Living a martial arts lifestyle is not just about learning to fight and get ripped. Being able to live the life of a martial artist is also about knowing how and what to eat to make sure you keep your body and mind at an optimal level. Here are some nutritional tips for all the aspiring athletes that want to live the martial arts lifestyle.
Take it slow
You don’t have to have a perfect eating plan from the get-go. Everyone has different body types and nutritional requirements that vary with age, height, weight, among other factors. Just like anything in life, you most likely won’t get it on the first try. Trial and error is a big part of knowing what foods work best for you
Tip: Try to start out by just trying to figure out what you eat in a day. List them all down and ask yourself “Does this look like a nutritionally balanced meal?”. If your answer is no, you have some changes to make.
Don’t think diet, think Lifestyle change
A diet is usually only aimed to last for a couple of weeks, a month, or in more serious scenarios, two. The person undergoing the diet is mostly miserable during the whole process. A big portion of people do not even finish the whole duration of the diet as we all only have a limited capacity for restraint.
A lifestyle change is more of changing eating habits than restraining yourself from eating at all. Instead of going on a no-carb diet for a month, try to opt for eating carbs on schedule instead. For example, set Friday as your carb loading day. You do not eat any carbs during the week, but on Friday, you get to eat as much as you want.
These types of eating habits generally lead to an easier time transitioning to eating healthier than just restraining yourself altogether from day one.
Use food tracking apps
Food tracking applications on your smartphone are a very easy way to check how much you need to eat for the day and what nutrition you are getting out of all the food you consume. You need to make sure you are eating nutrient-dense food with all your meals, and as much as possible stay away from calorie-dense foods.
Tip: MyFitnessPal is the number one food tracking application on the smartphone today. You can track all kinds of generic food items, as well as any food item that has a barcode on it.
Water is the only liquid you need
Most sports drinks you see on advertisements are of your favorite athletes doing their thing while drinking whatever sports beverage company is sponsoring them. What you may not know is that these athletes like LeBron James or Tom Brady don’t actually consume sports drinks daily.
If you watch training videos on youtube, you will see these athletes lugging around 2-liter jugs of water all throughout their training sessions. They are taking huge gulps of water in between sets and you will hardly see a sports drink in sight.
This is because most commercialized sports drinks are filled with sugar and provide you with unwanted calories that have hardly any nutrition to them. Just as we have pointed out in our previous point, most of these drinks are calorie-dense and serve no purpose other than a temporary sugar rush. This is why most consumers feel the “rush” after drinking these beverages.
Just because you are doing your best to change your lifestyle and eating habits does not mean you don’t get to enjoy. Learn to reward yourself properly for the little achievements you make.
If you love burgers, opt to make your own at home, and make sure to use healthier options like whole-wheat for your bread and grass-fed ground beef for your patties. It may not seem like much, but these little changes go a long way.
Its ok to fail, it’s not ok to quit
The biggest hurdle everyone who is on a diet is facing is slipping up and going off course days after eating so healthy. We have to face facts that we aren’t all given unlimited amounts of willpower that can fend off any cravings we may encounter on the way.
Don’t feel bad if this happens to you. It happens to everyone and every road has its bumps. The best plan of action is to just brush it off and continue with the healthy lifestyle you have initially planned for yourself. So what if you had an oily slice of pizza after working on yourself and physical fitness for the past two weeks. You deserve it! One unhealthy meal is not going to hurt your progress, you can be sure of that.