Proper Nutrition for the Martial Artist

Proper nutrition for the martial artist is similar to the needs of any athlete, yet as different as the needs of any individual. In other words, suggestions are given for athletes to maintain form and function through diet, but with the variety of bodies and metabolisms in the world, only a doctor can determine the ideal nutrition course of any one person, even a martial artists. With that said, there are some general nutrition guidelines a martial artist can follow, as can any athlete.

First of all, it is important in nutrition to know one’s own body. Every body works differently and requires different nutrition. Some bodies metabolize food more quickly than others and require more calories. Others have the opposite reaction to nutrition and require a restriction of calories to maintain weight.

It is important when restricting calories not to go overboard into a starvation diet. This can be especially dangerous for a martial artist who burns calories in addition to calories restricted. The body, in response to the nutritional restriction, will revert to survival mode and will store fat instead of shed it. This will not result in an ideal form for he martial artist. A more healthy approach would be to monitor nutritional intake and make the most of the calories eaten.

Again, it is important to note that an excess of calories taken in, by a martial artist or any athlete must be equal to the output calories in order to maintain weight. If the intake is higher, the martial artist will gain weight, despite the nutritional value of the calories. Similarly, if the nutritional intake in calories is lower than the output, the martial artist will lose weight.

It is important for martial artists to eat nutritionally. This includes making protein an important part of the diet. Protein helps repair muscle. It is during the rest period, after muscles have been worked during a martial arts performance, that the muscles start to repair. Protein and other proper nutrition can help speed the healing process.

Carbohydrates are also an important part of a martial artists nutrition. Carbohydrates help fuel the body and maintain energy. Without the reserve, the body may turn to muscle for energy and the martial artist will in fact lose important muscle. When eating carbohydrates, it is important to choose complex carbohydrates like grains. These take longer to breakdown and therefore supply more energy for the body. Candy bars contain carbohydrates in the form of sugar. Simple carbohydrates like sugar take less time to break down and therefore provide less energy for the martial artists body.

Fat is an important part of nutrition as well. Though taught nutritionally to stay away from fats, every body needs fats for proper function. It is important, however, that the martial artist chooses the right fats for the body. These include fats in fish, nuts and olive oil.

Maintaining a healthy body physically through exercise and nutrition is an important part of any martial artists life.

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