Forming Healthy New Habits to Compliment Your New Martial Arts Lifestyle!
For so many of our current members, signing up to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai was just the first of many steps toward total lifestyle overhaul. Cleaning up one’s habits, relationships, diet, fitness, and more are boxes that start getting checked the longer you honestly engage in a martial arts lifestyle. Whether your goal is better fitness, competing and fighting, losing weight, or just less boring workouts, the following 5 tips will help you to reach your goals.
1. Hydrate Appropriately
Most Americans are already under-hydrating but adding a sudden increase in activity volume and intensity, and you could be putting yourself in danger. Not only will you require more water but more minerals, too. Use high-quality sea salts in your food, and even in your water. Electrolyte drops will help you stay in mineral balance, as well. Here’s a trick: take your body weight and divide that total in half. That number is how many ounces of water you should aim for. So if you weight 180 lbs, you should shoot for 90 ounces of water.
2. Cut Out Inflammatory Foods
Everyone knows that exercise has a net positive effect on your health in a number of ways. That doesn’t change the fact that it comes with a price. Bruises, swelling, joint pain and more often come with the territory of working out. Metabolic “bruising” takes place as well. Oxidative stress and inflammation can be greatly reduced by cutting out processed foods that include such ingredients as :
- Sugar and other sweeteners including high-fructose corn syrup, most sugar alcohols, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (AceK), etc.
- Industrial seed oils common in processed, packaged foods
- Refined grain products and highly-processed carbohydrates
3. Eat Real Food
Whether you are low-carb, high-carb or whatever spot on the dial in between: the quality of the food you choose is of primary importance. Eating food that came out of a package sporting 35 ingredients on the label can simply not match a sweet potato, a pasture-raised egg, or any other single-ingredient whole food in terms of net effect on the body. A sudden spike in your physical output will further expose the low value of those nutrient-poor commercial foods. Start looking up recipes and simple cooking methods and prepare your own foods at home. When possible, eat organic and seasonal foods.
4. Supplement Judiciously
When you start to see muscles carving out and you’re feeling like a better and better physical version of you, it is pretty common to start getting curious about nutritional and workout supplements. Before you start taking something, ask yourself, “Do I know what this is or what it does? Why am I taking it?” If you can’t answer that, you probably don’t need it. Do you need all of those compounds in your pre-workout, or is it mostly the caffeine that you like? Supplemental proteins can be absolute overkill, and artificial, isolated compounds have dubious value. That isn’t to say that there aren’t all kinds of amazing supplements out there, but don’t start guessing. At the least, do your research. Better: seek the advice of a professional. You can start with a chelated multi-mineral and/or electrolyte drops and a high-quality fish oil.
5. You Can’t Out-Train a Bad Diet
Having a “cheat” now and again is pretty normal and not hard to understand. But a common mistake that people make is to reward their hard work with low-quality foods. Running six miles or rolling 7 rounds doesn’t “earn” you four ice cream sandwiches, a box of donuts or a giant, translucent sack of drive-thru cheeseburgers. It doesn’t work that way. That’s more like a case of one step forward, two steps back. You can double up the benefit of your new exercise habits by repleting your body with high-quality, nutrient-dense foods instead of those old stand-bys that do little more for your body than make you feel less hungry for a while.
Now, go train.