Karate practitioners, like other martial artists, must be conscientious about their diets to ensure peak performance and health. While your goals may vary from fat loss to muscle gain to overall energy increases, most martial artists are conditioned to think of their food as fuel and nothing more. With that in mind, focus on building eating habits that are scheduled around, and support, your karate training.
One to two hours prior to your workout, you should consume a small amount of carbohydrates to increase your energy for the training session. Eat half a bagel, whole grain cereal or fruit such as an apple or handful of grapes. You want food that will be digested quickly but still provide enough fuel to help you reach optimal performance during the workout.
Within 30 minutes of training, consume some protein with a small amount of carbohydrate to speed up recovery restore glycogen supplies in the muscles. A fruit smoothie with a scoop of protein powder is fast and easy to make, and since it is in liquid form, is easy to digest. Another option is low-fat peanut butter on a piece of whole-wheat bread.
For breakfast, eat a small serving of carbohydrates, with a serving of protein and fat, such as 1 cup of oatmeal with two eggs and a handful of almonds.
A morning snack would include 4 oz. of tuna with a cup of vegetables or an apple.
Lunch would be a grilled chicken or turkey sandwich with 1/2 cup of vegetables or a small salad.
An afternoon snack would be yogurt and grapes or 1/2 cup of vegetables.
Dinner would be 1/2 cup of pasta, rice or beans with 6 oz. of protein such as chicken, turkey, fish or lean beef.
General Nutritional Health
Many traditional karate practitioners suggest consuming a ginseng-free green tea with the belief that it will boost metabolism and serve as a potent source of anti-oxidants.
A daily multivitamin and mineral, as well as a fish oil, supplement is also recommended to be taken with a meal to increase absorption.
- "The Bare Essentials Guide for Martial Arts Injury Prevention and Care;" Trish Bare Grounds; 2006
- "The Fighter's Body: An Owner's Manual;" Loren W. Christensen, Wim Demeere; 2003