Listen: great fitness goes hand-in-hand with being a great martial artist. When you’re fit, you’re better able to throw kicks and punches. You can spar for longer periods of time. Your forms look tighter and your techniques are sharper. The benefits are endless. But I said in the main article, you already took the most important step ever in getting into shape and living a healthy lifestyle by becoming a student here at our academy! But it doesn’t stop there. Here are five more tips to becoming a healthier martial artist.
1. Set Goals and Take it Slowly
Remember losing weight and getting in better shape takes time. If you do need to shed a few pounds, remember it took time to gain that weight in the first place. So set goals, but keep them realistic. A realistic amount of fat loss per week is 1 ½ pounds. Anything more means you’re cannibalizing your own muscles for protein. And that’s the last thing you want. Why? Because the more muscle mass you have, the more fat you burn at rest. Take things slowly and understand that serious changes require discipline, consistency and focus over the long-haul. Don’t expect instant results.
2. Make It a Lifestyle
Avoid “quick fixes” and fad diets. Instead, make positive changes at the root level: in your lifestyle. Swap sugar-laden cola for water. Eat smaller portions. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk instead of drive. Order a salad instead of the Big Mac meal. Go for a walk or jog outdoors – or throw a real football instead of playing Madden on your Xbox. Ask anybody who has shed a lot of weight: little lifestyle changes can all add up to make a tremendous impact!
3. Curb the TV Time
Watching TV can be harmful to your health. TV watching induces alpha waves and slows metabolism. In fact, studies prove you burn 14.5% less calories while watching TV than simply lying in bed! Add to that the mindless snacking that goes hand-in-hand with TV watching and you have a perfect formula for obesity. That’s why experts say the maximum time each day a child should watch TV (or play videogames or use the computer) is one hour (the average person watches six hours of TV per day). Anything more than one hour puts you at risk for obesity. Now, an hour may not seem like a lot of time, but when you fill your life with other healthy activities (like attending more classes and practicing more at home!) You’ll quickly realize that’s enough TV time. By the way, when you are watching TV, use that “down time” in a productive way: Sit on the floor and stretch. By the end of your hour, you’ll be that little bit more flexible and able to kick higher in the next class! So nix the colorful, dancing LED screens and stay active!
4. Focus on Good Eating Habits
Repeat after me: “food is fuel”. When you take this approach to eating, it changes your mindset and helps you make healthier choices. And “choices” are the key. Simple things like choosing chicken over beef, grilled chicken over crispy chicken, crispy veggies instead of fries and water over soda do make a big difference. Forgo pre-packaged convenience foods and instead stock your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables. And above all: be aware of what you put into your body. Be conscious. The foods you eat form the building blocks of your entire body. Load up on junk food and that’s the type of body you’ll have. Make wise choices and consume healthy foods and you’re building a very different type of body. Focus on good eating habits - always.
5. Reward Yourself in a Healthy Way
A giant ice cream sundae or value meal at McDonald’s is NOT a reward. It’s actually a punishment that short-circuits all the gains you’ve been making. Instead of indulging in junk food as a “reward”, instead choose a positive reward: go to the movies, buy a new martial arts book, schedule a private lesson, attend a seminar or go to a special event. There are millions of healthy ways to both reward yourself AND keep yourself on track to achieving your goals.
Follow these simple tips and build the body you’ve always wanted!