Sports nutrition not only enables you to stoke your furnace with the best energy-boosting and recovery-enhancing food, but it also gives you the tools to understand the inner workings of your physiology, including how to achieve optimal body composition. Why is that important? Because at some point in your life, you may have to cut weight — perhaps to make weight at a martial arts tournament or just to shape up for the summer.


The worst thing about cutting weight is, when it’s required, it often has to be done quickly. You need to take pains to do it right so you maintain the strength and stamina you worked so hard to build.

As soon as you learn that need to lose weight, you should start eating and training for that goal. Forget sweatsuits and saunas — they serve a purpose only on the day of the weigh-in because all they do is decrease the amount of water in your body. Unchecked, even partial dehydration can lead to exhaustion and weakness.

Likewise, forget fasting. Blindly cutting your caloric intake can leave you feeling drained and unable to perform the way you normally do. For healthy weight loss, don’t restrict your food intake to the point at which you’re no longer getting enough nutrients. You need fuel to function.

Instead of cutting out your energy source, you should refine it by cutting out “empty calorie” foods. Example: Replace a serving of French fries with vegetables. Small adjustments like this can help you trim the excess while keeping muscle and energy levels intact. How is that possible? Because fat has approximately twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates and protein. 

Your next step is to boost your metabolism, which means teaching your body to consistently use the food you eat to produce energy. That will make you burn more calories for longer periods, which leads to weight loss. Bonus: It will also help you maintain the energy you need to train hard without risking neuromuscular damage.

In part, your metabolism is determined by your age and genetics, which means there’s only so much you can do to alter it. However, metabolism is also dependant on your exertion level and the frequency with which you eat.

As a martial artist, you train regularly. If you need to cut weight, you can always up the frequency of your workouts. Obviously, you can adjust your daily food intake. If your schedule permits, consider eating six times a day: two or three smaller snacks in addition to three or four well-portioned, nutritious meals. The last thing you want to do is skip meals because it will have the opposite effect — it will tell your body it needs to conserve energy and hold onto fat.

When you’re planning your meals, try to combine protein with complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. If you’re having trouble making six meals a day, consider cutting your three large meals in half. Instead of stuffing yourself at breakfast or dinner, split those meals so you can eat every three to four hours. A snack can be a serving of fruit or nuts, a nutritional drink or an energy bar. Just keep track of the calorie count so you can shoot for 100 to 400 calories per snack.

Cutting weight is a lot like martial arts training: It’s not easy, but when it’s approached in a proven, scientific way, the benefits far outweigh the effort you put in.

Story by Dasha Libin, MS, CSCS

SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

To Master the Supreme Philosophy of Enshin Karate, Look to Musashi's Book of Five Rings for Guidance!

In the martial arts, we voluntarily subject ourselves to conflict in a training environment so we can transcend conflict in the real world. After all, we wouldn't knowingly train in a style that makes us weaker or worsens our position. The irony of all this is that we don't want to fight our opponent. We prefer to work with what an opponent gives us to turn the tide in our favor, to resolve the situation effectively and efficiently.The Japanese have a word for this: sabaki. It means to work with energy efficiently. When we train with the sabaki mindset, we receive our opponent's attack, almost as a gift. Doing so requires less physical effort and frees up our mental operating system so it can determine the most efficient solution to the conflict.In this essay, I will present a brief history of sabaki, as well as break down the sabaki method using Miyamoto Musashi's five elements

Keep Reading Show less

Enter our partner's current Sweepstakes. They are giving away a Grand Prize 'FKB Wardrobe'.

TAKE NOTICE!

FIVE KNUCKLE BULLET 'Wardrobe' Sweepstakes

Feeling Lucky? Enter our current Sweepstakes Now! We are giving away a Grand Prize 'FKB Wardrobe' which consists of our most popular sportswear items. Prize includes the following:

Keep Reading Show less

Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya knocked out challenger Paulo Costa at the 3:59 mark of round two.

Adesanya went to work immediately in round one with an onslaught of leg kicks that bruised the lead leg of his formidable opponent, Paulo Costa. "The Last Stylebender" also threw multiple round kick and front kick variations as he continued to weaken Costa through the end of the first and beginning of the second round. A round kick to the head bloodied Costa almost one minute in to round two. When Costa attempted to engage again, Adesanya clipped him with a left hand that brought Costa to his knees and allowed the champion to secure the finish in dominant fashion.

Keep Reading Show less
SportMartialArts.com

In Jessie Wray's second promotion of the Virtual Fight Tour, nearly every bout came down to the wire.

The Virtual Fight Tour is an exciting new promotion for sport karate competition that brings fans point fighting matches in a pay-per-view format, with forms and weapons competition on the horizon as well. On Saturday night, the second installment of this event took place with an action-packed card that did not disappoint. Keep reading for results and analysis of all five fights.

Keep Reading Show less
Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter