The majority of martial artists and athletes take their sports nutrition seriously so they can reap the benefits of their intensive training. They also want to make their nutrition plans as effective and sufficient as possible because the physical demands of the workouts can be quite strenuous and stressful on their body. If not backed up by proper nutrition, your workouts and training sessions could possibly have an adverse affect on your entire body, so it’s always in your best interest to implement a proper nutrition plan.
There is no one standard that will clearly identify exactly what an optimum sports nutrition plan is. Although there are several products on the market that are advertised as being the single answer for your nutrition needs, in reality they cannot give you the results you are looking for. In other words there is no “magic pill” or one size fits all.
The reason these products can’t live up to their hype and can’t supply you with everything you need is because each person is different and consideration has to be given to the condition of every individual’s body. Only after identifying and realizing what your body’s current physical status is, will you be able to know which nutrition product or plan is best for you.
The basics of an effective athletic nutrition plan that best fits your training and fitness level, consists of three fundamental requirements:
First, there has to be an adequate intake of enough fluids, which may or may not contain additional components that are equally beneficial, such as electrolytes. Second, there must be a proper diet plan to provide your body with the necessary nutrients. Third, certain supplements and vitamins must be combined with the first two to further boost their impact on your body.
An effective nutrition plan for one person may not work for someone else mainly because every person has different needs, physical characteristics and other unique circumstances. These need to be carefully considered prior to implementing any type of nutrition plan.
The nutrients that are usually beneficial for the martial arts athlete are carbohydrates and protein. These two play a major role in enabling your body to cope with the extreme stress that comes with martial arts workouts while at the same time boosting your immune system. Since most martial arts are explosive in nature, most energy consumed by the body comes from carbohydrates. Also, protein is the key component in building muscle. Although there are food supplement suppliers that claim to have a sufficient supply of these nutrients included in their product, the real foods that you eat are usually the best source.
Tips for an effective nutrition plan:
- Try to eat five times a day. Space your meals out with three balanced meals and two healthy snacks.
- Try to eat for the following three hours. If you know you are practicing at 4pm, plan to have a large lunch to supply the fuel you will need for your intense workout.
- Eliminate junk food! It is your worst enemy!
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day to maintain adequate hydration.
- Consume foods that are high in fiber.
- Try to plan your meals with one part fat, two parts protein, and three parts carbohydrates (in grams).
- Plan ahead and track your intake. By planning your meals in advance and tracking what you are eating, you can easily gauge what works and what doesn’t.
- Increase your lean body mass and you will burn fat faster. More lean muscle means a higher metabolism!!!
When meeting with a nutrition specialist to discuss what may be best for your particular nutrition plan, bear in mind that a significant part of a professional’s recommendation depends on what you tell them. Provide them in detail what your training consists of, as well as your eating habits, will help a lot in guiding their recommendations.
Simply identifying what the best nutrition plan is not enough to expect results. To be successful, like anything else you do in life, you must commit yourself to your plan. It needs to be in constant partnership with your fitness training and workouts.
An irregular nutrition program will not give you the results you’re looking for and may cause adverse effects since your body may get confused with the intermittent amounts of nutrients being ingested.
In any case, proper sports nutrition for a martial artist is what every practitioner should aim for at all times. Your body is at stake so really, there is no room for compromises. The best and most effective nutrition plan should remain your target at all times.