Fitness is an all-encompassing practice that involves more than just working out. Diet, along with training, should be harmonized and coordinated for maximum performance and avoid the risk of complications. The martial arts are no exception to these rules, and indeed with many disciplines’ emphases on sparring and competitive combat, one should be fit and healthy to promote healing and prevent injury, on top of fighting as best as one can.
Eating a balanced and healthy diet enables martial arts athletes maintain and improve their health. Certain restrictions are often in place for the best martial arts training diets to get the best results. For example, heavy sugar sources such as soft drinks and ice cream are highly discouraged, as they are unnecessary and can promote excessive fat deposits. Carbs are a mixed bag – some disciplines prefer it as an energy source, while others eschew it in favor of different types of fuel like fats.
What sort of foods are encouraged for martial arts practitioners? Proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are essential for a proper diet if any kind of martial art is practiced, although the amount consumed of each of these nutrients depends on the practitioner and the discipline to train. Protein, which promotes muscle growth and replenishes energy stores. There’s also good fats, like unsaturated fats, which are actually healthy to have and can help maintain cholesterol levels. Also important are foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, as they promote bone growth and density, which can be very helpful in preventing injuries such as bone fractures.
Remember that adequate hydration is also extremely important during training. However, during intense workouts with lots of sweating, very high water intake may result in water intoxication, though this is mostly rare. Consider supplementing your hydration with an electrolyte-infused energy drink.
Martial arts competitors will be acquainted with the concept of weight cutting, or taking drastic steps to reduce your weight in order to reach a certain cutoff for their weight class. Before you can even think of drastic weight cutting measures, you should ensure that your daily diet is already healthy, so that you don’t suffer too much from nutrient deficiency when you lose weight.
Read our article: Tips & Strategies On Weight Cutting: What You SHOULD And SHOULDN’T Do
One piece of dietary advice that has been making its rounds in recent years is that you should eat several small meals rather than a large breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating multiple small meals ensures that your blood sugar levels remain relatively constant throughout the day, and can prevent you from overeating. While the efficacy of this advice for those without very active lifestyles is not fully understood, martial arts practitioners benefit from the stable energy levels that allow them to keep training.
Your diet is extremely important to your well-being and effectiveness as an athlete. Always remember to keep it balanced and healthy, and you’ll be working at peak performance at all times.