As a martial artist, you need to know what foods are best to fuel your body beforehand. Eating the right food, along with the right amount of food, will affect your performance overall.
In this article, we will look at which foods you should eat before a karate class, as well as what time you would be best eating these foods, depending on what time your classes are.
So, let’s get started.
When To Eat Before A Karate Class (Or Any Strenuous Exercise)
Before we look into what you should eat before a karate class, it is just as important to know when you should eat before a karate class.
If you eat too soon, or too much, before performing any strenuous activities or exercises, you run the risk of feeling bloated, nauseous, or even causing yourself to throw up during the activity.
However, it is very important that you do eat before a karate class.
If you were to turn up on an empty stomach, not having eaten anything all day, you then run the risk of feeling weak, or even fainting.
So, when should you eat before exercising?
Every person is different, therefore it is quite difficult to give an accurate time for you to eat your food beforehand.
Some people are able to eat a full 500-600 calorie meal just an hour before working out, and will feel fine. Others would become sick if they did this.
As a rule, we recommend eating a large meal around 2-3 hours prior to your karate class.
This will give your digestive system enough time to process the food, but will also keep you full and fueled throughout your training.
It is also important to consider when you will be training e.g., if you have a class first thing in the morning, you would be better off eating a large meal just before bed, and maybe eating something small and light for breakfast.
If you find yourself becoming peckish just before your class, after already having eaten a large meal a couple of hours before, try drinking some cold water to keep your stomach satisfied.
More often than not, those who feel hungry after eating a large meal are actually craving something to drink.
It is very important to take a drink with you to your class, as strenuous exercise can be very dehydrating. You will need water, or an energy drink, to keep yourself going.
Should You Take Food To A Karate Class?
As a rule, we do not recommend taking food to a karate class.
Most karate classes last somewhere between an hour and 90 minutes. During this time, you will be given, at least, one break to cool off. This time should be spent taking a breather, and having a sip of water.
If you were to eat anything large during this time, you run the risk of becoming bloated and sick when you return to your class.
You could take a small, nutritious snack along with you, e.g., a protein bar. This should be fine, but otherwise, we recommend only eating before and after class.
What To Eat Before A Karate Class
So, returning to the titular question: what should you eat before your karate class?
As any athlete will know, the key to remaining energetic during long periods of exercise is to consume suitable amounts of carbohydrates.
Carbs take longer to digest than other food types, meaning that they will keep you fuller and content for longer amounts of time.
They also provide large quantities of energy, which will keep you active throughout your training.
However, the issue with eating carbohydrates too soon before your class is that you could feel too full, and this will make you feel sick.
You need to give your body enough time to process the food before doing anything that requires you to move too quickly.
Examples of carbohydrates to eat 2-3 hours before a karate class include:
- Cereal (low fiber)
- White bread
Additionally, protein is also a great food source that will keep you full and satisfied, whilst also providing you with energy.
You can find large amounts of protein in the following food:
A great example meal to eat before a class is some meat/fish and rice. This meal will not only keep you full until you eat your next meal, but it will also keep you feeling energetic and active throughout the class.
The Best Diet For A Martial Arts Student
The key to a successful diet as a martial artist is to consume lots of healthy, suitable carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables.
Protein, specifically, will help your body build muscle, which is crucial for any martial arts athlete. The more muscle you gain, the stronger you will be!
Everybody deserves to eat a sweet treat now and again, but overall, you should probably avoid sugar as a whole.
Sugar has few, if any, health benefits, and while you are permitted to indulge once in a while, you will see and feel far faster improvements if you eliminate sugary snacks entirely.
The Gracie family of Brazilian jujutsu fighters has remarked that they feel people consume far too much sugar, and that it is unnecessary for a person to ingest.
So, in a nutshell, you should probably think about focusing on foods that are rich in protein and carbohydrates.
Fruit and vegetables are also great for your health, and should be included in your diet.
Overall, it is important to note when your next karate class will be so that you can plan out your meal beforehand.
If you eat too close to your class, you will almost certainly feel uncomfortable, and even sick, during your exercising.
This will not only affect your performance, but also your health.
Stick to eating a large, carb-heavy meal around 2-3 hours before your training session.
If you feel that you can bring this meal forward, as you feel hungry during your training, you can try eating closer to your class if you want to.
Every person is different, and you need to work out which eating times work best for you.
As long as you are consuming enough carbs and protein at a suitable time before your classes, you should be able to see results in no time.
We hope you found this article helpful.