If it's one thing we know for sure, it's that a martial artist needs energy to power them through their classes. Have you seen the amount of endurance required per class? It's intense, and gets even more difficult as the fighters advance through belt levels, and begin competing with other fighters. The discipline required for learning this ancient art form is unique as it strongly encourages the balance that is needed in all areas of life. Tradition in the art from puts just as much emphasis on the physical body as mental wellbeing. What does this mean for the martial artist?To be a good, well balanced fighter, you must keep all areas of your body in optimal health. That starts and ends with nutrition. What you put into your body can dictate how you feel, your energy level, and your cognitive skills. All important aspects to one everyone, but especially those who are exerting as much energy and calories as martial artists do.A healthy diet will keep your body functioning, and your mind sharp.
So, what do we recommend for our fighters? Well, we definitely DON'T recommend reaching for the caffeine, sugar or other unhealthy fix to boost your energy. And do not rely on that energy shot….. That along with the other unhealthy choices listed above will only lead you to crashes soon thereafter. Here is a list of our top energizing foods! Pick and choose what you like, but make sure to add them into your diet so that you can power through your classes with extreme energy and focus.
Carbs are your body's fuel. They are what keep your cells running. However, choosing the right type matters! Healthy whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice and whole wheat pasta will give you sustained energy as they take longer to digest. Sweet potatoes are great carbohydrate choices that help fight fatigue and boost energy, and are a sweet treat. The newest news on carbs: try the power grain, quinoa, a super source of carbs matched with protein. It cooks like rice, but you can treat it like oatmeal by adding honey, nuts and berries. Also! Keep your eyes opened for sprouted grains. They add one more level of nutrition to your carbs with even more digestibility and health benefits.
To enhance carbs, it is always great to intake them with protein, as that will also provide a longer source of energy.Some good sources include: yogurts, especially Greek, as it triples the amount of protein over regular yogurt, nuts, such as a peanut or almond spread on bread, itwill push you through a mid day crunch or a hard workout, and eggs, the highest complete form of protein found in any food. It provides essential amino acids your body needs to build those strong muscles!
Bet you didn't know that honey is nature's energy drink! This time releasednatural sweetener fuels muscles during exercise and helps replenish them post workout.
Fruits and Veggies
Fruit and Veggies are an easy and delicious on the go food that can help power you through your workout. Bananas, because they are composed mostly of sugars and fiber, are considered a foolproof energy source, and keep you hydrated longer. Apples will give you a longer energy boost over most fruits and veggies as they are higher in fiber and slower to digest. And oranges? There's a reason why you see them at half time during youth soccer games. They provide you with energy steadily over time with no sugar rushes. Spinach salads are a great a choice for a preworkout meal. They are light, easily digestible, and provide an abundance of sustainable energy.
The choices in smoothies are endless and provide a delicious, refreshing, and hydrating answer for an energy source. Going green with some kale or spinach ads a high abundance of nutrients, any fruit can add the sweetness desired, and put a handful of seeds in for some protein. Whipped together they make the perfect energizing combination.
Protein shakes and Bars
If making smoothies is just too much effort, choose a pre made shake that only requires you to add water! There are shakes available that contain EVERYTHING you need including all your veggies, enzyme, probiotics and are a great protein source. Whether you're gearing up for a class or not, this is an excellent breakfast, or meal replacement. And the bars? These are the quickest solutions to my family's breakfast, lunch, snacks and sometimes dinner dilemmas. They are usually a great combination of protein and carbs, and a provide an easy, healthy energy boost for your classes.
Ginseng, green tea and black tea are all healthy sources of drinks that can give you an extra boost of healthy energy without jitters and crashes. Mixing them into your smoothies and protein shakes are a great idea, or even drinking a glass before class will hydrate and energize you.
What happens if you don't fuel up? Not only do you feel fatigued, your body actually begins to decline health wise over time. If you do not have the nutrients or hydration needed to push through a workout or to recover and replenish, it will cause unnecessary stress to the body and cells resulting in illness and disease.In conclusion, avoid foods that are high in fat and calories as they can leave you feeling fatigue with low energy. Choose carbs, protein, fruits and veggies or simply grab a smoothie, shake or bar to give your body what it needs to keep the balance in your training. Stay alert during your martial arts class and make smart choices about what you're using to fuel your body. And don't forget to drink a lot of water!