Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Losing Fat for Martial Artists

After spending time on a martial art forum I have come to discover under the health, nutrition and training section that there are quite a few martial artists who are trying to lose weight. By practising martial arts one can easily lose weight as long as they know the best ways to go about it.

Firstly though, one must understand what they are trying to do. Most people state that that they want to lose weight but what they actually want to do is lose body fat. There is a difference in losing overall weight than just body fat and losing weight will result in one also losing muscle mass. To lose body fat and as least muscle as possible one must be aware of some vital basic points. Below are a few Do’s and Don’ts that martial artists should consider when trying to reach there goal.

Do drop the overall number of calories consumed – It is vital that protein is kept to 1 gram per pound of body weight in order to retain muscle when dieting, so in order to drop overall calories consumed, one must reduce there carbohydrate and fat consumption. Dieting is the most important part of losing body fat.

Don’t compete or fight while trying to cut weight – Some martial artists choose to fight or compete in tournaments when dieting. This is probably the wrong time to do this as one may be slightly weaker, slower etc due to the diet and a bad performance in a tournament may be demoralising and cause one to slacken off there training and dieting.

Do perform additional cardio exercise along with martial arts training – Martial arts training is good for losing weight but cardio exercise without any stoppage for a length of time (e.g. 30 mins) will help produce results faster. Additionally, combining the two forms of training means that extra calories will be lost and fat will be burnt faster.

Do shadow box when running – A great addition to running that boxers and martial artists have used for decades. Shadow boxing will help burn extra calories whilst running and is a great way to help reduce boredom through running. Practise simple combinations so as to not lose your balance and perform the punches in a relaxed fashion.

Do perform weight training – Weight training will help to maintain muscle and one should perform heavy weight training rather than light weights. Ones strength will decrease though as dieting continues but that’s normal. Also remember to consume a good pre and post workout meal (a shake is ideal) to keep the body fuelled.

Do keep sparring – Some people think that because one is dieting and may have less energy that they must not spar as there reactions, awareness etc may not be up to par. This may actually be one of the best times to spar as one is pushed to there limits and it can be seen as a good test of spirit. Remember to keep padded up well if the sparring is hard.

Don’t believe in spot reduction – Don’t think that doing hundreds of crunches will reveal abs or that that kicking for hours will produce cuts in your thighs. Yes these exercises will help and are part of your overall training, but only a reduced calorie diet and aerobic exercise will produce definition and visible results in ones body.

Do stretch regularly – With all the extra cardio and weight training, one may feel there muscles getting tighter. Stretching will help to keep flexibility and will help with any sore muscles.

Don’t allow others to put you off – Lastly, do not allow others to put you off. Comments like “you will never do it” or “why are you wasting your time” can really dent ones confidence. Don’t listen to them, keep your mind on the goal and continue with your training and diet until your goal is reached.

Cutting body fat is not very hard but it is not something that happens over night and in order to preserve as much muscle as possible it will take patience, careful planning and strict dieting. However the inspiration that one receives as the pounds drop of is second to none and can actually start being fun. If you are thinking about trying to lose body fat, know that it is easy once you get used to it and as a martial artist, there are plenty of ways to integrate your martial arts training in order to help you reach your goal.


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John W. Zimmer said...

Hey Marks,

I'm one of those martial artists. I used to think you could tell a master by his belly when I was a kid but now I don't think much of that definition. :)

I have my other site (leananmean.com) where I deal with fitness/diet/weight-loss issues.

I just read a bit about Bruce Lee's fitness routine last night and forgot what a fitness buff he was.

Anyway you posted very good info here because as martial artists - we are not immune to the normal pressures of life.

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