How To:Health

From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia

Martial artists, like any other athletes, need to have a solid plan to achieve their goals that consists of solid nutrition and a smart work out regimen. This "How To" section helps you go beyond your techniques and get information on other types of fitness training and nutrition plans.

Weight Loss

A martial artist always strives to be in the best shape possible. Sometimes that means losing weight, either because we are overweight or because we need to make weight for an event or a fight. Whatever the reason, these tips are designed to get you started on the road to permanent weight loss.

You Gotta Commit, Kid

Understand that weight loss will not happen, or will not be permanent or healthy if you do not commit to an overall healthy lifestyle. There is no magic diet or pill. You can't starve yourself, or do drastic amounts of exercise all of a sudden. Permanent weight loss means making a choice to eat right from now on. It means making good choices, not punishing yourself. It means exercising consistently, not exercising so hard that you are too sore or discouraged to stick to your regimen. Be smart, be real and be determined, and you will reach your goals.

Know where you're coming from, Know where you're going

Take detailed measurements. If all you have is a scale, then write down your weight and the date. Always weigh yourself with as little clothing as possible, preferably before you eat breakfast in the morning. If you have access to any method of body fat calculation, write that number down as well. Weigh yourself and do body fat calculations every two weeks.

Pay attention to how your clothes fit. Martial arts training can be very muscular in nature, and you may put on muscle mass that can be misleading on a scale. The way your clothes fit, and how your body looks is much more important than what your scale says. Remember, the goal is a healthier body with less fat and more lean muscle, not a certain weight on the scale.

Crazy Calorie Counting

There is one simple rule to adhere to when you are trying to lose weight. You need to burn more calories than you take in. That doesn't mean that you should starve yourself. You need calories for fuel, especially to make it through strenuous martial arts training. This tool can help calculate the amount of calories you should take in for weight loss.

Keep a notebook or diary of everything you eat for a couple of weeks. Don't skip anything. If you eat it or drink it, write it down, and include the amount as well. You can go to [] and find the calorie values of your food.

Fuel for the body

What foods should you be buying? Whole foods - veggies, grains, fruits, fresh meats and poultry. These are the foods that give you fuel to train hard and recover fast.

Fruits and Vegetables

Kiwi, cherries, blueberries, bananas (while calorie dense, they are also good sources of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, which helps to prevent muscle cramps), and dark green veggies.


Think brown. Brown rice and whole grain breads. No white bread or rice, and it goes without saying no sweets like cookies or cakes. Save those for rare treats or rewards.


Lean beef, white meat chicken, salmon and cold water fish. Tuna in a can is a great food on the go. Always eat plenty of lean protein!

It's H2O-riffic

Drink plenty of water! Stay away from soda, juices and other sugary beverages. You should be drinking a bare minimum of 8 glasses, or 64 ounces, of water per day. If you are training hard, like you should be, you should try to drink even more.

Drinking plenty of water will aid in your weight loss. Staying hydrated will allow your body to stop holding onto water weight. Your skin, hair, digestion and muscle recovery will also improve when properly hydrated.

Push it to the limit... LIMIT!

In the dojo, the gym or at home, it is up to you to push yourself to your limits. Get the most out of your training time. Throw each technique like it is real. Push yourself to run faster, stretch longer and hit with more intensity. Train like a warrior and you will soon look like one.

Remember that consistency is key! It doesn't matter if you work hard one day if you are going to cheat at your workouts the rest of the time. It's your body and your life. Only your sheer force of will is going to push you to the next level of martial arts and physical fitness.

I need a breather

The body needs time to rest and repair from hard training. Sleep and rest are just as important to losing weight as the training! If your body is in stress, it will hold onto those body fat stores for dear life! Make sure you get enough sleep and have at least one day a week where you do no strenuous physical activity. Schedule your rest time and stick to it, the same as how you would schedule a training session. You will see results faster and feel much better in the process.

Supplement THIS

Supplements can help with fat burning, can speed recovery time and can give you a boost in performance as well. It is important to remember several things about supplements though. First, some people think they are not safe. Read all the labels, research online and make an informed decision. The vast majority of supplements available over the counter are relatively safe, provided you don't have any pre-existing medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes. At the very least, I would recommend taking a joint support compound and a multivitamin for good health and recovery.

The Benefits of Fruit


Fruits are a good choice for any healthy diet. There really is no better selection for a healthy snack than a hearty serving of fruit. Fruits are high in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, B Vitamins and are also an excellent source of fiber.

When you have a sweet tooth, instead of reaching for some cookies or any other junk food, have some fruit instead. Because of the fiber content in most fruit, you will feel full longer than if you had eaten the empty, nutritionless calories in junk food. The best choice is to eat whole, fresh fruit. Canned fruits are often soaked in high fructose corn syrup, greatly increasing the sugar content of the fruit. The natural sugars contained in fruits are more than enough for most people's cravings for something sweet.

Try to eat all your fruit early in the day. The natural sugars they contain, like all sugars, should be avoided in the evening. Also, try to eat fruit either one hour before or 2 to 2 and a half hours after a meal. This way, you satisfy your hunger and avoid eating less healthy choices. By spacing out your meals and eating healthy snacks, you keep your metabolism running at full speed and avoid extreme highs and lows in blood sugar levels.

Running: for those who hate running

For many people, running is a pain in the ass. Whether the problem is endurance, leg strength, foot pain, boredom or just frustration, some people just give up on one of the best methods of cardio because it seems like they will never be able to run long enough or fast enough to get a decent workout.

With a little dedication and patience, this simple, easy to follow workout will have even the most cardio-phobic person looking forward to getting on the treadmill.


You will need a treadmill that allows you to adjust your speed for this workout. Total Time - 15 minutes.

  • Start off by walking at 3.0 (3 mph) for 3 minutes.
  • Increase the speed to 3.5 and jog for 3 minutes. The key to jogging at low speeds is to maintain an even, gentle rythym.
  • Increase the speed to 4.0 and jog for 3 minutes.
  • Increase the speed to 5.0 and jog a little faster now for 3 minutes.
  • Depending on how strong you feel, increase the speed to either 5.5 or 6.0 and jog for 3 minutes.
  • Finish off by walking at 3.0 for as long as you need to catch your breath and cool down a bit.

This is the first step towards changing your thinking towards running. For many people, trying this workout for the first time is like a wake up call, alerting them to the fact that even they can run, when they previously thought it was impossible. For others, while this workout still might be challenging, it enables them to have a realistic goal to shoot for, and motivates them to keep trying to improve their running ability.