to take ukemi without breaking my neck.
The more you roll, the more you'll get used to it. Relaxing is very important. Exhaling will help that considerably. Try not to rush anything or push yourself to hard. If you aren't relaxed and enjoying yourself, chances are your doing something wrong
. That's a pretty stable peice of data I use in aikido.
If you are just starving before class, try a simple granola bar at least 30 minutes before class, but for sure nothing heavy or bulky. Go for light and easy: Apple or Orange or snack bar 30mins to hour before class.
For stiff joints and aches and pains: try Cal-Mag (Calcium Magnisum). Muscles need calcium just as much as your bones and joints do. If you suffer from arthritis, you might try Glucocimine (sp?) This helps lubricate the joints. I have arthritis in my knees and I'm sure various other places. When I've gone too long without these things, I can really tell. And be sure not to dehydrate yourself. Potasium is always good, but you'll get plenty from Gatoraide or even just bananas or avacados.
Good luck! Practice, practice, practice!