Qi and proper nutrition

Martial arts require a lot of energy

Any martial athlete who is training on a daily base and intensively, constantly needs a proper energy intake. A poor nutrition attitude can cause serious deficiencies (especially after 30-35 years):

  • It can annihilate a big part of the physical / mental performance
  • It can limit / slow down our recovery ability
  • It can leave us in a chronic state of weakness (tiring digestion, etc.)

The food directly nourishes Qi (read The use of Qi in the 6DKF’s meaning) and consequently goes to influence all the skills that a good practitioner should possess (speed, reflexes, power, mental lucidity, etc.).

How to feed properly

From the point of view of food, to keep active and vigorous our Qi we need just to follow a few rules but steadily (even this is a part of our discipline training, read Having discipline: do not contradict ourselves).

Organization:

  • More snacks during the day – We need to distribute during the whole day more and more snacks (at least 5, this way the metabolism is always operating, works better, work harder and it is never overloaded); in general we should eat more in the morning and at noon (in order to have the right energy for the day) but decrease then in the afternoon and especially in the evening (in order to sleep light); all this, however, must be proportionate to the time at which we get up and lie down (eg. the day of those who wake up at 10 AM is very different from that of those who get up at 6 AM)
  • Be regular – Our metabolism works well if we maintain a daily equilibrium in terms of hours (between meals), moments / type of effort (work, training, etc.), time for recovery (sleep, etc.); we have to avoid things like waking up and / or going to sleep at different times, striving too much or not enough, continuously varying the quantities of food (etc.)
  • Our diet should never stop – No matter what others say, it is useless to sacrifice ourselves for a month if the subsequent one we ruin all the work we have done; our diet must become a style of life that never ends (not for parties, special occasions, etc.)
  • Choose a free day – To make more sustainable our nutrition method (especially the first times), we have to choose one day a week (or one each 2 weeks) where we can eat “freely” what we like (in terms of quality of food, not quantity of calories); this will make less hard to maintain our diet constant

What we can eat, what not and how

The types of food:

  • Let’s limit sweets to once a week (or let’s delete them entirely)
  • Let’s limit fatty foods to a minimum (let’s opt for healthy fats)
  • Let’s limit processed /packaged foods to a minimum
  • Let’s limit too combined and overcooked foods
  • Let’s limit refined carbohydrates
  • Let’s eat a small quantity of meat a week; rarely red meat, preferably white meat (it helps us to stay flexible)
  • We can eat 3-4  times per week eggs and 3-4 times fish
  • Let’s increase proteins assumption (not focusing only on meat)
  • Alcohol is our enemy (at most once a week and in small doses, just to tolerate it)
  • Fruits and vegetables should become our first nutrition source
  • Let’s opt (if possible) for fruit / vegetables raw, of the season, with the peel and / or boiled
  • Let’s restrict to the minimum the condiments (oil, sauces, salt, etc.)
  • Let’s avoid damaged foods and the ones with a too extended shelf life
  • Let’s limit food cooked in vegetable oils (sunflower oil, canola oil, safflower oil, soy oil, etc.)

The basic combinations:

  • Do not eat fruits and vegetables together (at least 2 hours away)
  • The fruit should be eaten before a meal, not after (usually 1 hour before)
  • Do not eat sour fruit (eg. grapefruit) with starches (eg. bread)
  • Do not eat starches (eg. bread) and proteins (eg. meat) together (at least 2-3 hours apart)
  • Let’s vary, we must try to eat everything and preferably quality foods (let’s check labels)
  • Let’s do not repeat too much our choices (eg. let’s eat different colors vegetables and fruits)
  • Let’s drink plenty of water but without food (during a meal at most a glass, it helps the digestion)

Examples of food types:

  • Proteins – Meats, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds and legumes
  • Healthy fats – Virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, olives, organic raw nuts, organic ghee, grass fed butter, organic lard and dripping
  • Non-starchy carbohydrates – Above ground vegetables (tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, etc.), some below ground vegetables and some fruits (carrots, onions, parsnips, apples, pears, berries)
  • Starchy carbohydrates – Most below ground vegetables (potatoes, swede, beetroot, etc.), most fruits (bananas, citrus fruits, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, kiwi, mango), whole grains (wheat, barley, rye, quinoa, spelt, etc.), fruit juices and sports drinks

Examples of combinations:

  • Morning – Liquids, healthy fats and fruit (in abundance)
  • Noon – Carbohydrates and starchy vegetables (average quantity)
  • Afternoon – Liquids, fruits or vegetables (average quantity)
  • Evening – Proteins and vegetables (low amount)

Final notes

It is not easy to perfectly control our diet but, for a disciplined martial art practitioner, it should be a little bit easier, in all the way:

  • It’s a mandatory task
  • It has life-changing results in a few time

A note by Master Kongling – Remember to consult your doctor and then a dietist before starting any kind of diet change: we are all different and nutrition is not a game. We have to be gradual, to monitor the changes and to control periodically the state of health of our body (in no case, we want to make extreme choices).

Later we will see more specifically what should not be missing in our diet and how to control the excess or deficiency of calories, proteins, carbohydrates (etc.) in relation to our training type.

In-depth articles

Questions

Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • What is your usual diet?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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