Paleo Diet for Karate

I recently stumbled upon this great infographic created by Greatist which does an excellent job at summarising the Paleo Diet.

For the past few months I have been experimenting with the Paleo Diet, and furthermore the Paleo Lifestyle (as diet is just one element of this). The results spoke for itself and echoed with many of you in my post on .

Since returning from my holiday in America I have maintained this Paleo Diet style of living and eating and today would like to evaluate it from the perspective of the karateka. Essentially creating the framework for the ultimate Karate Diet.

The Paleo Diet for Karate

Since beginning this Paleo Diet I have found my performance in my Goju Ryu Karate improve in the areas of endurance, strength and focus. I have discovered that I can effectively use fat as my primary energy source and regularly consume both complex carbohydrates such as Sweet Potato or Yams post training or fruits such as banana, berries etc the night before to ensure my glycogen levels in my muscles are ready for a big workout or training session.

Fueling on fats for karate has its benefits in that alot of the time that we are at training we are oscillating between high intensity and low intensity movement. Especially during the beginning of our training session when we are warming up with pushups, situps, squats and core exercises my heart rate maximises and I am working my muscles to the point that I need to work in that glycogen energy state. Then as training for martial arts gets into Kihon Ido and Kata we regularly move from high intensity explosive movements to almost no movement as we sit in seisa and listen to our instructor explain the mechanics of the movement and its application to generating power.

Other changes I have noticed include better endurance for training after the warmup. So when I have completed all those pushups, situps and squats I can transition more effectively into Kihon Ido and don’t suffer from the usual muscular fatigue that would take up to 10 minutes to wear off. I have also found that I am less effected by my blood sugar levels as my body is constantly pulling energy from my fat stores.

Running on fat does have its issues from time to time. If I go too low on the carbohydrate intake I can really hit a wall. This makes movement more lethargic and I feel completely wiped out after training. This has been overcome by making the switch from complex carbs to like sweet potatos to more available energy found in fruits. The change can be felt within minutes as my muscles are refueled.

At the end of the day. I find the Paleo Diet for Karate to be great and I will continue down this path. There are other great benefits around sleep, training outside of karate including weights and high intensity interval training that I will explore in further detail as I continue along the paleo path.

So if you are playing around with Paleo let us know how it is working for you in the comments section below. If you are looking for the Paleo Diet for Karate or just looking for some ultimate karate diet then I highly recommend giving it a try for yourself. Some great resources to get started include reading Robb Wolf’s and reading his blog. I also really enjoy what Mark Sisson has to say.

So give it a try and let us know how you go.

paleo-022012/” target=”_blank”>The Ultimate Guide to Eating Paleo

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

Karate, diet and weightlifting for the holiday body

I am going to make a lot of people jealous writing this but never the less when you are preparing to head off on a one month holiday to America you need to share your secrets and tips on what you did to lose weight, get leaner, stronger and have more energy.

As a karate ka in Goju Ryu I feel it is my duty to test the limits of what can be achieved when we put our mind to something (albeit with the correct knowledge and tools). Bruce Lee once said “Knowing is not enough, you must apply, willing is not enough, you must do” and I have had a poster of that quote on my wall or written down somewhere since I was young. I haven’t always stuck to this mantra at everything in life but when I get that burning passion to succeed at something I could pretty much bottle it and slap that Bruce Lee quote to it.

Ok, so what was my burning passion, my purpose, my goal. I wanted to be fit, strong and looking my best for my first ever “tourist trap” visit of America. I don’t have any before photos but I have included a graph of my weight below (I use the Target Weight app on my iPhone to track some key metrics to help me achieve these weight loss goals).

But essentially the story goes that I hit 87kg, the ‘oh shit’ moment where I realised that I had only about 6 weeks left before I was heading to the States and was no where near what I wanted to weigh or how I wanted to look. Time to implement the usual karate and weight loss plan. I started by watching what I was eating, and running as well as a bit of weights and skipping. This worked until about the 1st of May when I was running up the Mount Gravatt Lookout, hurt my knee and spent the rest of the day hobbling like a cripple around the office at work.  An expensive trip to the physio that included acupuncture, some hard rolling with the forearm (give me foam rolling any day) and they shaved my leg for crying out loud!  Anyway, it  revealed that I had swollen my ITB (that pretty important band that runs up the outside of your leg and stops you from collapsing sideways when you walk) and that I should lay off the running for a week before attempting another 8 kilometres run up some enormous hill somewhere (I never died try that hill again).

ITB injury from running

Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy with this. So I decided to do a bit of research and find out why this happened to me and what I could do to avoid it. What I was about to find out would be one of the single best discoveries of my nutritional/fitness exercise and overall health life since starting Goju Ryu Karate. I stumbled upon a podcast by the fat burning man Abel James  who had a podcast called ‘What is the Paleo diet‘… well, I took one look at it, thought, what the hell is the Paleo Diet and had a listen. Boomtown! I hit the jackpot on that one. Thanks ITB for failing on me. Also you can see exactly where I implemented Paleo, just above 13 May at 84kg’s. You can also see how I was able to control my weight fluctuations (that I thought were normal once I started cutting out grains, wheat and lowering carbs in favour of healthy fats).

So I am not going to go into ‘Paleo’ or anything here just that I found it and it worked and it fit into my Goju Ryu Karate lifestyle and philosophy seamlessly. Finding this podcast then led me onto Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson and from Mark Sisson I stumbled across his post on building muscle using Mehdi’s stronglifts.com 5×5 approach.

Eat, Lift, Eat! Karate time!

The result is that I cut down on my cardio, spent less time on exercise, ate more, felt less hungry (then my karate diet from a previous time) and spent less time in the gym lifting heavier things then I had ever lifted before. This allowed me to strip down to 80kg’s (as of today) and perform a lot better during my karate classes.

From today’s post, I encourage you to take a look into incorporating Paleo into your lifestyle, whether that is Goju Ryu Karate or for any other weight loss or strength gaining goals, or just give it a try. I am happy I stumbled upon it and I am sure the word about it will continue to spread like wildfire. Additionally, the concept of lifting heavy things, doing ‘less’ cardio for weight loss and just burning more energy doing things that you enjoy, like Karate! will stick with me long after my trip overseas!

Until I return, enjoy your training and if you have any other tips on what has worked for you in regards to karate and weight loss or just achieving your goals in general, feel free to share them below.

I’m outta here and will be returning in July ready for some more awesome karate good times! Probably going to have to go through my karate diet again too 😛

Karate dead lift

I know it ain’t pretty but you gotta work hard!

Goju Ryu Karate t-shirt