Success in the martial arts hinges on a number of attributes: cardiovascular capability, endurance, strength, balance, speed and agility, to name a few. One thing they all have in common is energy. If you're a professional martial artist, you need to sustain your energy level over long training sessions and in competition. If you're a recreational practitioner, you need nearly as much energy to last through work or school and still function in the dojo. Energy determines what you can do and how well you can do it. That explains why so many food products and supplements claim they will energize you.
Martial Arts Training Challenges
To derive maximum benefit from an energy enhancer, you need to understand why your energy level fluctuates. Boosters in a bottle work in tandem with your lifestyle, helping you more efficiently use your current energy reserves. They work indiscriminately, however, which means they can optimize healthy habits or exaggerate the “crash and burn" that often accompanies an unhealthy routine. Therefore, before you choose a quick fix from the counter of a convenience store, it's best to identify the basis for the chronic energy drain that's making you look for an easy solution.
One of the biggest factors that can affect your energy level is lifestyle. If you hit the dojo after work, you're asking your body to do much more than the average person. Simply consuming an energy drink might not provide enough additional fuel to compensate for the steady depletion. If you suffer from anxiety, sleeplessness, poor diet or irregular eating patterns, your body won't store energy as efficiently at it should. If you train full time, you might be subject to additional negatives, including lethargy that results from overtraining, reduced caloric intake when cutting weight, dehydration, mental stress and insufficient sleep. Any one of them can put a big drain on your system; combine them and you're guaranteed to have problems.
Martial Arts Training Log
The best way to recharge is to make qualitative changes to your lifestyle. Begin by creating a martial arts training log in which you track everything that saps your energy during the day. Note all that you do in the dojo and the gym, as well as stressors you're subject to, foods you eat, how much and how well you sleep, and so on. If you're a pro fighter, also monitor your fluid intake, mealtimes and recovery periods. With a little analysis, you'll be able to identify patterns that relate lifestyle habits to physical output.
Once you isolate the agents that are limiting you and take measures to remedy them, you can think about energy boosters. There are several on the market that can help kick your body into high gear.
Natural Energy Boosters
What makes energy enhancers work? Most of the good ones contain B-complex vitamins, enzymes and minerals your body uses every day. The idea is, if you consume extra, it will ensure that you're getting enough to oxidize nutrients, bolster your immunity and maintain your alertness.
Before buying a picker-upper, you might want to try a couple of overlooked energizers. Water is the first one. Even slight dehydration can significantly degrade your performance. Green tea is another. Studies have shown it can increase metabolism, heighten awareness and work as an antioxidant. Perhaps most important of all is “eating clean." Consuming low-glycemic carbohydrates will help you produce energy at a steady rate, thus avoiding peaks and valleys that can affect your workouts.