The Essential Nutrition Guide for Martial Artists on the Go
Busy schedules and travel can sabotage a martial artist’s nutrition, competitive edge, and banish that six-pack incredibly quickly. Whether you are an up and coming MMA competitor, devoted BJJ practitioner or just using martial arts to maintain that beach body here’s how to stay fighting fit on the go…
Regardless of whether you are just incredibly busy working 2 jobs to hold you over until you get your name known in the octagon, have a road warrior job that keeps you strapped into the car for hours on end every week or you are traveling for fun or competition keeping on top of your diet and nutrition can be an incredible challenge unless you plan and have a strategy.
Failure to be prepared results in eating junk, starving your muscles, and gaining unwanted flab, all of which can have a major negative impact on your overall fitness level and focus in the fight.
Arm yourself against the temptation to eat evil foods, having to go cold turkey on your favorite supplements or going broke trying to eat right…
Eating Right for Road Warriors
- Take healthy snacks with you so that you aren’t tempted to binge
- Eat well when you can, even if that is early so you aren’t forced to eat poorly later
- If you have to stop at fast food joints go for the salad (bring your own olive oil)
- Map out farmer’s markets and fruit farms to eat fresh and experience more on your trips
Eating Out for Extended Stays
If you are going to be staying in a new destination for a few days eating at restaurants or at a host’s home can do major damage. If you will be staying with someone let them know you’ll cook for yourself ahead of time so there are none of those awkward moments. You don’t want to embarrass them; you don’t want to offend them by not eating that lovingly prepared, horrific, physique killing meal or have to sabotage all of your hard work.
If staying in hotels USE that fridge and eat right, plus it’s a lot cheaper. If you have to dine out don’t be embarrassed about what you order, remember who is going to have the best body and title next year. However, also maintain a good balance between ordering selectively and picking apart what you are given as even an angry chef in a 5-star restaurant isn’t above sabotaging your plate if they feel their artistic talents have been offended.
Smuggling Your Supplements through Customs
With the advertising packed, material world we live in many jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do and other martial arts practitioners find themselves on an ever-increasing amount of supplements. This can present a huge challenge when traveling internationally.
The first instinct is often to eliminate the bulky containers to squeeze more in for increased agility on the go but this could pose huge problems when it comes to having your bags screened. You don’t want to miss that crucial meeting, a sponsorship opportunity or a fight because you are tied up in customs for hours trying to explain to a group of cops (who don’t speak you language) that the huge bag of white powder and pills are just protein and fat burners.
You also need to be aware of all of the related laws of the countries you are traveling to and through. Vitamins and (most) protein powder are likely an essential you can’t afford to leave behind but the rest may be better left alone. Ephedra may still be legal in Canada but not in the U.S. while that 1.3 ‘Dimeth’ product you are psyched about you get you in serious trouble in Canada, Australia, and other places.
If there is something else you absolutely have to take leave it in the original packaging. Also, note that with so many frequent changes in formulas and laws fat burners and more advanced supplements are rarely consistent and you are probably better freeing yourself from most before you have to go cold turkey.
Quick Nutrition Tips for Insanely Busy Martial Artists:
- Break food addictions early by refraining from them for 14 days
- Protein shakes post-workout and as your last meal will prevent muscle loss
- Watch out for the dairy and dial back on the carbs if sitting for extended periods
- Consider trying a paleo or cyclical ketogenic style diet to break it up and stay lean
- Jiu-jitsu geeks don’t forget the Gracie diet, which foods need to be eaten alone and the long term effects and benefits the right diet can have
Now stop making excuses for why you just ate that cheeseburger and go hit the mat!