We will be looking at martial arts diet plan, this will involve looking at preferred foods, and will give us a good idea of the nutritional diet needs for various martial arts and martial artists, Looking at specific systems in the body where nutrition as a martial artist is key.
Bruce Lee`s Martial artist diet
Bruce enjoyed plenty of Chinese foods and protein shakes great for all those intensive workouts. Along with juices made from plenty of vegetables and fruit. Bruce also took vitamins supplements,
His favorite meal was beef in oyster sauce, he also liked shrimp, and chicken and tofu. He needed loads of energy producing foods. Due to his high intensity training routines.
Once a week he would have steak and Liver
Bruce Lee`s protein drink
Non-instant powered milk
Wheat germ/ Wheat germ oil
Inositol supplements (helps many cells in the body)
Lecithin (protects cells from oxidation)
As you can see from the above information Bruce was very aware of the importance of a good healthy diet and nutrition in order to keep himself healthy and have the required energy to complete those intensive workouts. Bruce was a complete martial artist and worked on every aspect of his martial arts and that included diet and nutrition. His martial arts diet plan was well researched by Bruce and refined.
Nutrition for the Circulatory System
The circulatory system is very important in regard to general health and martial arts or sports. Vessels and organs delivering nutrients around the body, Has various systems including the cardiovascular system and this is a system of complicated networks of veins and arteries that carry heart-pumped blood throughout the body. The heart supplies the organs with oxygen, nutrients and chemicals they need.
Risks to the cardiovascular system is the heart and blood vessel problems, can be affected by smoking, inactivity and unhealthy foods.
Unhealthy eating habits bring huge risks of cardiovascular health, Eating a healthy diet of high nutrients and low sugar and salt will lower your risk of cardiovascular problems. So just exercising is not good enough to stay healthy you need to have a good healthy martial arts diet plan.
If you do not have a healthy diet it could lead to cholesterol and fat, can trigger the buildup of bad cholesterol in our arteries. This then hardens into plaque that lines the blood vessels. Leaving less room for the blood to flow through and increasing the blood pressure.
If, your arteries become completely blocked this could lead to a heart attack.
So be sure to have a healthy diet along with your training.
Foods to help maintain Cardiovascular Health
Berries: Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries and Strawberries are low in calories and high in both soluble fiber (which lowers cholesterol levels) Best in smoothies or to be eaten as snacks or added to your breakfast cereal. I some times add blue berries to my porridge this is a great way as the porridge would be part of your whole grain see below (whole grains)
Beans: All types (high in Fiber) beans are high in soluble fibre, which reduces blood cholesterol levels. Lower cholesterol levels can reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis (buildup of fats, cholesterol) Baked beans, runner beans, broad beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans etc they are all great and can be eaten with meals lunch or dinner.
Monounsaturated Fats: Found in avocados, flax seeds, chia seeds, nuts and cold water fish like salmon, theses good fats ( include omega 3 fatty acids) decrease inflammation and lower saturated triglycerides levels (type of fat found in the blood). Avocados can be added to smoothies or salads, flax seeds can be added to breakfast cereals, along with chia seeds the same added to breakfast. The salmon lunch or dinner cooked in different ways.
Dark leafy greens: Spinach, kale, chard and arugula, are high in fibre and loaded with antioxidants. They are also known to lower levels of certain enzymes in the body that contribute to heart disease. Adding salads to any meal or sandwich is great or skipping lunch and having a salad instead. You could also add those dark leafy greens to smoothies, When I add it to smoothies it’s a great as you do not even taste the veg when you add the right fruits to the smoothie (a bit of trial and error is needed) to get the taste YOU LIKE.
Whole grains: Oats, wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and other unprocessed grain contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that greatly reduce the risk of heart related illness. Whole grain bread, oats as porridge to get your oats I have porridge most mornings adding various things like fruits, seeds, cinnamon, honey, etc. You can switch from white rice to brown for a more healthier choice. Quinoa is like a rice substitute.
Vitamin and minerals: try to find a good all round multi vitamin with omega 3
Nutrition for the Skeletal System
Made up of 206 bones the skeletal system support the body and protects it, It is very important when it comes to martial arts diet plan as this system needs to be nourished to ensure you have strong bones able to take impact blows and use for striking. The skeletal system also stores nutrients like calcium.
Make up of bones hard and dense and compact has small pores that surround the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. For us as martial artist we needed to keep this system healthy and in good working order and nutrition is a very important part. There is a lot of stress on this system as martial artists like heavy bag work and sparring etc. many martial arts like kung fu and muay thia condition their bones to take heavy impact blows without breakage or damage,
Cartilage lines the joints and provides structure to somebody parts such as the nose, ears and trachea, Reduces the friction between bones at the joints and absorbs shocks from movement. So as martial artist we need to remember to look after our joints and avoid damaging the cartilage, the nose which is pron to damage in boxing, kick boxing muay thia etc as well as the cartilage in the ears that tend to get damage in grappling martial arts.
The best foods to maintain health bones
Collard Greens, Turnip, Greens, Mustard Greens, These could easily be added to your lunch or dinner to get the great benefits of stronger healthy bones, helping to avoid fracture etc.
Wheat bran, cashews, almond and cacao, Some of these can be added to your breakfast like wheat bran, and cacao or even to smoothie to your individual taste by adding some fruits. The cashews and almond could be taken as nuts or milk as you can now buy almond milk or cashew milk in some health food stores.
Swiss Chard, Lima Beans, Sweet Potato, Papaya, The Swiss chad could be added to a salad or smoothie, lima beans are specifically added to special dishes like many Greek dishes, . Sweet potatoes are great and can be eaten boiled or fried etc. The papaya is a fruit and can be added to a smoothie or punch
There many ways to add those foods above to your diet, this will be an individual thing and will need to see what suits you best
Nutrition for the Muscular System
This system is for the body movement and balance, Made up of three systems,
1. Skeletal muscles: Which are attached to the bones with tendons enabling movement of the body.
2. Smooth muscles: which line the walls of different organs like kidneys, bladder etc (moving) involuntary contractions allowing those organs to function automatically.
3. Cardiac muscle: This is the muscle that makes up the heart and the movement circulates blood throughout the body`s blood vessels.
The Best foods for muscle nutrition
Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Spinach and Kale. These are all great and can be eaten as salads or cooked, but again consumed as a smoothie or punch with the right fruit for taste.
Swiss Chard, Lima beans, Sweet Potato, spinach and papaya those are mentioned above in the previous section regarding skeletal system. Please refer to that section for best ways to consume those.
Blue berries, cherries, and almonds. Those can all be consumed as a smoothie or punch adding fruit to get that taste you want. You can of cause just eat them as they are in this case as they are just fruit and nuts 🙂
Walnuts, avocado, olive oil, flax seeds, chia seeds; The walnuts can be eaten as they come or added to smoothies etc, avocado can be eaten as it comes or as a side with your main meal or smoothie. The olive oil can be used for frying or on salads. The flax seeds and chia seeds can be added to breakfast or smoothies.
As martial artist or anyone it’s important to ensure are muscle all systems function correctly but we (martial artists put extra demands on our muscles by lifting weights, practicing techniques, cardio training, stretching etc so we need to ensure we have the right nutrition for our muscles to built, recover and repair after all those heavy training sessions.
Martial arts diet plans need to have good all round nutrition but the main areas are the circulatory system, skeletal system and muscular system. As those, are the systems that affect martial artists the most. Those systems have to be in the healthiest possible positions to enable you to be at the peak of your condition during training.
I have reviewed the best food for those systems giving you the reader the knowledge to move forward in adding those to your diet. This can be done in many ways as described above, this will depend on your own personnel preferences,
I would recommend the following
Look at you morning meal and see what can add from the systems above and do the same with midday meal and main meal.
If you do not have one get a smoothie maker as most of those foods can be used to make great smoothies mixing fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables and salads, You can then have those any time of day for example before or after training. This is probably is the quickest and easiest way to get your nutrients. I can highly recommend the NutriBullet.
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Take care of your nutrition you are what you eat, but the occasional treat is a must as when you train you can burn off the calories.
Train hard, focus and practice,
2 thoughts on “Martial Arts Diet Plan”
Thank you SO much for this well written and highly educational article! 👏🏾👏🏼👏🏽👋🏾☺️
Diet is a crucial component of a successful exercise program. Unfortunately many of us don’t realise this, or we learn too late, when we are already months or years into a workout routine. And that could be when we are already feeling frustrated, not coping, or even worse, have damaged e.g. muscles by subjecting them to strenuous exercise, without the necessary nutritional support. Muscles DO break down, when you would be trying to build them!
Thanks for your comments , I agree diet and any exercise should go hand in hand its important to ensure the nutrients get to those muscles, joints, etc. Your body needs the right fuel to work at the higher levels of exercise, that`s why all the professional athletes have diet plans to give them that extra edge.
All the best