By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, June 29, 2005.

Physical activities that demand performance from the body must make use of nutritional application, and the Martial Arts would fall under the same category as any other sport. A body's performance is only as good as its physical conditioning and the proper nutrition to give the body what it needs to sustain itself during these rigorous activities. Every sport has its own demands on the body, so I can only write on the general needs that the body may need in the Martial Arts. Good nutrition would include correct estimated meals, vitamins and minerals, increased water intake.

The Martial Arts can be very cardio-intensive, so if one is not taking in enough calories, one will see a drop in weight. Consuming enough calories for the type of physical training the body will be going through is important to sustaining gains. Consuming too many calories when one's workout is not as intense will be problematic as one will see a rise in one's weight. The body should have enough carbohydrates prior to training, so the body has fuel to burn. Long distance runners will usually consume a large amount of carbohydrates before a run, so the intake is defined by the activity. Spirulina is a good source of food. It is a micro algae that has a high concentration of protein (65-72%), and it can be used in conjunction with meals for sustenance.

Vitamins and minerals are essential to the body maintaining and rebuilding itself especially after workouts. It gives the body the needed nutrients that are replaced by use. If the body is missing certain nutrients, it will start pulling from different body parts. Then one will soon have dysfunction in certain organs that are suppose to perform. Minerals should be used in conjunction with vitamins, so the body can absorb and make better use of the vitamins being consumed.

Water is vital to the optimum running of your body. One's body is three-quarters water, so it is essential to survival. During high-intensity workouts, the body loses water, and must be replaced to prevent dehydration. I always have my students bring water to maintain hydration during their training. Water is also a conductor of electricity. One's brain is mostly water, so it helps with thought. Brain functions are electrical. Increasing water intake can help processing speed and thought.

Nutrition is actually very simple. One only needs to observe one's intake of meals, vitamins and minerals, and water. So in the Martial Arts it is imperative that these factors are always applied to get the optimum results out of one's training giving one the best chance of raising one's condition to higher levels of performance.

I was lucky enough to meet a competent Metabolic Nutritional Consultant. Her name is Claudia O'flynn Phelps. She has been very instrumental in my nutritional gains. She gave a very thorough program to follow, and it has helped my performance tremendously. If you would like to improve your nutrition, cantact her at the Aesthetic Approach – (707) 765-9633 or (888) 271-7474.