If you are into martial arts, taking proper care of nutrition is crucial to your overall performance, strength, endurance, and speed. What you eat affects your energy levels, as well as the ability to train and recover from intense workouts.
The trick is to stay lean and still be strong.
Eating well may sound easy but nutrition is a complicated field. Particularly because of so much conflicting information regarding whether certain types of food are healthy or not.
Some advocate high-fat, low-carb meal plans while others praise low-fat diets. It is easy to get confused.
Luckily, there are some scientifically proven nutritional facts that most experts agree on.
Let’s see how you can maintain a healthy diet and be prepared for your demanding training sessions.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Your body needs the right fuel to achieve peak performance.
Optimal nutrition consists of proteins, healthy carbs, fats, fibers, and micronutrients (like vitamins and minerals). Protein intake is especially important during and after a workout since it repairs the muscles after an intense session.
Include complex carbs and healthy fat sources like nuts, avocados, egg yolks, and oils into your diet. Unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (fish and other seafood, plant oils) are a healthier option than saturated fats.
Make sure to consume nutrient-dense dishes as that’s how you’ll prevent losing muscle mass.
Still, in order to be in the know on how to properly maintain your fitness level, you need a reliable source of information on martial arts equipment.
Reduce Your Carb Intake
Carbohydrates are one of the body’s main sources of energy.
Still, there are some precautions because not all carbs are created equal.
Cut back on white bread, pastries, and other starchy foods. This will prevent spikes in your blood sugar, fluctuations in your mood and energy, and prevent body fat from building up. Opt for complex, unrefined carbs like veggies of diverse colors, whole grains, and fruit.
Avoiding sodas, sweets and sports drinks sounds obvious, but the problem lies in hidden sugar.
This means that reading food labels is a must! However, stay alert as sugar can be named differently on labels.
According to researchers from the University of California, the average American eats 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day.
For athletes, there is an exception to avoiding sugars. To maximize your workout you need to eat properly. One or two hours before a training session eat a healthy carb-rich meal like whole-grain cereals, whole-grain pasta or brown rice. Consuming easily digested carbohydrates provides you with enough energy without leaving you feeling sluggish.
Since an intense workout burns a lot of calories, carbs and proteins can help in muscle recovery afterward.
Don’t Skip the Breakfast
If you are trying to maintain your muscle mass and lose weight, the worst thing you can do is go without eating all day. This will result in less energy to train. Even worse, your body will start to store fat. Also, a morning workout without properly fueling your body can increase muscle tissue breakdown you surely wish to avoid.
Incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your morning routine to ensure workouts.
If you are worried about weight loss, don’t cut on your first meal of the day. Instead, train harder and faster to burn more calories and build lead body mass.
Stick to cheese, nuts, apples, and other seasonal fruit. Low-fat and low-carb store-bought snacks are off-limits as they are unhealthy as any other artificial food.
They are usually packed with artificial ingredients that can be harmful to your health.
Trans Fats Are Your Enemy
This type of fat is the worst you can eat.
It is usually artificial and used in items that have a longer shelf-life.
Trans fats raise LDL cholesterol levels (the bad one) while lowering HDL levels (good cholesterol). Many foods, particularly highly-processed items, contain trans fats. Cookies, crackers, frozen pizza, and stick margarine are some of them.
Eating trans fats regularly increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled them as “not generally recognized as safe“ so they should be avoided at any cost.
Finding the perfect balance of food is essential for a martial artist.
It can speed up your metabolism, build muscle and optimize your energy levels.
Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes or cutting corners here. If you want to take your performance to the next level, you need to make healthy choices and stick with the proper nutrition plans.
Keep it clean and lean!