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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Jay Killeen

I began training in 2004 under the guidance of James Duggan Shihan. I have since achieved my Nidan in Goju Ryu Karate do Seiwakai. My favourite kata is Sanchin and I enjoy the challenge of kumite against great opponents.

Comments

  1. OxfordGoju says:

    Well done Jay. Enjoy the USA. When I was last there I was told “they’ll love your British accent”. I got asked 5 times “are you Australian?”

  2. Glad to hear other people are finding the paleo concepts. There is a lot of it that I don’t think is grounded very well in science – its more just speculation – but the results are hard to deny. I went from 89kg down to 79 kg in about a month and a half eating whole foods, low carbs, and drinking a lot more water and tea.

    Hope you enjoyed the states – anywhere specific?

    As for other tips – look into the benefits of sweet potatoes (yams). I never liked the things as a kid, but I read a lot about that being a huge factor in the Okinawan diet – mixing those in with plenty of whole foods made me full and thinner.

    • Hi Theo Sensei. Yes the Paleo lifestyle is really working out well for me. When I get some time I’ll write up an entire article about Paleo and its benefits to the Karataka. As you say, it isn’t well grounded in science yet but it is just a matter of time before ‘some study’ explodes it into the mainstream media. The only real benefit of it going mainstream for me is that people will start to accept that I am not trying to kill myself on saturated fats and cholesterol hehe 🙂

      The states was amazing! I think my highlights were Sacramento and Lake Tahoe for its natural beauty, Chicago for the wedding I attended and also the great city and New York because, well, New York is a pretty unbelievable place.

      As for the Okinawa diet, I have stumbled across a few articles along the way and they are a lot of similarities. The crux of it all is really just about eating real food. My economics and marketing background gets a real workout on the Paleo scene as the influence of government for economic sustainability and their ability to legislate health has a huge impact on shaping our bodies and the health of our community.

      Love the sweet potato! Or the kūmara as my instructor Jamie Shihan likes to call it.

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