Karate training is a combination of both a cardiovascular and strength workout. Nutritionally, you need the right amount of good carbohydrates, proteins and fats for progression.
But how much food and when?
Well there’s no one size fits all answer but here are a few guidelines:
- Always eat clean. Unprocessed foods are nutritionally better than processed foods and will give your body the fuel it needs.
- Always hydrate. Drink plenty of water, before, during, and after a training session. Water aids digestion.
- Allow for digestion. You’re taking a gamble if you eat a big meal with foods that take time for the body to digest like bread or meat less than 2 hours before a training session. I prefer to be a little bit hungry rather than too full.
- Eat a light snack 30 minutes before a workout. Avoid fats and sugar. The fats will leave you bloated and could make you nauseous. Sugar will give you an initial high followed by a huge slump, sometimes mid-workout.
So what are the best foods to eat before a karate session?
- A banana won’t make you feel heavy and sluggish and will provide enough energy for a high-intensity workout. Bananas are full of potassium which help nerve and muscle function.
- Oats contain fibre. Fibre is a carbohydrate which provides a steady release of energy. Oats also contain vitamin B, essential for keeping your energy levels high. Try a small cup of oats an hour before a session.
- Any fruit in moderation. Fruit contains carbohydrates which are easily converted into energy.
- Greek yoghurt is light and high in protein. Proteins help your muscles to recover and build after a workout. Try yoghurt and fruit together for best results.
Sensei Stephen O’Brien