The 3 Most Important Foods Every Martial Artist Should Eat
As a martial artist you can have the best ridge hand, and the best spinning hook kick that lands on your target every time, but it does you no good if you don’t fuel your body with the right kind of energy. Yes, physical training is an integral part of any athlete whether it’s a football player, or marathon runner, and this truth also applies to a martial artist. However, you can’t solely rely on training by itself. Doing so will set you up for a very sore body, longer recovery time, fatigue, and believe it or not, less time on the mat. You can only get the full benefit from your martial arts training by incorporating good nutrition for your body with these 3 main ingredients: protein, carbs and [healthy] fats.
Protein is a major component of what our bodies are made up of. Our muscles, bones, even our hair is made mostly of this building block. Protein is also essential in repairing our bodies and also helps us in building muscle. As a martial artist, we are constantly pushing our bodies to another level. A great example of this is if after months of stretching exercises you finally can kick at head level. That’s awesome, but you have to refuel your body and your newfound ability with those proteins. Healthy proteins include; chicken breast, turkey, salmon, eggs, greek yogurt, and lentils.
Carbs are what get broken down and used immediately for energy. If not used, it will later be stored up as fat. However, not all carbs are the same; there are good carbs and bad carbs. Healthy carbs examples are sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta and bread, brown rice, apples, peaches, and plums. Let’s say you’ve been running around doing errands right before class, and did not have time to eat; you can grab yourself an apple, a granola bar, or a cheese stick, and this will give you energy through your training session. Just remember, you’ll still need to refuel right after with a some sort of healthy protein.
There is a misconception that all fats are bad for you and dangerous. Sadly, a lot of people think that cutting out the entire food group will help their training and workout regimen. In fact, this essential food helps our bodies absorbs key vitamins (A, D, E, & K), gives us fatty acids that we can’t produce on our own, and helps in brain development. As a martial artist you need enough energy in your body to do what you’re asking it to do while training. After about 20 minutes, your body uses up the carbs and then resorts to the fat to help us keep on going. No, I’m not saying you can eat cake or fried chicken right before a training. If you do so, you will not feel very good about 10 minutes into training. So what are you supposed to do? Thankfully, there is a plethora of healthy fat options; try whole eggs, avocado, salmon or trout, and nuts like almonds and walnuts.