Whether you’re participating in a sport, doing body building or simply want to stay healthy, you need to eat nutritious foods. Your body is like any type of machine, but the difference is, you can’t go buy another when it fails. If you only had one car for life, you’d baby that one car like crazy. That’s what you should do for your body. Instead of giving it the highest octane gasoline and best synthetic oils as you would a car, you’ll need to provide the maximum nutrients in the food you eat and the best balance of macronutrients. Here are some good nutrition tips for martial arts that can help get your body ready for the next match.
Remember sugar is a killer of both your body and your strength.
You don’t have to be an athlete to know that sugar is bad for you and realize that it’s in almost all processed foods. Not only is it highly addictive, it also plays havoc with your blood sugar levels, boosting your energy to nerve jangling highs and then dropping it down to nothing. It’s even in “healthy” foods and sports drinks. Sometimes it’s under the guise of a name you’re not used to using like ribose or maltodextrin. How can you avoid it? The answer is simple. Eat few, if any processed foods and more whole foods. If you eat processed foods, know the different names for sugar and read the label for any type of sugar.
You need carbs for energy.
If you want maximum energy during a match or a sparring session, you need carbs. Don’t eat right before your practice or match, but about four hours before it. Have a bowl of oatmeal, fruit and a source of lean protein like eggs. Eating right before you have a sparring session is unwise, so you need food that provides immediate energy, like carbs and some protein for fuel later.
For lunch or dinner, don’t forget the protein.
If you’re in a tough sport that taxes your muscles, you need plenty of protein to help with the repair. Lunch and dinner should contain plenty of protein for better recovery. It also should have healthy portions of fresh vegetables, in particular, things like kale, spinach and broccoli that are dark green and leafy. Rice can add some substance to the meal, too. Don’t forget the healthy fats, either. They help with joint health and recovery. Fatty fish and avocados are good sources. Your diet should be between 30 percent fat and protein and 40 percent carbs and 20 percent fat and protein and 60 percent carbs.
- Eat carbs earlier in the day to ensure they go toward energy needs and not to fat.
- Smoothies about an hour and a half before working out can boost your energy. If you include beets or pomegranate juice it provides nitrates that vasodilators to improve your performance.
- A protein shake after a workout that has a natural anti-inflammatory in it, like tart cherry juice or turmeric, can help recovery.
- Don’t forget to hydrate. Make it that miracle drink—water. In most cases, unless you’re working out for hours, you won’t need a sports drink to replenish electrolytes.